An Object Relations Perspective on Bioenergetics and Pre-Oedipal Transferences


  • Garry Cockburn



transference, countertransference, projective identification, paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions


Alexander Lowen’s views on oedipal transference were formed within the intellectual framework of Freudian and Reichian drive theory and ego psychology. Lowen did not favor analytic work with transference and believed that countertransference indicated that the therapy was «faulted”. This article critically examines his classical approach and offers a re-examination of pre-oedipal transference phenomena in a way that both honors Lowen’s unique insights into the transformative power of Bioenergetic Analysis, and at the same time offers a Kleinian/Bionian object relations understanding of pre-oedipal transference that can be incorporated into modern Bioenergetic Analysis. An extended case example illustrates the effective integration of object relations theory and bioenergetic practice. The concluding discussion provides a rationale for introducing an object relations approach into Bioenergetic Analysis.

Author Biography

Garry Cockburn

Garry Cockburn BSW(Hons), CBT, MNZAP(APC), was born in New Zealand, trained as a Catholic priest in Sydney, Australia in the 1960s, and undertook post-graduate studies in theology in Rome. After leaving the priesthood, he qualified as a social worker and worked in the New Zealand Government child abuse agency for nearly 30 years. He finished his bioenergetic training in 1995 and has worked in private practice as a bioenergetic therapist since 2002. He has published in the Bioenergetic Journal, and in the European J. for Bioenergetics and Psychotherapy. He was a keynote speaker at the Seville IIBA conference. He is a Local Trainer for the New Zealand Society and joined the Board of Trustees of the IIBA in 2011.
029-055 36103


How to Cite

Cockburn, G. (2022). An Object Relations Perspective on Bioenergetics and Pre-Oedipal Transferences. Bioenergetic Analysis, 22(1), 29–55.