The ESMER Model

Understanding the Complexity of the Self


  • Guy Tonella



self, complexification, ESMER, interconnections, interpersonal


Biological life and living organisms appeared about 4 billion years ago. They have become increasingly complex in the course of evolution. The human Self is the current culmination of this incredible complexification. This process and its results are presented in this paper. First the double origin of the Self, biological and social, will be presented. Then the structural development of the Self with its five functions – from bottom to top: Energetic, Sensorial, Muscular, Emotional and Representational functions – will be explained. This complex development of the human Self underlies the «ESMER Model”. Then, the functional development of the Self will be presented as well as the developmental problems that arise. Evolution managed to organize the Self into an integrated and self-regulated system by developing four kinds of interconnections between the five functions of the Self. And finally, these four kinds of interconnections will be at the origin of four modes of interpersonal relationships.

Author Biography

Guy Tonella

Guy Tonella, Dr, is a Doctor in Clinical Psychology, CES of Psycho-physiology, Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, International IIBA Trainer and Faculty member, Co-Director of the Collège Français d’Analyse Bioénergétique. He was Professor of Psychology at Toulouse University for 20 years. He teaches in most European countries and in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and China. He is in private practice in Toulouse in France.
145-159 36182


How to Cite

Tonella, G. (2022). The ESMER Model: Understanding the Complexity of the Self. Bioenergetic Analysis, 32(1), 145–159.