The Physical Dynamics of Primitive States


  • Garry Cockburn



primitive states of mind, theory of mind, physical dynamics, sensation, ESMER


Primitive mental states, such as used by people suffering from psychosis, psychogenic autism, and severe borderline personality organization, may also be manifest in ‘ordinary’ people who are impacted by the ‘emotional plague’ of existential anxiety sweeping the planet. The implicit supposition within Bioenergetic Analysis is that our patients have a self and a sensory base to their experience that gives rise to the capacity to feel and to think. There is a radical need to reconsider this presupposition if we are to help many of our patients. There is a need to recover Lowen’s insistence on the «physical dynamics” that underlie psychic phenomena, and to do this with theoretical frameworks, models of practice, and therapeutic principles that are adequate to the task. This article is an invitation to participate in that important process.

Author Biography

Garry Cockburn

Garry Cockburn, BSW(Hons), NZAP(ACP), CBT, is a local trainer of the New Zealand Society for Bioenergetic Analysis. He was President of the IIBA from 2014–2016. He has published in the Bioenergetic Journal and presented Keynote addresses at IIBA Conferences in Spain and Portugal. He is in private practice in Wellington, New Zealand.
093-121 36179


How to Cite

Cockburn, G. (2022). The Physical Dynamics of Primitive States. Bioenergetic Analysis, 32(1), 93–121.