Brief History of Bioenergetic Analysis


  • Robert Coffman



Bioenergetics, Reich, Lowen, Freud, psychoanalysis


This paper traces the history of Bioenergetic Analysis from the origins in Freud’s psychoanalytic method, through the development of theory and technique of working directly with the body as introduced by Wilhelm Reich, then covers the contributions of Alexander Lowen, who created Bioenergetic Analysis. The differences between Reich and Lowen will be presented, as well as the differences between Bioenergetic Analysis and other body-oriented methods, and why the others, while valuable, are not as comprehensive.

Author Biography

Robert Coffman

Robert Coffman, PhD, is a California licensed Clinical Psychologist, a certified Bioenergetic Therapist, and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, with private practices in Redondo Beach, California. He has been in private practice for over 48 years. Bob was trained as a humanistic psychologist, turning to clinical psychology in the late 70’s while studying with Dr. Althea Horner, an object relations psychoanalyst. After he completed his PhD he worked for 10 years as a clinical psychologist at Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Hospital. He became interested in Bioenergetics during his schooling at USC, which led to him training with Dr. Robert Hilton, in the first Bioenergetic training group in Southern California in 1973. He has been an international trainer in bioenergetic analysis since 1992, training and supervising students in somatic psychotherapy. As a professional clinical psychologist, specializing in psychoanalysis, he integrates the body into his therapeutic work with all his patients.
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How to Cite

Coffman, R. (2023). Brief History of Bioenergetic Analysis. Bioenergetic Analysis, 33(1), 11–18.