Defensive Style in Bioenergetic Therapy

What it Means and Why it Matters


  • Laurie Ure



defenses, defensive style, relational trauma, bioenergetics, contracted


The concept of defensive style provides a rich addition to the understanding of our clients and the factors which inhibit their joy in life and satisfaction in relationships. Defensive style differs from character structure. But, like character structure, it can be viewed through observations of a client’s body in addition to memories of childhood relational experiences. This paper explores the lens of defensive style, explains how it differs from character structure, and includes bioenergetic methods to observe defensive style in a client. It includes the work of Len Carlino along with a diagnostic tool by Schroeter and Thomson. Case examples of using this understanding to help clients are sprinkled throughout. The paper ends with a tribute to Len Carlino, Ph.D, IIBA International Trainer, for his valuable reminder that working through defensive style and character structure require a life long commitment.

Author Biography

Laurie Ure

Laurie Ure, LICSW, Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, has practiced in Gloucester, MA for over 25 years. She trains bioenergetic therapists as a Local Trainer for the Massachusetts Society for Bioenergetic Analysis. She directs the Massachusetts Society for Bioenergetic Analysis and has taught at Salem State College School of Social Work. As an author Laurie publishes articles widely, including on the blog of Psychotherapy Networker, in the NASW Focus magazine, on Medium, and on the blog of her website. She is currently writing a book about the bioenergetic approach to depression.
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How to Cite

Ure, L. (2023). Defensive Style in Bioenergetic Therapy: What it Means and Why it Matters. Bioenergetic Analysis, 33(1), 81–93.