Bioenergetic Analysis has its origins in psychoanalysis, a theory for understanding the genesis of human personality and behavior originated by Sigmund Freud and those around him, including Wilhelm Reich. Freud said that the ego, that is the autonomous self, is first and foremost a body ego. The self is derived from the internal psychic structures that come out of early sensations, motivation, and social responses. Psychoanalysis emphasizes the power of insight -- understanding one's motivation and drives to become autonomous and self-directing. It is largely a receptive practice by the therapist with occasional reflection back to the patient.
Early on, followers of Freud's ideas were drawn to more active interaction with the patient. Sandor Ferenczi supported using active interventions in psychotherapy. Wilhelm Reich developed a practice in psychotherapy -- now used in all analytically-based treatments - in which the person's habitual ways of acting and defending against internal conflicts become a focus of the therapy (character analysis). Reich added to this insight a systematic approach to body structures and patterns which correspond to psychological structures and patterns. He saw the effects of early childhood treatment in the minds and bodies of his patients, and developed interventions to open the blocked energy necessary for healthy development.
Building on this foundation, Alexander Lowen expanded and further developed the model of character analysis, adding critical concepts such as grounding (the person's relationship with reality as manifested in body and mind) and the use of movement and stress positions as part of the therapist's tool box. Psychoanalysis has undergone continued development over the years since Freud including a greater understanding of the role of relationship in personality development; the importance of early attachment patterns, and the role of the therapist as a person.
Modern Bioenergetic Analysis has embraced the concepts of Object Relations Theory, Attachment Theory, Self Psychology, and Relational Psychoanalysis, which focuses on the nature of the relationship between therapist and patient as an inter-subjective event. Bioenergetic Analysis is a dynamic evolving modality, grounded in clinical and scientific research in the field of psychotherapy and committed to the systematic, sophisticated use of body centered interventions in the therapeutic process.