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Bioenergetics – body based therapy & character analysis

How we embody and express our energy makes our psyche and our patterns of reactions to life visible. We hold in our bodies the energy we dared not express when we were vulnerable children, both as a tension in the muscles and as a charge of energy in the organs and connective tissue. This fixed form of expression and defence is called our character. It is our social, adapted self, and blocks and represses our spontaneous flow of life energy, our wildness, including large amounts of our sexuality and creativity.

The energy path, inspired by the work of Wilhelm Reich and the therapy developed by his students, such as bioenergetics and biodynamic psychology and massage, seeks to release old trauma, habits, and unconscious defensive attitudes and to liberate our life energy for aliveness, pleasure, and for self-actualization. Read on John Hawken Paths of Transformation>>

Bioenergetics proposes observable character responses, forming from interruptions of development at key stages in our life. We generally are a mix of them with one or two more prominent.

Your predominant structure might serve you very well in one area of your life – someone with a rigid character response might do very well at work for instance. But you might find elsewhere – e.g. intimacy and relationships – the same character response keeps you locked in unhappy cycles.

Understanding your primary character response, can really help point the way to healing issues relating to intimacy and sex. Below is a brief summary of five of the character responses (there are more) – and how each might effect your capacity to relate intimately or sexually.

I also include pointers to the gifts inherent in each! Because we can learn to how to consciously transform each of these patterns to unlock our full potential!

Schizoid your energy might bristle keeping people away from you meaning intimacy never begins. Commitment and intimacy might evoke inexplicable (and probably subconscious) feelings of terror leading you to use strong intellect to find ways to prevent it happening.

You might simply not be embodied enough to contemplate sexuality. Or otherwise sexuality might be a used as a way to embody you and feel. This may help you, but may also leave your partner feeling it is not relational.

The gifts are a developed spiritual awareness, intuition and perhaps psychic gifts. Creativity, intellect, imagination, innovation, seeing the bigger picture:  a schizoid who learns to ground themselves can then “fly” with success, but on the physical plane! 

Oral your energy might be quite low and lead you to prefer cuddles to sex. You might unconsciously push people away with neediness, or sometimes excessive talking. The collapsed oral will seek to get others to meet their needs, the compensated oral says “I can do it all by myself”.

Some orals carry a rage in the lower part of their bodies, they (or their partners) may feel shocked as this rage gets activated along with their sexual energy.

The gifts are being social, people centred, articulate, sensitive and empathic to the suffering of others. The structure may transform into beautiful acts of loving service and devotion. You may remain permanently very youthful, like Peter Pan!

Masochist you may feel anxiety or guilt around any kind pleasurable bodily experiences: in childhood, these resulted in you being controlled, shamed or defeated (you may not recall this). Masochists often have a strong charge of energy at the core of the body waiting to explode!

In sex this may lead to occasional bursts of heightened possibly guilty pleasure: a brief contact with the huge charge. There may otherwise be a recurring inability to orgasm (in men and women), as the tendency to hold back life force and feel anxiety around pleasure reasserts itself.

The gifts of this structure are having a huge energy to play with, once anger and withholding are worked through! Masochists can be humorous and fun loving, a capacity developed to lighten suffering ranging from light to immense. Stubbornness and stuck-ness can transform into loyalty and persistence.

Psychopathic structure: there may be a tendency to seduce and avoid real depth of feeling. The heart can be closed leading to you feeling less engaged and therefore unsatisfied or mechanical in sex. Sex might feel like a power game, or it may become over emphasised to the detriment of other areas.

It might be hard to connect with an equal because you only connect where you have the upper hand. Surrender, vulnerability, giving up control – to be avoided at all costs – a sex life in this structure might be very active but feel dead.

The gifts here – someone who is powerful, charismatic, creative, versatile and perceptive! Bringing the structure to awareness may lead you to become acutely sensitive about the issues that dominated you before. You might use your (tempered) need to win positively, and excel in the other direction!

Rigid perfectionist: this structure more than any other I have seen linked with ‘performance’ anxieties in sex (all genders), and even leading to ED in men. It can be hard to let go into pleasure, sex can give rise to great anxiety overwhelming any joy in the experience at all.

Spontaneous feelings and physical expression might feel hopelessly distant. All this anxiety can sit behind a mask of someone who may appear to have it all sorted, so that even their closest loved ones might not be aware something is wrong.

The gifts here – you will often be high functioning with great discipline and work ethic. This can create a very solid material foundation to support what actually needs to happen in your life – learning the art of non doing! So when you realise that it is time to change you will often be well equipped to undertake that.

Bioenergetics in sessions

We might use localised massage with a very deep touch, movement practices and breath patterns specific to the character type – to unlock a structure and bring you into contact with its gifts. I generally don’t offer this modality as a stand alone session, it is usually a tool within my Breathwork or Tantra practice.

You can bring any theme to my sessions at all. I have worked with people on asthma, fear of the next breath not being available, phobias and contacting early abuse memories. You might also approach this work  as part of my somatic sex therapy programme>> please follow the link for full details.

  • If you are interested to know more please email using the contact form>>
  • You can also call me on 07792673021 – though it’s much easier to get hold of me by email!