Graduates of bioenergetic therapy school are trained in the complementary therapy bioenergetics, which improves health, wellness and energy and reduces tension using a combination of psychotherapeutic and bodywork techniques. Bioenergetic therapy arose from the psychoanalytic tradition through Wilhelm Reich. However, it was one of Reich's students, Alexander Lowen, who fully developed this method of therapy.
Practitioners of bioenergetic therapy aim to heal the stress that builds up in the body—muscle tension, postural problems, and breathing inhibitions—due to mental and emotional traumas and other past experiences. The techniques used by bioenergetic school graduates are wide-ranging, and include "talk therapy," deep breathing relaxation methods, gentle movements or exercise, and massage.
Bioenergetic certification can be useful in a number of careers, including alternative medicine, nursing, counseling, social work, massage therapy and psychotherapy.
Schools and Education
What You'll Study in Bioenergetic School
Bioenergetic degree and certification programs include two phases of training. The pre-clinical phase involves close study of the theoretical aspects of bioenergetics, including readings by Reich, Lowen and other authorities. During the clinical phase, you'll study therapeutic and analytical techniques in bioenergetics, and you'll begin clinical work with individual clients or groups on a supervised basis.
Average Bioenergetic School Length of Study
Bioenergetic school usually takes four to six years. Besides formal training and coursework, a diploma or certification in bioenergetics includes 150 hours of personal bioenergetic therapy and at least 50 hours of supervised practice. Some bioenergetics programs require you to hold a degree in a medical or mental health field.
Average Bioenergetic School Tuition
Unless your bioenergetic training is included as part of the curriculum for a general psychotherapy or nursing program, expect to pay a reasonably high tuition—many bioenergetic certification programs are offered through private institutions or bioenergetics societies. A full certification program may cost anywhere from $12,000 to $23,000, depending on the school. However, many of these programs offer financial aid.
Reputable bioenergetic certification programs generally adhere to the curriculum standards advocated by the International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis, which was founded by Dr. Alexander Lowen himself. Certification requires you to complete the two phases of training described above, as well as your own personal therapy and supervised practice as a trainee.
In order to practice bioenergetic therapy in your profession as a psychotherapist, counselor, or other healing practitioner, you'll need to adhere to state laws regarding licensure for that profession.
Salaries in the bioenergetics field depend on your exact job title and whether you work at a hospital, clinic or wellness center. Here are median salaries for a few different careers that bioenergetic school graduates might pursue:
|Job Title||Median Annual Salary*|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Psychologists; Registered Nurses; Rehabilitation Counselors; Massage Therapists.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Is a Bioenergetics Career Right for You?
Bioenergetics takes an integrated, holistic approach to the wellness of both mind and body. It contributes to the healing of tension and stress, and encourages a healthy balance of physical and mental energies. If you're truly committed to helping yourself and others achieve a deeper connection between body and mind through bioenergetic therapy, then bioenergetic school may be right for you.
Sources: About Bioenergetics, International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis, Bioenergetics, American Cancer Society, Florida Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Florida Society for Bioenergetic Analysis, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.