Biosynthesis Therapy

Biosynthesis therapy was founded by David Boadella in 1975. Its early roots lie in the character analysis and vegetotherapy of Wilhelm Reich, the psychological synthesis of Pierre Janet and the pre- and peri-natal work of Francis Mott and Frank Lake. Since 1985 the method has been co-developed by Silvia Specht Boadella, particularly in its philosophical and transpersonal aspects. The transpersonal approach has been supported by the researches of Robert Moore into energy circulation and somatic meditations. In October 1998, the somatic and depth-psychological psychotherapy method of Biosynthesis was recognized by the European Association for Psychotherapy EAP as one of the first accredited methods in the field of body psychotherapy. Biosynthesis has been further developed in different fields of application by leading members of the International Foundation for Biosynthesis IFB, founded in Zürich in 2001, which takes care of the worldwide coordination of congruent training standards and research projects within the Biosynthesis institutes. They are all connected to the International Institute for Biosynthesis IIBS, based in Heiden, Switzerland.

Basic Principles

Biosynthesis represents a holistic and humanistic approach in somatic psychotherapy. The basic starting points for this work therefore include interconnection and mutual mirroring of mental and physical processes.

As the name of the method suggests, Biosynthesis emphasizes integration of life processes: the physical with the emotional and the mental. Biosynthesis uses a process approach when working with clients; it is based on the internal signals and movement manifestations of the client, which it follows and develops with specific techniques. At the heart of this form of therapy always lies the need of the client, respect for their individual differences and unique internal resources. Biosynthesis deeply trusts the client’s healthy potential for growth and harmony, the possibility of interconnecting with their internal and external resources.

With its holistic and deeply integrated approach, Biosynthesis offers an understanding of the person and their life situation from many points of view, which it tries to connect. Besides bodily expression, emotions and thoughts, this includes insights and inner images, sexuality and spirituality. It emphasises anchoring of the person in their network of relationships with others and with their family. It does not neglect the importance of the early period before and after birth. It contains methods for working with these periods on a symbolic level as well as with body-oriented procedures.

The Biosynthesis method focuses not only on disease and problems, but perceives healthy moments, strengths and possibilities of the person. In therapeutic work we can call it search, acceptance and nurturing with inner qualities and resources, which every individual has inside. Internal resources make it possible to heal illness and traumatic experiences They help manage more and less challenging, stressful periods. They are not just our physical health, but they also include memories of our experiences, images, beliefs, values, skills, expectations, hopes, friends, family, property and work.

Life resources of each of us are always present. Often, a person is not aware of them, or is unable to be in contact with them or draw on them due to the stress of traumatic events. Biosynthesis therapy helps people to contact their own resources. It uses these to achieve emotional balance, balance in the body, in the mind, in relationships, in life. That is the reason why it is well-suited for therapeutic work with clients with traumatic experience.

The psychotherapeutic method of Biosynthesis is suitable for a whole range of clients: whether for those who are looking for tools for deeper contact with themselves, the path of personal development, as well as for clients suffering from emotional, psychosomatic and somatic difficulties, going through crisis or post-traumatic states or psycho-spiritual disturbances.

The Life Fields of Biosynthesis

The model of life fields represents a basic view of human development as well as of therapeutic work aimed at helping people to restore good contact with themselves, with internal impulses and with their essence.

In the middle of the diagram, we find the essence that manifests itself in three basic life-streams: movement and actions, feelings and mental processes. The basic life-streams are based on our somatic organization during prenatal existence, when the endoderm as the
deepest cellular layer of the embryo, has become the basis of visceral organs and tissues (the life stream of feelings); the mesoderm has become the basis of muscles, bones and the circulatory system (the life stream of movements and actions); and the ectoderm has become the basis of nervous system, skin, organs of perception.

Our essence can therefore be expressed at the level of mesoderm (red) in our muscular tonus, movement and breath, at the level of endoderm (green), in our emotional experiences and relationships, and at the level of ectoderm (blue) in thinking, language and inner visions. If the environment accepts and welcomes these impulses, we can express ourselves healthily, spontaneously and freely express ourselves. If our impulses do not meet a healthy way of mirroring, but, on the contrary, refusal, restriction, humiliation or aggression, blockages appear in individual life fields as an outer circle that is further from the essence and can become the foundation of our false self, our mask. The goal of therapy is to move from the mask to the core, to the essence. The process of therapy in Biosynthesis interconnects individual areas of life fields and includes:

  • feeling and movement work with muscular tonus and movement,
  • energy work with external and internal breathing rhythm,
  • work on behaviour in relationships
  • psycho-energetic work with retention and release of emotions,
  • psychodynamic work with speech and communication topics,
  • work that transform limiting images into creative ones,
  • connection with the voice of the heart, which can be supported through somatic meditation as a direct path to the essence.

Twelve topics of Biosynthesis

Biosynthesis sees the development of personality as an integrated process involving individual phases and themes that are associated with developmental periods and tasks, but also, for example, with areas of the body or psychosocial aspects. These 12 developmental topics, map the areas of human existence in life, but also in therapy give the structure of the psychotherapeutic training.

  1. Founding
    Founding topics relate to our deep foundations and the origins of our tendencies. We explore anchoring in time, space, energy, the world, patterns of holding in the body and qualities of motion impulses. We deal with life springs as the roots of incarnation, embryogenesis, body morphology and emotional anatomy.
  2. Grounding
    Grounding is the quality of connection with the ground – in the body, in reality, having the feet on the ground, feeling oneself in the body, having a firm ground under the feet, and standing up for oneself. In the body, we explore the area of the pelvis, legs and the base of the spine as the root centre, giving the foundations of autonomy. We deepen the understanding of movement patterns and their meaning. We grasp the topics of horizontality (relaxation, acceptance, surrender) and verticality (competence, autonomy, control).
  3. Centering
    The emphasis is on the abdominal centre, and on pre- and peri-natal aspects of experience, womb life, birthing, and ways to help clients with birth or pre-natal trauma. We teach principles of working with breathing patterns, such as hyper and hypo-ventilation in relation to the character tendencies of the schizo – hysterical split as expressed as a distortion of the polarity between containment and release.
  4. Holding
    The emphasis is on the first year of life, the throat centre, oral character tendencies, healthy needs, and patterns of addiction. The Biosynthesis principles of the elements of touch as forms of healthy nourishment are taught.
  5. Bounding
    The emphasis is on the energies of the solar plexus centre, and the sympathetic emotions of anger and anxiety, in relation to the movement patterns of constructive aggression, and constructive self-defence , or safety – seeking. Character aspects of power, as in masochism or psychopathy are also main themes.
  6. Charging
    We work as well with the themes of pulsations of pleasure in the body, work with restrictions in the pelvis and the handling of healthy eros and sexuality.
  7. Bonding
    The emphasis is on the heart as the centre of a love relationship, and on patterns of cooperation in partnership, (as opposed to symbiotic collusion, or destructive collision). A central focus is on the energetics of the arms as channels for expression and contact. We work with character aspects of over activity, or over passivity in relationship and with the somatic basis for dealing with sexual problems of clients.
  8. Sounding
    The emphasis is on the voice, the throat centre, and the ears. We teach patterns of clear communication in language and disruptions of this; also ways to help clients who are over rational and clients who have difficulty finding words for their experience.
  9. Facing
    The emphasis is on outlook and insight, eye contact and vision, including the third eye. Therapeutic work on the eye block includes ways of transforming restrictive imagery to creative imagery, and ways of grounding imagery in the body and in movement.
  10. Crowning
    The emphasis is on the crown of the head as a gate between personal existence and the transpersonal. We work with themes of healthy spirituality as opposed to pseudo-spiritual escape from the body. We look at attitudes to death. There is intensive teaching on working with resources and qualities of essence.
  11. Trauma
    Trauma is a meeting with an intrusive stimulus, disturbing the boundaries’ and security, fragmenting experiences in the person’s life. We develop ways to work to support internal integrity, topics of security and contact, interconnection of body, mind and emotions.
  12. Forming and Shaping
    The emphasis is a continuation of the previous week and a study of disturbances to the functions of integration in psychosis, traumatic states and borderline conditions. We also look at the application fields of Biosynthesis in private practice, in clinics, or in other areas such as work with children or social applications. We include character aspects of the process of transition and saying goodbye, as well as resources in harvesting and new beginnings.


Boadella, David: Transference, politics and narcissism. Energy & Character, Vol. 30/1, 1999.
Boadella, David: Polarity and Character, in Energy & Character, Vol. 31/1, 2000.
Boadella, David: Soma, Self and Source, in Energy & Character, Vol. 21/ 2, 1990.
Boadella, David: What is Biosynthesis, Energy & Character, Vol. 17/2, 1986.
Boadella, David: Lifestreams – An introduction to Biosynthesis, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987.
Boadella, D (1987), Lifestreams: an introduction to Biosynthesis, London: Routledge. Silver Edition: 2015
Keleman, S.: Emotional Anatomy, Center Press, Berkley, California, 1985.
Laban, R. : The Mastery of Movement, London, 1960..
Boadella, David & Boadella, Silvia: “Basic concepts of Biosynthesis” in:
Globalised Psychotherapy, ed. Pritz, Alfred, Facultas Universitätsverlag, Vienna 2000

External links


Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.