Salvatore Giammusso
University of Naples Federico II
A profile of Alexander Lowen between psychotherapy and philosophy This text is a revised version of a speech, given at a conference in Naples in memory of Alexander Lowen on the tenth anniversary of his death. My remarks try to answer two simple questions, namely what philosophy learns from a system of psychology of personality and psychotherapy such as the one developed by Alexander Lowen, and – turning the perspective around – what a humanistic psychology such as bioenergetics can learn from philosophy. I argue that bioenergetics encourages philosophy to rediscover vitality as a fundamental value and to look with new eyes at themes of its most ancient tradition such as the ethics of pleasure and happiness, which are Lowenian topics par excellence. On the other side, philosophy warns psychologists and psychotherapists against reductionism. Psychology and psychotherapy can learn from philosophy and humanistic culture to proceed in an “integrative” rather than reductionist way, and to stay open to the variety of possible experiences.
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