Bioenergetic Theory

Bio-energetic Theory (Theory of the Instincts)

The energy source of the id is explained by the bio-energetic theory (or theory of the instincts). This theory relates back to Brücke’s influence on Sigmund Freud. Freud derived that mental instability is due to imbalance or distortion of energy forces that exist in our body. The ego represents the “reservoir of the libido” (Freud, 1958, p. 90). As a result, if the ego and id conflict then neurosis is the result. According to Freud, the driving force of behavior is called the psychosexual energy or libido, and this pleasure seeking energy of the id is focused on erogenous areas. Freud defines an erotogenic zone as libido energy that causes instinctual sexual excitation from prominent parts of the body. Freud further elaborates that “the source of the instinct is an exciting process in an organ, and the immediate aim of the instinct lies in the release of this organic stimulus” (Freud & Brill (Ed.)., 1966, p. 576). Specifically, these body organs are provoked by a “chemical nature” that represent a continuous flow of “inner somatic source of stimulation” (Freud & Brill (Ed.)., 1966, p. 576). A prominent characteristic of the erogenous zone is to seek pleasure-principled stimuli. Freud emphasized that the origin of impulses is like a “thyroid of sexuality” (Freud & Brill (Ed.)., 1966, p. 610). Thus, Freud’s concept of libido-quantum is the psychic representation of specific areas of sexual energies within our body. Similarly the component, ego-libido, is responsible for producing, increasing, and distributing energy that manifests in the psychosexual phenomenon. However, over-stimulation, like under-stimulation, may cause damage or disorders to sexual mechanisms. Without a balance of satisfaction, repression and sublimation lead to serious manifestations of disorders and fixation. Fixation occurs when an energy instinct strays of the path of normal development. Consequently, energy remains at an immature state and until this energy progresses the individual will remain in a certain developmental stage.

See Also


Defense Mechanisms


Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality

Transpersonal Psychology

Sigmund Freud


Freud, S. (1966). The basic writings of Sigmund Freud A. A.Brill, (Ed.). New York: Random House.

Freud, S. (1958). Dictionary of psychoanalysis. Greenwich: Fawcett Publications.