Frank Hladky, 1923-2012
The Bioenergetics community has lost one of its prominent practitioners and leaders, Dr. Frank Hladky, M.D. who passed away peacefully on May 25, 2012 at the age of 88.
Dr. Hladky was a student of Alexander Lowen, and later became a colleague and a friend, working closely with Al for over 25 years. A native Oklahoman, true “salt-of-the-earth,” he was the director of the Tulsa Psychiatric Center from 1963 to 1978, an International Bioenergetics trainer, and with Anna Miller, was the lead trainer of the productive “Members-At-Large Society for Bioenergetic Analysis.”
Dr. Hladky led training workshops around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America. He held workshops with Al for the International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis (IIBA) in New York City and Pawling, NY. Dr. Hladky also led workshops for the Alexander Lowen Foundation, most notably, the Finding Your Aliveness workshop series in Tulsa, OK.
He continued his private practice and leading workshops through his final days. The new series of DVDs, “Dr. Frank Hladky and His Work with Bioenergetics” features Frank’s work with clients and is available at http://riolibravisions.com.
Listen to audio recordings with Dr. Haldky in our Media Section!
Dr. Hladky’s emphasis of the basic Bioenergetics principles of breathing, grounding, vibration, and surrender to the body, remains a testament to his meaningful vision and effective approach to body-psychotherapy. His gentle approach and relentless body-focus on boundary and containment issues were among Frank’s important contributions. He will be missed by many.
Frank loved his family and friends, his horses and place, and his work of helping people. The Foundation extends condolences and best wishes to Frank's son Peter, and his family.
We invite you to read stories and experiences with and about Dr. Hladky in our guestbook below and share your own by using our Contact Us form.
Remembrance and Reflections by Frederic Lowen
Frank Hladky has been a close friend of my father Al Lowen, nearly as long as I remember. From the 1960s, and ever since, Dr. Hladky and Dad have maintained a close affectionate and respectful relationship derived from their common vision of the body as the focus of psychotherapy and well-being.
As I re-entered the Bioenergetic community in 2005, it was Frank who brought me up-to-date when I inquired as to why Bioenergetics seemed so “Bioenergetic Lite” compared to the early work of the 1960s and 1970s. He explained he had the utmost respect for Dad, as Dad had continued to grow and soften his interventions, and even further improve his patients’ outcomes.
Although the strong early techniques were dramatic, and effective, they could present integration problems and enhance resistance. Over time, faith in the natural healing attributes of the body allowed Bioenergetic therapists to become less active as interventionists seeking to “make something happen,” and more active as body work guides, creating an environment to allow old traumas to emerge.
An old-time psychiatrist with psycho-analytic training and psychiatric hospital experience, Frank recognized the value of the body work in psychiatry very early, and has practiced it ever since. As his patients and trainees can attest, Frank pioneered a gentle body-focused approach to the common issues of personal boundaries, energy containment and expression.
Frank’s legacy is in the clients, trainees and practitioners, and people he has cured, taught, and inspired as he helped all to “find their aliveness.” And this is significant. I know of few other trainers who have touched so many so deeply throughout the US, South and Central America, and Europe. Many of these individuals are using Bioenergetics in their practice and teaching, some for decades.
Frank was a man of his convictions, and his belief that individuals could effectively practice Bioenergetic Analysis without the academic credentials, ran counter to prevailing practice. While rules, structure and traditions are important, it is equally important to be flexible and vital enough to recognize, accommodate and encourage good energy. Good energy seeks a creative outlet, it is antithetical to structural rigidity.
I believe this is the quality of Frank that is so appealing: guided by tradition, training, and experience, Frank encouraged everyone to seek out, re-gain, and utilize their own good energy.
A story Frank tells of Dad I don’t forget: the two are walking in New York City, and Frank remarks to Dad that although he has read Dad’s books many times, he always discovers something new, and Dad says “That happens to me too!”Dad also had the utmost respect for Frank too.
An early Bioenergetic professional, Frank never lost his focus on working with the body, just like Dad.
Frank old friend I’ll miss you. If there is a Bioenergetic heaven, I’m sure you and Dad, two old warriors and friends to the end, are busy catching up.
Honoring Frank Hladky
Whether you have known him as a friend, teacher, mentor, therapist, colleague, or in any other capacity, please share your experiences and stories with the Bioenergetics community.
You can enter your thoughts honoring Dr. Hladky by using our Contact Us form. We will post your entry in the guestbook below. Signing your entry is welcome, but is not necessary. If you have pictures, videos or other materials you can send to us, please include them.
This is such a huge turn of the wheel.
Frank has died. My beloved teacher and friend. I honor him, and I’m so honored to have known him and to have learned so much from him.The time I shared with Frank and his family in Truchas, NM, has always been present in my heart and in my mind and it is so precious to me.
I am so honored that Dr. Frank Hladky allowed me to witness and film his work. A few days before his passing away, we met to work on new material for the DVD series. Frank was always very excited about his work being recorded and made available as a teaching tool.
When speaking about having his work recorded on video, Frank said; “Isabel can get it in film because it is better anyway. Words are always derivatives. Words are never the real thing. It’s like trying to describe what a watermelon tastes like. How can you do it in words?
”Recording and preserving his teachings has been a joy, a gift and a privilege.Thank you for your trust, dear Frank.
Video courtesy of Isabel Carvalhal
June 24, 2012
I don't know where to begin to express my feelings and memories of my 25 year relationship with Frank. He was my Therapist, Teacher and Friend. I miss him and at the same time I am filled with him.
He was one of a kind.... Solid, Grounded, Completely Present in the hear and now. Friends and I would smile and compare him to the Majestic Redwoods. My therapy process with Frank was amazing. I reached places with in myself that are way beyond words. I know this was possible because of who he was. His experience, compassion and presence with me. I am deeply grateful and will remember this process and journey with him forever.
As our Teacher he taught the importance of Contact, Trusting the organism, Following the Impluse, Always looking for the Aliveness in the body and Finding One's True Nature. His contribution to Bioenergetics will be remembered and carried on.
Thank You Frank .... I Love You
Most of you know Frank enjoyed Reading. One of his favorite Authors was D.H.Lawrence. At a recent workshop we gave together Frank gave this quote to everyone.
"This is my creed: For man the vast marvel is to be alive. For man as for flower and beast and bird the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.
The magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours alone, and ours only for a time.
We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh and part of the living incarnate cosmos."
D. H. Lawrence
June 24, 2012
Dear all of you in Bioenergetics.
I am so sorry for Frank passing away. I liked to share with some photos of Frank at his place in Truchas in New Mexico. It meant so much to me stay there. I will always be grateful for chance I had to be there. He was a generous and warm hearted man and it was so easy to love him.
Unni Schøn Fokstad
June 24, 2012
I met Frank in 1989 during a three-week trip that he, Al, and I made to Brazil. Frank, a beloved teacher in Brazil for many years, worked with hundreds of people, sometimes fifteen in one day. He never missed a beat. I was awe struck. Al spoke with ease at conferences in Sao Paulo, Rio and Salvador. Hundreds of people were in attendance at each site. Again, I was awe struck. I was a soon-to-be faculty member and taught one exercise class! I went for the ride so to speak, and soaked up the wisdom that Frank and Al offered.
I got to know Frank over the years, mostly as faculty for the Pawling workshops. I saw his brilliance. I heard his laughter. I felt his heart, his kindness. I learned that he slept only four hours each night, that that was all he needed, that he read during the night. How fitting that he died with a book in his hand.
Here are two of my favorite pictures showing Frank’s warm and engaging face: Salvador Brazil 1989 and New Canaan CT 2005. The New Canaan photo was taken in Al’s yard following a book signing for his autobiography. Frank made a special trip to CT for this event. He stayed at my home. He read Al’s book during the night.
Leslie Case, Connecticut
June 14, 2012
Dr. Frank Hladky used to say that life is miracle. Through him I have come to believe that, and I could see Bioenergetics as a fulfilling way of living Life and a successful way of helping others. Frank was a giant therapist: completely present, fully available emotionally and attuned to the difficulties of his patients.He was able to stay with them, present, and guide them out of their difficulties following their aliveness.He had the gift o healing, and he was a master of contact, capable of real attachment. He trusted the impulses of the body, and the force given by their expression, in a meaningful way. "We grow through relationship", was one of his mottos, and he followed it. For me, Frank was a role model in times where is rare to see a man of principles, fully alive and with a heart. He was the head of the family... the psychiatrist, the bioenergetic teacher, the rancher and the musician.Above all, a dear friend. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
Felipe de Campos d' Utra Vaz
June 14, 2012
Death is like going over the stool or, in Jung's terminology, like going into the shadow. The other side of the stool, the other side of the shadow, one finds oneself. One also finds God. Lowen understood that, though he may not have said so in such clear words. His "Spirituality of the Body" testifies to his understanding.
With regards to Frank, ever the Bioenergetics therapist, he has gone over the stool one last time. He has found his true self unimpeded by the pain and limitations of this world. May he also be at peace in the company of God.
Halifax, Nova Scotia