Tag Archive | "integration"

Integration of the Psyche


( Excerpts of a lecture given by Dr. Wilhelm Reich on the process of integration in newborns and the schizophrenic.)

In 1949, Wilhelm Reich conducted a series of clinical lectures and discussions with physicians in which he formulated the basic principles of orgone therapy and focused on specific problems and possibilities in the practice. Dr. Reich  was aware of the significance of his discoveries and importance of his teachings and he recorded these lectures. He also insisted that the students  record these events as well.  These recordings are transferred to Compact Disc format by the Wilhelm Reich Museum and has been made available for interested people and scholars.. It is a treat and enlightening experience to listen to Dr. Reich speaking and conducting these seminars.

The following transcribed excerpt is from the lecture that Dr.Wilhelm Reich gave to his students in 1949 on the problems of integration in infancy and schizophrenia.   This lecture also is transcribed in its full format and is published in Orgonomic Functionalism,  published by The Wilhelm Reich Museum.  The reader can find the full transcript in Vol. 6 of Orgonomic Functionalism which was published in the summer of 1996.  The following is the portions of the lecture that we selected for our readers.

Click for a 15 minute audio excerpt from the transcribed lecture, \”Problems of Integration in Infancy and Schizophrenia\”

“Courtesy of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust”

Reich:…. The child comes into the world unintegrated, not disintegrated, because it never was integrated.  But unintegrated. And how does that show? How do we know that?

… That means that different movements show no purpose, no meaning.  Here we get into something new again.  Why did I say purpose and meaning now? If you look at a newborn baby, the movements are without meaning, without purpose. They give the impression of meaninglessness, purposelessness, exactly as in the schizophrenic, catatonic.  Is that clear? Now we would not say, as the psychoanalysts say, that the schizophrenic or catatonic regresses to this phase. We think differently. I wouldn’t like to discuss whether they are right or wrong.  But what is clear is that there are similar or even identical situations in the catatonic and the infant, especially in mannerisms. And the common thing is that both lack meaningfulness and purpose, purposefulness. Is that clear? The infant and the schizophrenic, the catatonic especially.  And we say that the child is not integrated yet and the schizophrenic has disintegrated. That’s the difference. The child isn’t yet a whole organism, whereas the schizophrenic was a whole….

To begin with, [in the newborn], the organs move senselessly around.  The mouth moves here, the foot moves there, and the hand moves here, and the eyes move somewhere else. That means the eyes are not coordinated; they don’t focus. You know that.

Then one day these different functions, which are single functions– They are total, too, of course, but they are total only with respect to what? The hand motion, for instance. Of course the total hand moves. But it’s total only with respect to the hand, to the arm, to the organ. Just as the stomach moves as a stomach. Each eye moves for itself as a total organ.  But what is not there? The synchronization…..

The main problem is what happens when a child fixes its eyes for the first time on its own finger. What happens there? Let’s analyze that.  it’s very important. What happens?  First, the two eyes coordinate in looking. Yes?

Student: I feel that I can answer the question of what happens when the child begins to see its finger, but I’m confused about what happens when the two eyes begin to function together. I feel that here, with the eyes able to function, there’s been contact between.

Reich:That’s the answer. Perfect. Perfect. There was contact. Contact. Please keep that word. That’s very good. Contact. Why is that word so important in this connection?

Student:Because it’s the basis of all functioning, of all unitary functioning.

Reich: Of all later contact functioning. The schizophrenic disease is characterized by lack of contact, by split contact, by withdrawal from contact, and so on. So these first contacts between a function in the organism, the eyes and a moving finger, for instance, are critical. Now what’s made contact?

Student: Two Fields

Reich: Two energy fields. That’s right. Two energy fields make contact.  We can also express it in a different way. And that is, two motions, two movements make contact. Two movements make contact. That moved, this moved. And then they met.  And from now on, that will be the prototype of every later contact between eyes and motions.

Student: I would like to question this concept of two fields, two energy fields making contact.

Reich: Why?

Student: It’s one energy field, isn’t it? It’s the same field.

Reich: No. No. We are a whole, and yet the liver is completely separated from the heart. Is that clear? The same thing with our mental activities. We are a whole; our perceptual activities function as one piece. Yet it’s different when I talk to you than when I talk to another student. That’s no contradiction. Therefore we say we have a multiplicity of things, of functions, within a unity. It doesn’t contradict. It’s one. (I wrote that up once.) The fact that there are one, tow, three, distinctly separate built-in functions, like perception, excitation, and energy metabolism doesn’t contradict.

Student: They are variations of the same

Reich: They are variations of one thing. Here you have our functional scheme quite clearly expressed. So the child is a unity in its energy as a system. Yet that splits up into different functions. now these functions, such as the eye and the hand movement, meet. And they make contact. I would suggest to keep the word “contact: very clearly in mind. The word “contact”. Just this word. “Making contact.”

Now what goes on? these two make contact. We see it. We can observe it. What happens to the child in that process? The child took a step. That’s clear. But a step toward what? What happened to the child, to the totality? We know what happened between the two movements. They made contact. What happened to the whole?

Student: They became an integral part of the whole.

Reich: Quite perfect. They became an integral part of the whole. That means, from now on, the eyes will follow every movement. A new function was born. Is that right? A new function!  So in this contact between an eye movement and a hand movement a new function was born, namely, the function of fixing eyes on everything. Seeing. The function of seeing. But we still didn’t quite answer what happened to the total organism. Not quite. You answered a part of it. A new function was born in the whole organism which consists of the organic and the psychic function. Basically. From now on, seeing has set in.  Seeing is a psychological, biological, biophysical function. Right? But something happened to the ego of that child. Before these two movements met, there was no awareness that such a thing exists or is possible. First the movement of the eye and the movement of the hand had to make contact with each other, and the new function of seeing had to be established before the ego of the child could make the next step. And that is being aware that it sees……

Now here , for the first time, in this example you have not only contact between eye movement and hand movement which is one part of the coordination. But that sets into motion a whole series of events. This contact between eye movement and hand movement influences the total organism. The total organism will, from now on, directs its eyes toward everything that moves. That’s the second coordination. Then the child must slowly become aware of the fact that it sees. Is there any doubt about that? is there any gap here? There’s the coordination between the excitation of this unitary seeing and the awareness of it. Where are we driving now? Where are we going now?

Student: We’re driving toward the disturbance of this unitary functioning.

Reich: That’s right. But before we arrive at the disturbance of this unitary functioning between different movements coordinated into one and the awareness of this coordination, you must understand that the child has a quite different feeling of itself when it sees things and when it doesn’t see things. It’s a different self. How would that self compare with the self before it coordinated these movements? How would the self feel or be? Yes. Go ahead…

Student: More powerful, too.

Reich: That makes it more powerful. Its unity is greater. Now, lets get it all together. When it is born the child is one organic unity, but the functions, the single functions within this unity, are unconnected. Right? Each goes on its own. Now the coordination of movements begins. They make contact. Then the perception of these contacts, or the awareness of it, develops. And with that the whole organism becomes a more complete unity. The total organism becomes stronger in that it expands, not only physically in its growth, but in its awareness of what growth?  Consciousness growth. Awareness. Consciousness of the self. Before , when these functions were separate and not coordinated, there was no awareness of the borderline between the self and the outer world and the  world streaming right into it. the mother’s breast, the mothers’ warmth- it was all one. Now , the more this child, this newborn baby, begins to integrate its own self, what happens inevitably in its relations with the world?

Student: It feels a difference between itself.

Reich:  That’s it. The difference, or the awareness of the difference, between the self and the world grows to the same extent to which the self integrates. Is that clear? Quite clear? That means, all later schizophrenic projections, the loss of the borderline, the merging with the world, the hallucinations, whatever there is, cannot be understood unless we understand the way in which an organism integrates itself more and more, slowly, into a whole, and demarcates its own existence from that of the outer world. Right?  What goes on as a process of integration in the new born baby is reflected in  the schizophrenic breakdown later in the revers direction, as disintegration. We shall come to that very soon. We are not through yet with the baby. But today we shall reach that point where we shall deduce these things.

Now, we said “contact.” The more contacts there are between movements among each other and perception of movement with the movements, the clearer becomes consciousness, consciousness in the form of self-awareness. That means, the great problem of how consciousness comes about can most probably be solved by a careful study of the process of integration in the  newborn baby. Consciousness would appear  as the sum total of all integrations, of all contacts within the organism, and of the internally integrated organism with the separated world out-side. It has nothing to do with speech. Is that clear? It has nothing to do with ideas. It has nothing to do with walking yet or with higher functions, later learning, and so on…..

For instance, in connection with the contact function, I would like to bring in a very important field of functioning, realm of functioning. And that is scientific insight. What do we do here, right here, as living organisms? What do we do right now, for more than a half hour?

Student: We’re integrating.

Reich: We’re integrating. We are integrating different functions. We are integrating the function of the schizophrenic breakdown with the function of the growth of self-awareness in the infant. We are integrating two things which apparently have nothing to do with each other. That is scientific knowledge, organic scientific knowledge. If you study or do searching, do research, what do you do?  You integrate and unite different facts into an understandable unit. You do the same thing that your organism did in infancy with your organs or with your perception. It’s only a continuation of that. The better integrated an organism is, the better it will function as an integrating organism. Is that clear?

Now, let’s pass over to the schizophrenic crack, or split, which we mentioned in the beginning. How could such a crack in this structure occur? We have said before that when the schizophrenic breaks down  he doesn’t break down anew. He had a crack there right from the beginning, somewhere. It’s like a building that has deep cracks through the foundation, and then it collapses. And that’s the difference between a building which was already constructed and a building which has not been constructed where the materials are all still separated.

Student: Talking about the schizophrenic– His contacts have been limited. His consciousness.

Reich: Wait a minute. You say “limited.” What is limited?

Student: There’s been a lack of contact.

Reich: Somewhere was a lack of contact. Yes. I will accept that. Yes.

Student: One could say that the cement between the bricks was defective in some way.

Reich: That’s right.

Student: We were saying the greater the amount of contact the greater the consciousness, the greater the consciousness the greater the integrating forces. And here you have in the schizophrenic a lack of contact.

Reich: Before the breakdown?

Student: Yes.

Reich: It’s not lack of contact. No, before he breaks down he has great contact. What has he? He has a weak spot.

Student: He’s poorly integrated.

Reich: He’s poorly integrated. I would say more definitely still–Not only poorly integrated. The way you said it before, Doctor, Was better.

Student: Things holding together are defective.

Reich: That’s right. That means the cohesion between the different functions is weak. Now can you deduce the crack in the schizophrenic to a concrete defective development in the integration of the newborn baby?

Student: Deduce to what?

Reich: Deduce the crack, the weak cohesion between the functions in the schizophrenic, in the grown-up schizophrenic, who cracks wide open in the break-down, to the infant,to the process of integration in the infant. Take a very concrete example. Where is the schizophrenic split preformed? Under what circumstances could that happen? Give me concrete examples. You can invent one, if you invent well.  Fantasize. Go ahead.

Student: I would begin again with the functions of the energy.  A withdrawal of energy in this segment.

Reich: Which segment?

Student? In the eye segment.

Reich: We are not in the eyes. We have to have the general before we have the special. We have to have the general. In infancy something must have gone wrong in the process of the separation of the self from the world. So that the borderlines are blurred. There is a doubt., like a question mark, in the inner self. Where do I end and where does the world begin? The newborn baby really goes through such a phase, actually. Now can you imagine that such a thing could happen if a child of two or three weeks, just in the process of integration, is beaten very severely? You give another example. go ahead.

Student: I’ve experienced terrific longing, physical longing in my oral segment. The longing was so strong that I thought  that a frustration at that moment would be just  unbearable.

Reich: That’s right. That’s very good and I think a very pertinent example. Schizophrenia is expressed in the face mostly, eyes, mouth, the whole a face. And I haven’t seen a schizophrenic yet who didn’t have a severe traumatic experience in the development of his oral longing. Not a single one, not a singe one. Just as you describe it., doctor. The schizophrenic is energetically stronger than any other type. There’s a very strong push of energy outward. If that meets nothing outside, just nothing. There’s no contact. Right?

Student: I thought to myself that the child would either crack, or he could attempt to armor in some way.

Reich: Can’t armor yet. Can’t armor. It could develop rage, screaming rage. And then it’s being beaten, and so on……

Student:  I thought of something else in connection with this split. In terms of motion.  you see, the body’s somewhat limited in its functions.  The eye has the power to move.

Reich: Excellent, Doctor, excellent.   That’s good thinking.  Very good.  What did you do now biophysically or bioenergetically?  What happened to you now, Doctor?  What happens to me all the time when I talk?  The contact of two or three functions, the  hook-up, the integration of two or three functions to the whole, into a unit, creates something new. Is that clear?  Just as it goes on in growth and just as it goes on in integrated functioning in early childhood.  That’s creation. That’s creation.  The creative mind works that way by lucidity.  What is lucidity?  Lucidity is oneness or complete integration of different functions.  The more functions you integrate, the more functions you have in one piece together hooked up with the common functioning principle, as we call it, the more complete is your understanding. That means knowledge, understanding, and so on, depend on these functions.  And here the schizophrenic comes in again. He’s excellent in integrating. He’s intelligent. He knows so much.  He integrates well.  And just that is his danger.  (i’ve tried to describe that in my case “The Schizophrenic Split.”*)  His great intelligence, his high energy functioning which will call for a complete orgasmic involvement. Just that constitutes the danger.  On what basis?  On what ground?  What constitutes the danger right there?

Student: He’s overwhelmed by it.

Reich:  Yes, but what happens when he should go out and function with his whole brain fully?  The eyes don’t go with it. The base of the brain doesn’t go with it.  That means he’s dragged back, pulled back, like on a chain. And this contradiction between a very high energetic position, strong energetic charge , a high intelligence, a very strong ability to coordinate,  To untie things (The schizophrenic’s mind can easily unite cosmic functions with religious questions,  or mystical, or scientific- very easy for them.)  and then, at the same time there is terror. In reaching out, he meets nothing. There is a crack. That’s underneath. So to conclude and to have it all together, we must say that the schizophrenic split or crack is centered in the head, especially two regions. one is the eyes connected with the base of the brain and the other is the mouth. Both, especially the eyes, go back apparently to the first two weeks or three weeks of life when the newborn baby grasps the world, and begins to integrate the world, and to separate from the world. And the mouth, of course, because there’s no doubt that in strong children you have these convulsions that occur three times, four times, or more often, during the first few weeks.

You can recognize the schizophrenic by his reluctance to let his eyes and the whole upper region swing within the rest of the total functioning. And technically there’s one conclusion to be drawn form that. That’s quite clear. Don’t let them function full in the pelvis unless the eyes are clear. Stick with the eyes. There are certain technical measures to that. Rolling the eyes, turning the eyes upward, showing fright……

Now the difference between a schizophrenic structure in the head and a simple neurotic, a compulsion neurotic– A compulsion neurotic is dull. Dull eyes. No expression at all. Nothing is burning there, whereas in the schizoid character the eyes are burning. It’s very alive. But there are weak spots. He can’t turn them in some ways. he cant sometimes , in certain situations, focus quite clearly. Why? What happens then? I don’t know whether you know that. Murder comes in his eyes, murder. He may have quite clear eyes and then suddenly murder pours into them, or terror.

Well I think we’ve exhausted that subject now. We have it all nice and rounded up. Are there any questions please?

Posted in Philosophy, Psychiatric IllnessComments (2)


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