Tag Archive | "vegetotherapy"

From Libido to Orgone


Contribution to the conference: Wilhelm Reich and the Science of Life Energy: "Orgonomy" November 9, 2019 NYC

Introduction of Dr. Simonian by Dr. Alexander Bingham conference moderator:

Dr. Stephan Simonian is a Board certified general and child psychiatrist he completed medical school in Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran. He completed general psychiatric residency training program as well as child psychiatry fellowship at New York Medical College, Metropolitan Hospital Center. Concomitant with his psychiatry training program Dr. Simonian completed New York Medical College psychoanalytic Division didactic courses including his own personal required psychoanalysis. In 1990 Dr. Simonian started his personal psychiatric orgone therapy with Dr. Morton Herskowitz. He later became a member of Institute for Orgonomic Science. Dr. Simonian has been practicing general and child psychiatry since 1984.He was chief of department of psychiatry in Milford -Whitinsville Hospital in Milford ,MA for several years, In 2003 he moved to Los Angeles and has been practicing general and child psychiatry and psychiatric orgon therapy in Glendale CA. Dr. Simonian translated the book “Function of Orgasm” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich to Persian language and it is published both in the US and in the Iran. He is the editor of an on line Journal “Psychiatric Orgone Therapy” and has written several articles in that Journal.

Dr. Stephan Simonian:

Thank you very much, and thank you for generous introduction. My part of this conference is to discusses how Reich developed from Freud, because Reich was a student of Freud and he first was psychoanalyst but then he rather digressed from Freud and psychoanalysis and then developed Orgonomy which is rooted in psychoanalysis. So Orgonomy grew in the womb of psychoanalysis, the founder of psychoanalysis was Sigmund Freud,

Orgonomy grew in the womb of

psychoanalysis.

Reich was the student of Freud, and a psychoanalyst in the Freud’s circle.

A picture of Freud given to Reich as a remembrance with Freud’s inscription
stating to Dr. Wilhelm Reich as a kind remembrance of Sig Freud in March
1925. This picture is posted at the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley,
Maine.

This is the Freud’s picture; this is the picture that Freud gave to Reich ass a remembrance and this picture is hanging on the wall of Wilhelm Reich Museum in the Rangeley Main. Freud himself inscribed under the picture stating “To Wilhelm Reich as a remembrance” and dated and signed the picture.

Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley, Maine.

Those who have not visited Wilhelm Reich Museum I encourage them to do it is in the Rangeley Main, it is a serene place very nice, very quiet, with many lakes around it, it is a marvelous vacation place and also a good learning experiment. This is a slide of Wilhelm Reich Museum.

Erwin Stengel, Grete Bibring-Lehner,
Rudolph Lowenstein, and Wilhelm
Reich at the 1934 Lucerne
Psychoanalytic Congress.

Now, this is a picture of Wilhelm Reich, in the Lucerne conference in 1934

This was an international Psychoanalytic Conference. The reason I am showing this slide to you is for you to realize how central figure he is for psychoanalysis at that time, he is an authority in psychoanalysis, he is talking and others around him are listening to him. I want to convey that his knowledge in psychoanalysis is very deep. Someone with deep knowledge in a scientific branch can also further that knowledge. Know that we establish that Freud’s psychoanalysis was the basis of what Reich developed latter on, I will quickly go over some essential principles of psychoanalysis. Freud developed three major theories:

Freud developed 3 major theories

throughout his life

  • Libido theory (economic theory)
  • Topographic theory (theory of Conscious and Unconscious)
  • Structural theory, (theory of Id, Ego and Superego).

First Theory is Libido Theory, or economic theory. The second theory is Topographic Theory, or the theory of Conscious and unconscious, and the third theory is Structural Theory, or the theory of Id, Ego, Superego.

Now, first let’s explain a bit Libido Theory; Freud hypostasized that there must be an innate energy in the child that propagates the life. By observation of the newborns and children he made these assumptions that an innate energy operates in the newborn and goes through different stages of development. Freud made the fallowing conclusion (Slide)

Libido theory

“Economic theory”


  • Hypothetical psychosexual energy operating in
    newborn
  • Is the source of propagation of life
  • Instincts get their power from this energy source
  • Neurosis develops when this energy is blocked.

Topographic Theory, or the Theory of Conscious and unconscious:

Freud assumed that under the human conscious mind there is a larger segment of unconscious, that influences our lives and influences our decisions and pushes us toward directions which we are consciously unaware of it. Psychoneurotic symptoms are manifestations of conflicts that are rooted in the unconscious. Freud postulated that psychoanalytic technique can penetrate into unconscious and bring the unconscious conflict to the consciousness and Freud postulated that when unconscious roots of the conflict becomes conscious than symptoms should improve.

Topographic theory

  • Under the conscious mind there is a larger
    hidden segment of unconscious
  • Psychoneurotic symptoms are manifestations
    of conflict rooted in a person’s unconscious
  • Freud postulated that by psychoanalytic
    technique when the unconscious becomes
    conscious neurotic symptoms should improve.

Structural theory of the Freud or the Theory of ID, EGO and Superego:

Structural theory

  • Freud divided human psychological structure
    to 3 components
  • Id – Which are instinctual strivings
  • Ego – Face and interact with the world
  • Superego – Which is internalized social,
    parental and religious values, causes approval
    & disapproval, creates guilt and demands
    punitive measures.

Freud hypothetically divided human psychosexual structure to three components, Id which is the component of instincts, Ego which is the component that deals, interacts and negotiates with the world, and Superego which is the internalized social, parental and religious values and causes approval or disapproval and creates guilt and demands punitive measures. These three basic theories of Freud overlap in some points with each other.

Freud suggested two types of neurosis, one type of neurosis he called Stasis Neurosis or Actual Neurosis.

Freud suggested 2 types of neurosis

  • Stasis neurosis or actual neurosis, which is caused
    by disturbance of sexual life, damming up of
    libido energy (psychosexual energy) which causes
    toxic reaction in the body such as palpitation,
    hyperventilation and high level of anxiety and can
    be cured by counseling and helping the patient
    not to be abstinent
  • Psychoneurosis, develops because of unconscious
    conflict and can be cured by psychoanalysis.

This neurosis, Freud said, happens when the flow of Libido Energy is blocked because of abstinence which in turn it causes accumulation of the energy and causes toxic reaction and that causes symptoms of neurosis like palpitation, hyperventilation, similar to toxic reaction of elevated thyroid hormone and thyrotoxicosis. Freud suggested that by counselling and helping the patient not to be obstinate, this neurosis will be cured. The second type of Neurosis, was postulated by Freud was called Psychoneurosis, this neurosis was a consequence of unconscious conflict which patient is unaware of it. However, Freud himself agreed that under each psychoneurosis there is a core of stasis neurosis and with each stasis neurosis there is as component of psychoneurosis. So, Reich questioned that since each neurosis contains the other neurotic components as well, and then there is no reason to differentiate between each type of neurosis.

However Freud agreed that underneath of each psychoneurosis there is a core of Stasis neurosis and with each Stasis neurosis there is a component of psychoneurosis. By this consideration no differentiation between neurosis and psychoneurosis seems necessary.

Now to treat psychoneurosis, to penetrate into the unconscious of a patient and make unconscious conscious, we need to have a technique. That technique is Freudian Psychoanalysis. In Psychanalytic technique, Freud suggested that the patient should lay down on a coach and he or she is encouraged to free associate. To talk whatever comes to his mind. By free association, one idea will bring up another idea, like the links of the chain which this eventually will lead us to the unconscious conflict and according to Freud when unconscious conflict gets conscious, the neurotic symptom should improve. Psychoanalyst during the psychoanalysis leads the patient toward discovery of the unconscious conflict.

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Technique

  • Patient lies on couch and is encouraged to say
    whatever comes to his mind
  • By free association ideas like links of chain will
    lead to unconscious conflict
  • Dream interpretation
  • This technique is to make unconscious roots of
    the conflict conscious and according to Freud
    when unconscious becomes conscious patient
    should improve.

Freud also suggested dream interpretation, because dreams contain unconscious elements in a form of symbolic way and dream interpretation helps uncovering some of the unconscious issues.

Picture of psychoanalytic setting

This is a picture of psychoanalytic setting; the psychoanalyst sits on the top of the coach and the patient lays on the coach. Freud postulated that laying position makes easier for the patient to free associate. Also, it was suggested that analyst to be out of the site of the patient.

Psychoanalytic theory and technique does not always work.

However psychoanalytic technique and making unconscious conscious does not always work. Patients often resist the process of psychoanalysis, they do not free associate, or even when they cooperate and eventually reach to the unconscious conflict, often they do not improve. In such cases they only gain an intellectual understanding, they cognitively know why they are feeling miserable or acting in a certain unhealthy way but the still continue to feel miserable and continue to behave in the unhealthy manner and they are helpless to change it. So psychoanalytic theory and technique sometimes work and sometimes doesn’t.

This is the cover picture of Time Magazine in November issue of 1993. The title of the picture says: Is Freud Dead. The author in this article concludes that psychoanalysis and all of its offshoots may in final analysis turn out to be no more reliable then countless other Pseudoscience.

The author of this article states:
“Psychoanalysis and all of its offshoots may in final analysis turn out to be no more reliable than countless other pseudoscience’s”.

Now, keep in mind that this is a major discovery, Freud did a major discovery, and because it is halfway done, because sometimes it does not give results, people have prematurely dismissed it and labeled it “Pseudoscience” Reich, in the book “Reich Speaks of Freud” says : Freud was the Moses who did not reach to promise land! And that is true, he didn’t reach the promise land because the discovery is halfway done and is not complete. Here is where Reich comes to the scene.

Reich was a student of Freud and was analyzing the patients according to Freud’s teachings and instructions, Reich realized that sometimes when unconscious becomes conscious patients improve, sometimes they do not. So, in his mind he was questioning “why”. Reich in the book “Function of Orgasm” gives two examples. First case is a student that Freud referred to Reich, who was suffering from obsessions and was counting a lot. Everything was changing into numbers. Reich analyzed this patient according to Freud’s suggestions and on the ninth month of the analysis an incest fantasy broke through and patient was consequently was able to have satisfying sexual release. The patient had relapse of symptoms and setbacks for few episodes which improved by subsequent satisfying sexual experiences and eventually the symptoms remitted and after he became capable of healthy sexual life, he married and stayed free of symptoms for six years that Reich had contact with him.

In the book of “The Function of Orgasm”, Reich writes about two patients who were treated with psychoanalysis. One of whom had a successful outcome and the other did not.

Concomitantly Reich was analyzing another patient, a waiter whose main symptom was sexual impotence. Reich says” During the third year of the psychoanalysis we arrived at the perfect reconstruction of Primal Scene. He was two years old when this occurred. His mother gave birth to a child and from the adjacent room he had been able to observe every detail of the delivery. The impression of a large bloody hole between mother’s leg became firmly ingrained in his mind. In conscious level he only sensed an emptiness in his own genitals. Based on psychoanalytic knowledge of that time I merely connected his inability to have erection to his severely traumatic impression of seeing the castrated female genital. This analysis was no doubt correct, but at that time I incorrectly assessed the total personality of my patient. He was very quiet, well mannered, well behaved person. He agreed with everything that he was asked to do. In a course of three years of his treatment he never once became angry or exercise criticism, thus according to the prevailing thought of that time he was fully integrated, adjusted character with only one acute symptom, monosymptomatic neurosis.

Reich presented this case to the older analysts at that time and he was praised by them. Reich then thought that if the analysis is fine, then why is that the patient has not improved?

Even when unconscious conflict of neurotic symptoms is discovered the symptoms may persist.

Reich says that he realized that the major problem was this waiter’s unshakable calmness, tranquility and agreeableness that everyone thought that it was an asset, but real sickness was his character. Reich says that after three years of analysis he terminated the analysis and the patient was not improved. The patient accepted the termination as he accepted everything else in his life with politeness calmness. So, Reich realized that the real sickness was this patient’s character and the symptom was sustained on the base of this unhealthy character.

  • From here on Reich moves to character analysis vs. symptom analysis
  • Patient’s whole character resists the treatment
  • It is not important “what the patient says”, It is important “how he says it”.
  • From here on Reich moves into character analysis. He realizes that character is the basis of the illness. The character analysis the takes priority since when character is intact, even when unconscious conflict becomes conscious, the patient dose not improve. Reich moved to character analysis versus symptom analysis, he said it is more important “How patient says” rather than “What he says”. He presented this approach to Freud, but Freud did not approve it and said that whatever patient says should be analyze as it is said. So, Reich, from here on drifted away from Freud and developed two theories, the theory of armoring and the theory of orgasm.

    Hence Reich developed 2 major
    theories

    • A. Theory of Armoring
    • B. Theory of Orgasm

    These are two main psychiatric theories of Wilhelm Reich. Dr. Herskowitz once in one of his lectures said that the discovery of armoring is one of the most important discoveries in psychiatry, which is unknown and unnoticed by conventional psychiatry.

    The theory of armoring

    • The theory of armoring developed in the process of Reich’s work with patient’s resistances to treatment.

    The Theory of armoring developed in the process of Reich’s works with the patient’s resistances. Reich discovered that the patients’ whole character resists to the process of psychoanalysis. It is interesting that in the process of psychoanalysis, when the patient’s’ character is mentioned, patients usually become defensive and deny any negative aspect of their character.

    Reich discovered that the patient’s whole character resists the process of psychoanalysis. It resists the change like aforementioned polite and agreeable waiter.

    Character armor is defined as the sum total of character attitude which an individual develops ass a defense against emotional excitation resulting in rigidities in the body and lack of genuine emotional contact.

    Character armor is defined as the sum total of character attitudes which an individual develops as defense against his emotional excitations resulting in rigidity of the body and lack of genuine emotional contact.

    Character analysis although is in variance with psychoanalytic technique, but still is in the domain of psychoanalysis because it still is in the turf of interacting with the words.

    From 1926 Reich suggested character analysis versus symptoms analysis. Character analysis although in variance with Freud’s technique but still works in the realm of psyche.

    Now character armor has a physical counterpart.

    Character armor has a physical and muscular counterpart which is functionally identical with it but works in the physical realm.

    A patient who is always smiling and nice will develop some muscular contractions and rigidities in his or her face and mouth which as time goes on it becomes permeant feature and turns into muscular armor, now from here on Reich is moving into physical state, into the body. Emotional armor and physical armor are counterpart of each other and functionally identical with each other, one in the realm of psyche and the other in the realm of body (soma).

    Emotional armor and physical armor are counterpart of each other and are functionally identical with each other, one in the realm of psyche and the other in the realm of body.

    Now these things are not known in the conventional psychiatry, they don’t understand the physical component of the psychological features. Reich gives an example of muscular armor in the book “Function of Orgasm”:

    An example of muscular armor from the book “The Function of Orgasm”.
    “A man with stiff neck”.

    Reich says: “I treated a man who offered a considerable resistance to the uncovering of his passive homosexual fantasies. This resistance was overtly expressed in the extreme stiffness in his throat and stiff neck. A concentrated attack on his defense finally caused him to yield though in an alarming way. For three days he was shaken by acute manifestation of vegetative shock the paler of his face changed rapidly from white to yellow to blue, his skin was spotted and mottled, he experienced violent pains in the neck and back of the head, his heartbeat was rapid and pounding and had diarrhea. He felt tired and seemed to have lost control. I was uneasy, true. I had often seen similar symptoms but never in such a violent form. Something had happened here that while somehow a legitimate part of the work was not immediately intelligible. Affects had broken through somatically after the patient had relinquished his attitude of psychic defense. Apparently the stiff neck which emphasized austere masculinity had bond vegetative energies, which now broke loose in an uncontrollable and chaotic manner. A person with an ordered sexual economy is not capable of such reaction. Only continues inhibition and damming up of biological energy can produce it. The musculature has served the function of inhibition. When the neck muscle relaxed powerful impulses as if unleashed from a taught coil broke through”. Reich then describes the technique to dissolve character armor as well as its’ counterpart, muscular and physical armor.

    Dr. Reich developed and describes a technique to dissolve the character armor and its counterpart physical armor in the books of “Character Analysis” & “The Function of Orgasm” and Dr. Herskowitz described it in the book of “Emotional Armoring”.

    The technique of dissolving character armor and physical armor is described by Reich in the book “Character Analysis’ and the book “Function of Orgasm” and also it is described in the book, “Emotional Armoring” written by Dr. Morton Herskowitz. “Pictures of the books”

    Wilhelm Reich
    THE FUNCTION
    OF THE ORGASM

    Volume 1 of the Discovery of the Orgone
    Wilhelm Reich
    CHARACTER ANALYSIS

    THIRD, ENLARGED EDITION

    As we described earlier, character armor and physical armor are counterpart of each other, but in the deeper level they are conjoined with each other.

    This point of view is also unfamiliar to conventional medicine and psychiatry. If you open any psychiatry or medical book and go to the chapter of psych-somatic medicine, in the first couple of pages you will see the declaration of the author stating that psyche and soma are interrelated and interconnected, but when you keep reading a bit more you will reserialize that they talk as if psyche is here and somas is somewhere there, as if they are two separate entities. This is because they do not know the way they are connected with each other. So, chronic contraction of the body tissue that constitutes the muscular and physical armor, is mediated by vegetative or autonomic nervous system therefore the treatment technique to dissolve the physical armor is called “Vegetotherapy”

    Chronic contraction of body tissues is mediated by vegetative (autonomic) nervous system. Treatment technique of physical armoring is called vegetotherapy by Dr. Reich.

    It is called Vegetotherapy because chronic and involuntary muscular contractions are in relation to autonomic nervous system. Vegetotherapy is functionally the same work as character analysis but in a deeper level, in the body and in the muscular realm.

    Vegetotherapy means the same work as character analysis but in a deeper level of biological system.

    As we said earlier Reich has developed two major theories, the theory of armoring and the theory of orgasm, these two theories at the end get integrated with each other and become counterpart of each other. Dissolution of the armor leads to establishment of natural orgiastic potency.

    The theory of armoring and theory of orgasm are interrelated with each other dissolution of armor leads to establishment of natural orgastic potency.

    In the book of “Function of Orgasm” Reich describes the changes in patients in whom the armoring is dissolved and orgiastic potency were restored.

    In the book of “The Function of Orgasm” Reich describes the changes in the patients in whom the armor was dissolved and healthy sexual functioning was restored.

    Reich says: quit spontaneously patients start to experience moralistic attitudes of the world around them something alien and peculiar. No matter how tenaciously they might have defended premarital chastity beforehand, now they experience this demand as grotesque. Such demands no longer had any relevance to them, they became indifferent to them. Their attitude toward the work changed, if they have previously worked mechanically, not demonstrating real interest, they became discriminating. The change in the sexual sphere was just as pronounced, patients’ who felt no qualms about going to prostitutes became incapable for doing so. Wives who had patiently endured living with unloving husband and submitted to sexual act out of marital obligation, they could no longer do so, and they simply refused they had enough. Reich says that when the armoring dissolved and sexual potency is retorted, people developed a character like Jesus Chris character, they became self-regulated, they did not need police to behave.

    I will now mention some of the important points regarding to the Theory of Orgasm:

    The Theory of Orgasm

    • This theory corresponds with Freud’s theory
      of neurosis
    • Reich says: That orgastic impotence is not just
      one of many symptoms of neurosis but it is
      the most important symptom as well as the
      cause of neurosis
    • All neurotic patients are orgastically disturbed.

    Dr. Harry Lewis will be talking about it in more details later today. The theory of orgasm corresponds with Freud’s theory of Neurosis, Reich says that the orgiastic impotence is not just one symptom of neurosis but it is the most important symptom as well as the cause of neurosis. All neurotic patients are orgasticly disturbed. This statement was objected by Reich’s contemporary psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. Many of them stated that they have neurotic patients that are orgastically very potent, that they can have sex several times in one night. However, that sexual potency, when is probed a bit, becomes evident that it is not a genuine potency. They either were unable to reach to orgasm, or they had premature ejaculation, or they had to use strange fantasies to achieve orgasm, or after the orgasm they were experiencing a sense of disgust within themselves, etc.

    In Orgonomy orgastic potency is defined as person’s ability to surrender to the flow of biological energy free of any inhibition or fantasy and its capacity to discharge completely the dammed up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable convulsions.

    In Orgonomy, orgasmic potency is defined as person’s ability to surrender to the flow of biological energy, free of any inhibition or fantasy and its capacity to discharge completely the dammed up sexual excitation by involuntary pleasurable convulsions.

    Orgasm theory is rich in encompassing concept of expansion and contraction of the living organism and its psychological expression of pleasure and displeasure as well as it’s relation to autonomic nervous system.

    Orgasm theory is a rich theory and encompasses concepts of expansion and contraction of living protoplasm and its psychological expression of pleasure and displeasure as well as its relation to autonomic nervous system.

    Now you can see the difference of treatment theory and approach based on Reich’s description comparing to conventional psychoanalysis and medicine. Psychoanalysis stopes in the most superficial level of psyche, while in Orgonomy it penetrates to the muscles and even deeper into autonomic nervous system, which is far deeper in the tissues and therefore psychiatric orgone therapy brings changes to the patients which are very basic and fundamental.

    Orgastic potency and the process of armoring in deeper level are connected with each other. These are connected with each other, they also are function of autonomic nervous system, which governs the involuntary process of contraction and expansion of the body by sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous branches.

    Orgastic potency and the process of armoring both in deeper level are connected to function of autonomic nervous system which governs the involuntary process of contraction and expansion of the body by sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous branches.

    Now that we recognize that armoring is related to muscular contractions which are mediated by autonomic nervous system, then it is logical to infer that this chronic contraction of the muscles and tissues should cause some physical problems as well. These pathologic changes of the tissues as a consequence of armoring is called Biopathy by Reich. In the book “Cancer biopathy” Reich used the term biopathy for such a physical condition.

    • Now that we recognize the physical armoring by
      contractions of muscles and body tissues and its
      relation to autonomic nervous system, it is logical
      to conclude that many physical illnesses may also
      arise because of the armoring.
    • Reich in the book of cancer biopathy used the
      term biopathy for such physical conditions.
    • Reich says: “The term biopathy refers to all disease
      processes caused by basic dysfunction in the autonomic or
      vegetative nervous system….”

    Reich says: “The term Biopathy is referred to all disease processes which is caused by basic dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Once this happens it can develop neurosis, or cancer or different types of the physical illnesses ”

    Now if armoring of the organism is detrimental to its health then why does it happen?

    Now if armoring is such a bad thing, if it is detrimental to the health of the humans, that it causes psychological and physical illnesses, then why it happens. Why human animal becomes armored.

    Armoring happens in the process of child’s interaction with his environment. This aspect of the Orgonomy enters to the realm of sociology that Dr. Philip Bennett will be talking about it. The anti-sexual and authoritarian upbringing of the children which is prevalent in the most cultures are the main cause of armoring. Schematically the process of armoring is as follows:

    • Armoring happens in the process of a child’s
      interactions with his environment.
    • The antisexual and authoritarian upbringings
      of children prevalent in most cultures are the
      main cause of armoring.
    • Schematically the process of armoring is as
      follows:

    Child initially resists the inhibition that is imposed by the outer world, through some temper tantrums but eventually submits to it and part of the drive splits and identifies with the oppressing force ,turns against itself and soon the oppression from outside becomes unnecessary because part of the child’s impulse dose the function of oppressing force of outer world. In the interface of these two forces armoring develops.

    This is the process of persistence of the traditions, behavior and sicknesses that goes from one generation to the next generation. I have many patients that they say, ” Doctor I hated when my mother or father was doing this to me, I thought I will never do it to my children, but I find myself doing the same thing to my children” Because it has become ingrained in the armor and operates automatically.

    From here on sociological branch of Orgonomy starts which deals with socio-cultural norms that causes armoring.

    The model of the human psychological structure in psychoanalysis is Id, Ego Superego. However in the Orgonomy the model of human psychological structure is, Core, Middle layer and periphery.

    Orgonomic model for a healthy organism is composed
    of core, middle layer and periphery.

    This is depiction of an unarmored human psychological structure in which the impulses are able to be expressed undistorted.

    Diagram depicting basic function in armored organism.
    The inhibition of primary impulses produces secondary
    impulses and anxiety.

    This is the armored structure.

    Schema of the structure of the armor

    The armor prevents and distorts the primary impulses and makes secondary impulses which are distorted forms of the genuine primary impulses. Secondary drives can manifest themselves as sadistic and destructive drives, greed, distorted sexual impulses lascivitisness. which then has to be covered up by insincere excessive politeness, kindness or harsh moral attitudes. The armor is complicated interlacing forces acting against each other.

    In the book “Mass Psychology of Fascism” Reich says: Extensive and painstaking therapeutic work on the human character has led me to conclude that as a rule we are dealing with three different layers of biopsychic structure in the evaluation of human reaction. These three layers of the human character structure are deposits of social development which functions autonomously.

    In the book “Mass Psychology of Fascism” Reich says: Extensive and painstaking
    therapeutic work on the human character has led me to the conclusion that, as a rule, we are dealing with three different layers of the biopsychic structure in the evaluation of the human reactions. These layers of character structure are deposits of social development, which function autonomously.

    Reich says: On the surface layer of his personality, the average man is reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible and conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were in direct contact with the deep natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case. The surface layer of social cooperation is not in contact with the deep biologic core of one’s selfhood; it is borne by a second, an intermediate character layer, which consists exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lewd, greedy and envious impulses. It represents the Freudian “unconscious” or “what is repressed”; to put it in the language of sex-economy, it represents the sum total of all so-called “secondary drives…

    If one penetrates through this destructive second layer, deeper into the biologic substratum of the human animal, one always discovers the third, deepest, layer, which we call the biologic core. In this core, under favorable social conditions, man is an essentially honest, industrious, cooperative, loving and, if motivated, rationally hating animal.”

    Reich says “Had I known it, I would have packed up and ran, but it is too late now”

    The biological energy that works in the human organism and Freud called it Libido and Reich named it orgone, in the human organism, based on orgonomic assumption originates in the autonomic ganglions, and by pulsating manner propagates in the body by sympathetic and para sympathetic nervous branches. Vegetative centers are abundant in the lower abdominal area which is called solar, hypogastric and lumbosacral plexus. This assumption is supported by a physiology experiment done in Pavlov institute in Leningrad, Russia on 1961 in a paper written by Zamiatine.

    The biological energy that operates in the human organism which Freud called it Libido and Reich named it Orgone, originates in vegetative ganglions and propagates through the body in a pulsating manner by vegetative nervous system. This vegetative centers are most abundant in lower abdominal area solar plexus, hypogastric plexus and lumbosacral plexus.

    In this paper the author verifies that there is pulsation propagating from the ganglion independent of higher centers in a cat.

    This orgonomic concept is supported in paper Zamiatine, N. (1961). Electrophysiological analysis of excitation conduction through ganglia of the solar plexus. Journal of physiology of USSR. 47(6), 1-8.

    Schematic depiction of the ganglion emitting the energy.

    Reich identified same energy that operates inside the living organism, orgone energy, in the environment, in the atmosphere, and tried to harvest it by different devices and used it medically.

    From here on Biophysical aspects of Orgonomy branches off that Dr. Hutstiener will be talking about it.

    • Reich identified the same energy, orgone
      energy in the atmosphere and tried to harvest
      it by different devices and use it medically.
    • From here on the biophysical branch of
      Orgonomy develops.

    Reich identified same energy that operates inside the living organism, orgone energy, in the environment, in the atmosphere, and tried to harvest it by different devices and used it medically.

    Reich says: the basic theory belongs to Freud but I furthered it so much that he himself could not recognize it anymore.

    Thank you.

    Please Donate

     

    If you benefited from this article, please help to preserve and promote Wilhelm Reich’s legacy by donating any amount. Your contribution is tax deductible and will be used to help orgonomy institutes including Wilhelm Reich’s museum and infant trust.

    $
    Select Payment Method
    Personal Info

    Credit Card Info
    This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
    Billing Details

    Donation Total: $5.00

    Posted in Biopathies & Psychiatric Orgone TherapyComments (1)

    From Freud’s Psychoanalysis to Orgone Therapy:


    The Psychiatric, Medical, and Social Consequences

    Orgone therapy originated from Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and evolved into the body of knowledge that Freud himself no longer recognized as his own. Reich described the evolution of this body of knowledge in his book, Function of Orgasm. This book provides a synopsis of the development of Orgonomy from psychoanalysis so that the interested reader will recognize its scientific basis, logical development, and its importance in people’s lives.

    Reich became involved with psychoanalysis in 1919 as a student at the University of Vienna. He recounted a time during an anatomy lecture when students passed around a leaflet requesting the creation of a seminar on sexology for medical students. He attended the meeting and by fall of 1919, he was elected as chairman of the seminar. In this role, it was Reich’s job to produce literature, so he interviewed a variety of well-known professors and specialists in the field. “Freud was different,” Reich wrote. “Whereas the others all played some kind of a role, Freud did not put on any airs. He spoke with me like a completely ordinary person. . . . [Although] I had been apprehensive about going to him, I went away, cheerful and happy. From that day on, I spent 14 years of intensive work in and for psychoanalysis. In the end, I was extremely disappointed in Freud. Fortunately, this disappointment did not lead to hatred and rejection. Quite the contrary,” Reich wrote. “Today I can appreciate Freud’s achievement in a far better and deeper way than I could in those days of youthful enthusiasm. I am happy to have been his student for such a long time, without having to criticize him prematurely and with complete devotion to his cause” (#1). Reich’s statement reflects his deep involvement in and devotion to the psychoanalytic movement, as well as his knowledge of the theory and techniques of psychoanalysis. His statement also reflects his devotion to and respect for Freud, its founder.

    Freud’s theory and technique in psychoanalysis was based on making the unconscious roots of symptoms conscious through free association. He contended that by free associating one idea triggers another, eventually unearthing the unconscious roots of the symptoms. Freud suggested free association connect ideas to each other like links in a chain; one link connects to the next and eventually will lead to the unconscious roots of the patient’s neurotic symptoms. By unearthing these unconscious roots, he stated that the patient would improve. The technique of psychoanalysis requires that the patient lie on a couch with the analyst sitting behind the patient’s head, preferably out of the his/her sight. The analyst then gives hints or suggestions to guide the patient to a deeper level of the unconscious and provide a timely interpretation of the patient’s verbal associations. Difficulties in this process were many, most importantly, the patient’s resistance of free associating and revealing unconscious material. Freud suggested strategies to overcome this resistance; however, they did not always work.

    The seeds of orgonomy and consequent departure of Reich from Freud date back to 1920 when Freud sent a student to Reich for psychoanalysis. The young man was suffering from a compulsion to ruminate and compulsion to count numbers. Reich treated this patient for several months and eventually an incest fantasy burst into his consciousness, and for the first time the patient masturbated with gratification. All of his symptoms vanished at once, but within 8 days they gradually returned. He masturbated again and the symptoms disappeared again only to return few days later. This went on for several weeks and finally Reich and his patient succeeded in identifying the root of his patient’s guilt about masturbation and by alleviating some of these irrational feelings, his condition visibly improved. After a total of 9 months, Reich terminated the treatment and the patient’s condition had significantly improved; thus, he was capable of working again. The patient remained free of symptoms over a period of 6 years during which Reich had minimal contact with him (#2).

    Simultaneously, Reich was analyzing a waiter who was totally incapable of having an erection. During the third year of the patient’s analysis, Reich stated, “We arrived at the perfect reconstruction of ‘primal scene.’ He was about 2 years old when this occurred. His mother gave birth to a child and from the adjacent room, he had been able to observe every detail of the delivery. The impression of a large bloody hole between the mother’s legs became firmly ingrained in his mind. On a conscious level, there remained only the sensation of “emptiness” in his own genitals. Based on psychoanalytic knowledge of that time, I merely connected his inability to have an erection with his severely traumatic impression of the castrated female genitalia. This analysis was no doubt correct”(#3). Reich stated, “At that time I incorrectly assessed the total personality of my patient. He was a very quiet, well-mannered and well-behaved person and did everything that was asked of him. He never got excited. In the course of three years of treatment, he never once became angry or exercised criticism. Thus, according to prevailing thought, he was a fully ‘integrated, adjusted’ character with only one acute symptom (monosypmtomatic neurosis)” (#3). Reich presented this case to the older analysts and he was praised for his precise analytical work, and they considered the analysis to be successful. However, Reich wondered that if the treatment had, in fact, been successful, then why had the patient not improved? “It did not occur to any of us that it was precisely this emotional tranquility and unshakable equanimity which formed the pathological characterological basis on which erectile impotence could be maintained . . . . I terminated the analysis several months later and the patient had not been cured” (#3). Reich stated that the patient accepted the termination of treatment as he had accepted everything else in his life: with placidity, politeness, and passivity.

    These contrasting cases formed the premises of two main orgonomic theories: the theory of orgasm and the theory of armoring. The theory of orgasm is illustrated in the first patient who was able to achieve orgasm and was ultimately cured. In contrast, the theory of armoring is evident in the second patient, who was unable to have an orgasm due to the makeup of his character—resistant to and armored against the flow of biological energy which energizes manifestations of rage, anger, love and sexuality. In order for a person to have orgastic potency, he must surrender to this flow, free of inhibition, and completely discharge the dammed-up sexual energy, allowing the involuntary, pleasurable convulsions of the body. These two theories, then, are inextricably bound: if one does not resolve this armoring, then one cannot develop orgastic potency.

    The concept of sexual-biological energy that Freud called it libido energy and Reich named it orgone energy, has a central importance in orgonomy and will be talked about later in this article. For now however, let’s go back to describing the theory of orgasm and the theory of armoring,- the two main theories of psychiatric orgone therapy.

    Reich reported several other cases and concluded that orgastic impotence is not simply one of many symptoms of neurosis; it is, in fact, the most significant symptom as well as the cause of neurosis. Reich argued, “Not a single neurotic individual possesses orgastic potency, and the majority of men and women are neurotic” (#4). However, some of Reich’s colleagues asserted that they knew a number of patients who had completely healthy sexual lives. Nonetheless, Reich claimed that if one looked more deeply at this proclaimed sexual potency, one would find it ingenuine or insincere because although these patients were capable of having erections and sexual intercourse, these sexual relations were contaminated with strange fantasies, reflecting a pathology, and these patients often could not reach orgasm or struggled with premature ejaculation, or at the time of ejaculation they would experience no pleasure and at times opposite of it disgust and discontent. Reich further elaborates on the orgastic potency of neurotic patients and states “The more precisely my patients described their sexual behaviors and experiences, the more convinced I became that all patients without exception are severely disturbed in their genital functioning. . . . It became quite clear that although they were sexually potent, such men experienced very little pleasure at the moment of ejaculation, or they experienced the exact opposite, disgust and displeasure” (#5). This reflects the fact that although these patients were erectively potent, but they were orgastic impotent. An orgastic potent person will experience the sexual orgasm as defined by Reich “Orgastic potency is the capacity to surrender to the flow of biological energy, free of any inhibitions: the capacity to discharge completely the dammed up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable convulsions of the body.”(#4)

    While Reich’s theory of orgasm evolved from Freud’s theory of stasis neurosis (P-1), Reich’s own clinical observation and investigation and patients’ discussions of their sexual activity, his theory of “armor” grew as a result of working on patients’ resistances to treatment. He stated that all of his data and experiences with patients led him to conclude that a patient’s “personality” or “character” creates the chief obstacle in the curing of the patient.

    (P-1) Stasis Neurosis: Freud’s initial theory of neurosis indicating that development of neurosis is a consequence of unrelieved sexual energy.

    Discovery of the concept of the emotional and physical armoring is one of the most important discoveries in psychiatry. This claim was supported by Dr. Morton Herskowitz in a speech at the IOS spring conference in 2015 . (#6)

    Dr. Morton Herskowitz

    Herskowitz stated: “I think that the discovery of emotional armoring is one of the most important discoveries in the history of psychiatry. I think that it reaches places that have never been reached by therapy before. I think it does things to people that have never been done before. I don’t think it’s a cure-all for all psychiatric problems. It doesn’t help psychosis unless you work the way Reich did, which most of us can’t, and it doesn’t help Alzheimer’s and lots of disorders in psychiatry that it doesn’t deal with, but in the matters that it does deal with, it has an effect like no other therapy”. (#6)

    The theory of armoring and the need to resolve it for successful treatment of the patient is evident in the aforementioned case of the waiter who did not improve even though the unconscious roots of his neurotic symptoms became conscious. As the reader may recall, the waiter discovered the unconscious root of his impotence, but he maintained his rigid attitude and passive demeanor. Consequently, he did not allow his feelings to surface. After 3 years of psychoanalysis, he accepted the results of the analysis without any protest as he had accepted everything else in his life. His character armor was intact and actively functioning throughout his psychoanalytic sessions without his or his analyst’s awareness. His character structure thus caused and maintained his neurotic symptoms.

    In orgonomy, armor is defined as the organism’s defense mechanism, consisting of emotional and physical rigidity, sometimes expressed by chronic muscle spasms, and functioning as a defense against the expression of emotions, primarily anxiety, rage, and sexual excitation. (#7) Armoring develops while a child interacts with his or her environment. The anti-sexual mores and authoritarian upbringing of children, prevalent in most cultures around the word, are the main cause of armoring and thus restrict the character in children and adolescents, inhibiting
    natural drives and impulses.

    Schematically, the process of armoring is as follows:

    From the book, “Character Analysis” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. (#8)

    The primary and natural drives are prohibited by the outer world. Under prolonged prohibition of these natural drives, the primary drive force dissociates and part of it turns against itself; consequently, psychological and physical armoring sets in. Schematically, it is depicted below.

    Id = Defense and change of function

    C = Armoring and structural lack of contact

    From the book, “Character Analysis” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. (#8)

    Children initially protest the inhibitions that are imposed on them by crying and throwing temper tantrums, but eventually they submit to the pressure for their survival and adjust. Part of them identifies with the oppressor and eventually they become the oppressor themselves and an enemy of anyone who expresses the wishes for which they had once longed. The orgonomic model of a healthy unarmored organism is the depicted as below.

    Schematic depiction of psychological structure based on orgonomic theories (core, middle layer, and outer layer). (#9)

    Diagram depicting basic functions in an armored organism. The inhabitation of primary impulses produces secondary impulses and anxiety.(#10)

    Once the organism becomes armored, the primary impulses that are natural—rational love, natural sexuality, rational anger and rational hate—become distorted. Armoring thus changes a person’s behavior and demeanor, compelling the person to act involuntarily, a behavior that was unfamiliar to him as a child, before the armoring had set in. He does things that he had once hated when he was still healthy and unarmored. Many of my patients have told me, “Doctor, I hated it when my parents were doing this, and I never thought that I would do the same, but I am surprised that I am now doing it to my children.”

    Herskowitz (1993) discussed the changes that armoring causes in human behavior:

    Armoring converts free laughter into a chuckle or twitter; it may cause a woman to speak in a little girl’s voice. It does not merely change a function by degree but by a kind. It renders behavior more predictable, more stereotyped. Armoring puts life in constraint. Armoring is most often revealed in muscular tension but it is also revealed in eyes that are glazed, in excessive body fat, etc. [Armoring] is a dynamic event and it entails the consumption of energy. It constrains us physically, emotionally, and ideationally. It is a cocoon to which we gradually become accustomed. (#11)

    While the human psychological structure model in psychoanalysis is based on the psychoanalytic theories of “conscious” and “unconscious” or “id, ego, and superego”, the model in orgonomy is based on the core, middle layer, and outer layer. Reich described this model as follows:

    On the surface layer of his personality, the average man is reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible, and conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were directly connected with the deep, natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case. The surface layer of social cooperation is not connected with the deep biological core of one’s selfhood: It is borne of a second, intermediate layer, consisting exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious and envious impulses. It represents the Freudian “unconscious” or “what is repressed.” To put it in the language of sex-economy 2, it represents the sum total of all so-called “secondary drives”. (#12)

    Secondary drives, as mentioned earlier, are distorted and perverted byproducts of natural drives that develops as a consequence of armoring. The concept of secondary drives is specific to Orgonomy (See diagram depicting basic function in armored organism).

    While psychoanalytic treatment of neurosis is based on free association and its goal is making the unconscious conscious, in psychiatric orgone therapy, the treatment is designed to dissolve the armor, liberate the energy encrusted in it, and restore the natural flow of biological energy. Dissolution of the armor brings about fundamental changes in the patient’s behavior that are quite impressive. The elimination of the armor restores the natural flow of energy throughout the body from the center to the periphery and restores the orgastic potency. The treatment technique for dissolution of character armor is thus called “character analysis”.

    In character analytic technique, the most important considerations are the patient’s demeanor and behavior; whereas in psychoanalysis the focus is on the content of the patient’s statements, i.e., what the patient is saying. Once the patient becomes aware of his idiosyncratic behaviors, he will likely recognize the defensive function of that behavior. For instance, one of my patients’ was unable to open his eyes without squinting. When confronted with this specific behavior, he stated, “Doctor, I feel a great deal of shame, and that is why I am unable to open my eyes.” Another patient maintained a constant smile during most of our sessions. After I pointed out that she was smiling while describing an emotionally painful event in her life, she understood the significance of her facial expression and explained, “Doctor, I’ve hidden my feelings all my life by maintaining a constant smile.” Her smile immediately faded into sadness, tears began falling and she soon broke into sobs. (P-2)

    (P-2) Sex-economy is the body of knowledge within the orgonomy which deals with the economy of the biological energy (orgone energy) in the organism

    A distinction between character analytic technique and psychoanalysis is the emphasis on how a patient says something rather than what he says. Words can lie, but behaviors and attitudes do not. In psychoanalysis, for example, it is common to interpret the verbal material as the patient speaks; however, in character analysis, we do not necessarily follow that pattern because by experience we know that as long as the patient’s demeanor, behavior, and attitude remain untouched and intact (i.e., as long as the armor is in place), the therapist’s interpretation will, at best, give the patient an intellectual understanding of his symptoms but no relief from them. Thus, the symptoms will persist, as described earlier in the case of the waiter. In contrast, character analysis brings unexpected, intense changes in patients. Reich provided the following examples:

    Quite spontaneously, the patients began to experience the moralistic attitude of the world around them as something alien and peculiar. No matter how tenaciously they might have defended premarital chastity beforehand, now they experience this demand as grotesque. Such demands no longer had any relevance for them; they became indifferent to them. Their attitudes toward their work changed. If they had previously worked mechanically, not demonstrating any real interest, and had considered their work a necessary evil which one takes upon oneself without giving it much thought, now they became discriminating ….

    The change in the sexual sphere was just as pronounced. Patients who had felt no qualms about going to prostitutes became incapable of doing so….Wives who had patiently endured living with unloving husbands and had submitted to the sexual act out of “marital obligation” could no longer do so. They simply refused; they had had enough. (#13)

    Discovery of character armor and its treatment technique character analysis has a deeper biological base. The demeanor and the behavior, the tone of speech and muscular attitude of the patient, muscular contractions etc. reflect a physical state which its manifestations are the character of the patient that we are able to observe on the surface, in the realm of psychology. Chronic muscular and physical attitude of the body inevitably brings changes to the tissues. Body and psyche in the depth are connected with each other and in orgonomy their relationship is depicted as the following schema.

    From the book, “Function of Orgasm” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. (#14)

    Currently, neither medical nor psychiatric professionals deeply understand the relationship between psyche and soma partly due to their lack of familiarity with orgonomic theories. Therefore, they are unable to treat psychosomatic illnesses. Psychiatry textbooks that discuss these topics usually start with the promising idea that psyche and soma are inseparable entities, but as one continues to read, he soon discovers that the author is, in fact, discussing two distinct entities, psyche here and soma there. Consequently, current psychiatric suggestions for treating psychosomatic illnesses are vague and ultimately confusing and ineffective.

    In treating psychiatric patients, doctors often encounter patients with psychological symptoms who are also suffering from physical symptoms without any detectable medical reason. For instance, patients with high levels of anxiety often suffer from shortness of breath, pressure on the chest, contraction of the throat, feeling of suffocation, gastrointestinal symptoms, and skin disorders such as rashes or itching and so on. These somatic sensations can, at times, reach delusional proportions. Because of this experience, a patient might see a number of physicians, and he may subject himself to many unnecessary tests to no avail.

    One instance of psychosomatic response is describe in detail by Reich in 1933:

    I treated a man who offered considerable resistance to the uncovering of his passive homosexual fantasies. This resistance was overtly expressed in the extreme stiffness in his throat and neck (“stiff neck”). A concentrated attack on his defense finally caused him to yield, though in an alarming way. For three days he was shaken by acute manifestations of vegetative shock. The pallor of his face changed rapidly from white to yellow to blue. His skin was spotted and mottled. He experienced violent pains in the neck and back of the head. His heartbeat was rapid and pounding. He had diarrhea, felt tired, and seemed to have lost control. I was uneasy. True, I had often seen similar symptoms, but never in such a violent form. Something had happened here that, while somehow a legitimate part of the work, was not immediately intelligible. Affects [emotions] had broken through somatically after the patient had relinquished his attitude of psychic defense. Apparently the stiff neck, which emphasized austere masculinity, had bound vegetative energies [bio-sexual energy] which now broke loose in an uncontrolled and chaotic manner. A person with an ordered sexual economy [healthy and natural sexual function] is not capable of such a reaction. Only continuous inhibition and damming-up of biological energy can produce it. The musculature has served the function of inhibition. When the neck muscles relaxed, powerful impulses, as if unleashed from a taut coil, broke through. (#15)

    Treating a patient’s psychological symptoms by recognizing and treating corresponding somatic manifestations has been an advancement in psychiatry and psychology. This connection between the psyche and soma in humans and higher animals is controlled by the vegetative nervous system, also referred to as the autonomic nervous system, which functions automatically , involuntarily. For instance, the pulse or heartbeat in higher animals as well as in humans is controlled by the vegetative nervous system. Understanding this connection prompted Reich to transcend treating physical and psychological symptoms separately. Instead, he began to treat patients by considering both psychological and physical symptoms as an interrelated entity, an approach that he referred to as vegetotherapy. By comprehending emotional armoring and its connection to physiological conditions, orgonomists comprehend the depth of psychological symptoms that are anchored in the body. Psychological symptoms can only be fundamentally changed if the physical roots in the somatic realm are also changed. Otherwise, the changes are superficial and often only provide a patient with an intellectual understanding of symptoms that continue to persist.

    The combination of character analysis and vegetotherapy is referred to as psychiatric orgone therapy. The application of vegetotherapy, described by both Reich and Herskowitz in the book of emotional armoring, brings about impressive, observable changes. Clinicians may become inclined to use a vegetotherapeutic approach more often than character-analytic approach . However, Reich advised that both be used alternately depending on the patient’s response since s/he may respond better to one approach at one point in therapy and the other at another point. (#16)

    The dissolution of character armor and its corresponding muscular, physical armor, releases emotions embedded in the armor. Consequently, doctors may observe patients expressing intense emotions such as sadness, crying, anger, or fear. At times, doctors may also see unexpected episodes of laughter, often resulting from patient’s sense of relief from the armor that had constricted the patient with painful feelings of irrational fear and anxiety throughout their lives. In such episodes, one can observe a period of elation in patients whose laughter may last for an unexpected period of time. Dissolution of the armor often is accompanied with revival of distant and forgotten memories that are attached to these feelings. Dissolution of the armor ultimately improves the flow of biological energy that has otherwise been blocked or distorted. Often, these distorted impulses manifest themselves as secondary motives which were described earlier. At times, patients are aware of these strange, irrational impulses. Secondary motives evaporate and disappear by dissolution of the armor. For example, a distorted sexual impulses contaminated with sadistic impulses evaporates and disappears not because the patient continues to suppress the expression of these impulses but because the energy source of it cease to exist and consequently the impulses disappear altogether. Everyone knows that it is far superior not to have a sadistic impulse than to have one and suppress it. In essence, dissolving one’s armor enables patients to function well by expressing primary impulses without distortion. As such, these patients attain a sense of morality that is self-regulated.

    While Reich provided some explanation and description of the technique psychiatric orgone therapy in The Function of Orgasm and Character Analysis, Herskowitz, Reich’s last student, describes this therapeutic approach in detail in his book Emotional Armoring. (#17)

    The biological energy which often was mentioned in this article has a central importance in orgonomy. Its source is considered to be autonomic ganglions, mostly concentrated in the lower abdominal area, solar plexus, and hypogastric and lumbosacral plexus. This assumption was supported in the experiment done in 1961. (#18)

    The initiation and propagation of this energy is depicted in the following diagram. (#19)

    The basic functions of the vegetative nervous system. From book, “Function of Orgasm” by Wilhelm Reich. (#19)

    The concept of biological energy was first postulated by Freud, who had observed human psychological functioning and could explain certain phenomena only by acknowledging the existence of an energy, which he termed libido energy. While Freud’s followers and students began to dilute or ultimately abandon this concept, Reich recognized its fundamental importance and began to expand on it; he called it orgone energy and demonstrated its’ function in the living organism. Thereafter, he designed instruments that physically accumulated this energy and manifested its effect. (P-3)

    (P-3) For further knowledge in this subject the reader is referred to the books by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, “Function of Orgasm, “Cancer Biopathy”, “Ether, God, Devil”, “Bion Experiments” and so on.

    The discovery of emotional and physical armoring and the theory of orgasm has far-reaching effects in medicine, psychiatry, biology and sociology, for if psychological symptoms are rooted in the body and one’s psychological state corresponds to changes and distortions in the body tissues, then one can assume that some physical illnesses are a consequence of armoring as well. In fact, contemporary physicians and psychiatrists acknowledge the relationship between the psyche and the soma, evidenced in physical disorders such as cancer, asthma, gastrointestinal and dermatological illnesses as well as immunological deficiencies. And Reich discussed this psychosomatic relationship in the book “Cancer Biopathy”.

    The term biopathies refers to all disease processes caused by a basic dysfunction in the autonomic [vegetative] life apparatus. Once started, this dysfunction can manifest itself in a variety of symptomatic disease patterns. A biopathy can result in carcinoma (carcinomatous biobathy), but it can just as easily lead to angina pectoris, asthma, cardiovascular hypertension, epilepsy, catatonic or paranoid schizophrenia, anxiety neurosis, multiple sclerosis, chorea, chronic alcoholism, etc. We are still ignorant of the function that determines the direction in which a biopathy will develop. Of prime importance to us, however, is the common denominator of all these diseases: a disturbance in the natural function of the pulsation”. (#20)

    Understanding emotional and physical armoring has illuminated the concept of psychosomatic illnesses, transcending the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry and entering the spheres of physiology and biology. Once the concept of emotional armoring is fully understood, we will understand its causes as well as its social and cultural ramifications. If children are to be raised as healthy individuals as ordained by nature or God, then social and cultural institutions that cause emotional armoring should ultimately be changed, for these institutions cause armoring and emotional and physical illnesses en masse.

    Neurosis in the individual is not always manifested in disturbing, torturous symptoms that torments the patient inflicted with it. These individuals may live less productive lives due to anxiety, depression, obsession and compulsions, or phobias. However, distorted impulses caused by armoring can also manifest themselves as sadistic impulses that harm others. In ogonomy such impulses are referred to as an emotional plague, and those afflicted create leaders who cause catastrophes like war and genocide. Thus, recognizing and ceasing the epidemy of armoring will inevitably create social and cultural change. Preventing armoring therefore becomes an important goal of orgonomy, transcending the spheres of psychology and medicine and impacting the social and cultural domains.

    Like any other institution that combats armoring and emotional plague, institutions promoting orgonomy are vulnerable to destructive attacks from both outside and from within. But this vulnerability should not dissuade us from teaching and promoting Reich’s scientific foundation of orgonomy. I end this article with Reich’s advice to his students to persist in the discovery of scientific truth without compromise:

    The scientist is duty-bound to preserve the right of freely expressing his opinions under all circumstances, and not to abandon this privilege to the advocates of the suppression of life. There is so much talk about the soldier’s duty to give his life for his country and there is too little mention of the scientist’s duty to defend, under all circumstances, what has been recognized to be true, no matter the cost” (#21).

    Please Donate

     

    If you benefited from this article, please help to preserve and promote Wilhelm Reich’s legacy by donating any amount. Your contribution is tax deductible and will be used to help orgonomy institutes including Wilhelm Reich’s museum and infant trust.

    $
    Select Payment Method
    Personal Info

    Credit Card Info
    This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
    Billing Details

    Donation Total: $5.00

    References

    1. Reich, W. (1973). Function of orgasm, 2nd Edition, translated by Vincent R. Carfagno (Page 35) – Original edition was published in 1942.
    2. Ibid (Page 84).
    3. Ibid (Page 85).
    4. Ibid (Page 102).
    5. Ibid (Page 100).
    6. Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy
    7. Orgonomy Glossary Selected Writings, and Introduction of Orgonomy Chester M. Raphael M.D. 1973.
    8. Reich, Wilhelm Character Analysis 1972.Third and Enlarged Edition (Page 299) – original edition was published in 1945.
    9. Reich, Wilhelm Ether, God, and Devil (Page 120) – original edition was published in 1949.
    10. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Second Edition (Page 294) – original edition was published in 1942.
    11. Excerpts from Dr. Herskowitz lecture in Germany December 1993. Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. https://www.psychorgone.com.
    12. Reich, Wilhelm Mass Psychology of Fascism 1970. Third Edition Revised and Enlarged (Page XI) – original edition was published in 1946.
    13. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Second Edition (Page 175) – original edition was published in 1942.
    14. Ibid (Page 266).
    15. Ibid (Page 269).
    16. Ibid (Page 330).
    17. Morton Herskowitz D.O. 1997 Emotion armoring, and introduction to psychiatric orgone therapy.
    18. Zamiatine, N. (1961). Electrophysiological analysis of excitation conduction through ganglia of the solar plexus. Journal of physiology of USSR. 47(6), 1-8.
    19. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Second Edition (Page 293).
    20. Reich, Wilhelm Cancer Biopathy the Carcinomatous Shrinking “Definition of Biopathies”. 1973, (Page 151) – original edition was published in 1947.
    21. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Introductory Survey (Page 16) – original edition was published in 1942.

     

    Posted in Biopathies & Physical Orgone TherapyComments (2)

    From Psychoanalysis to Vegetotherapy


    I first got interested in Wilhelm Reich in 1962 when I read The Function of the Orgasm, and in 1963 I started therapy with someone trained by Dr. Reich, someone known to people in this room, Dr. Victor Sobey. So I was familiar with the material, but I took a break from it for a long time. There was a period of my life when I felt knowing this stuff was useless, there was nothing I could do with it except weed my own garden and I was doing that. But in 2004, I got reenergized and for the last few years I’ve been working on a book on Reich’s social and political thought. It is that material which I’ve mostly spoken on in the past. Today I’m going to branch out a little bit.

    I have a Ph.D. in philosophy from NYU, so we’re going to start with a philosophy class. There are four philosophical commitments that Wilhelm Reich manifests in his work. I would like to say a few words about each of them.

    Reich was a naturalist. What this means is that he had a commitment to the belief that what is natural is good. In fact, he didn’t think you really needed to teach morality or teach people to do the right thing. He felt that if people were not interfered with, they would naturally do the right thing, and what they would do would be a good thing. So for example, with children his belief in self regulation wasn’t just about eating and sleeping; it was also about their interaction with other children. If the kids had not been emotionally and sexually repressed, they would naturally do the right thing. What is natural is good for Reich, but what is not natural is not only bad but also irrational. Here’s a quote from Reich Speaks of Freud. I went back and reread this carefully because I’m talking about psychoanalysis; this is the book where Reich is reflecting on his relationship with Freud. So if you haven’t read this book it’s a really interesting book. Basically, half of the book is an interview that Reich gave to Kurt Eisler to be stored in the Freud archive.

    “If you have a stream, a natural stream you must let it stream. If you dam it up somewhere it goes over the banks. That’s all. Now when the natural streaming of the bio-energy, is dammed up it also spills over, resulting in irrationality, perversions neuroses and so on. What do you have to do to correct this? You must get the stream back into its normal bed and let it flow naturally again.”

    So you here the word “natural” being used and the assumption that, if it’s flowing naturally that everything is fine, and it’s only when it gets dammed up and when you move away from what’s “natural” that problems occur. This puts Reich on a direct collision course with Freud as we will see, because Freud as you may know believed that repression of sexuality was absolutely necessary. It was necessary because the young child was polymorphous perverse, it was also necessary because he felt civilization was impossible without the damming up or what he called the sublimation of sexual energy.

    It’s interesting that Freud’s clearest statement of this is in the book Civilization and its Discontents. The last time Reich spoke in Freud’s inner circle was Thursday, December 12th, 1929, when he spoke of the prevention of neurosis. (The next night Reich caused a riot, and you’ll hear more about this in the third talk of the day.) It is in this book that Freud discusses at length the necessity for repression in society; and in Reich Speaks of Freud, Reich claims that Freud wrote Civilization is response to what Reich said about the prevention of neurosis in December, 1929.

    In any case, It’s clear that there is a big difference between Freud and Reich on this issue of what’s “natural.”

    Now there’s a related concept that’s not philosophical but there was a movement in Europe called Naturism. Naturism is this notion that being exposed to the sun is very good. It gave rise to nude sunbathing in a very popular way, not at all in the way it sometimes gets translated in more repressive cultures like ours, like how the nude beach is hard to find. Naturism was about getting out into the woods, etc, etc. There’s this great picture of Reich with Elsa and Eva and they are stripped to the waist dancing on the beach, and there are these wonderful pictures of Reich sitting and you have the impression from the way he’s sitting that he himself is probably naked, etc. That’s different from Naturalism. So I think this movement of Naturism which was very popular in Europe may explain the easy move towards having patients disrobe. Having patients disrobe, which he stared around 1937 or 38, was not such a big deal in Europe the way in this country–you’re going to jail, you’re abusing your patients, you’re doing this terrible stuff. Naturism is different from naturalism; naturism is about going out into nature and taking off your clothes. Naturalism is this whole notion that what is natural is good.

    Reich is also a materialist. That is, he clearly believes that there are no disembodied psychic entities, there’s no such thing as a mind, there’s no such thing as a soul. Whatever psychological entities we talk about, like thoughts, emotions, and feeling, he had a philosophical commitment to the belief that those were instantiated in some physical way, even if we didn’t know quite how they were instantiated. That is for Reich, and he ultimately comes to believe this, psyche and soma are one, they are just two different ways of thinking about one thing. You know the famous orgonomic symbol (you have it on your schedule today), you see these two arrows pointing at each other. Well you can put psyche and soma on those two antithetical but nonetheless identical beings or aspects of the underlying reality. This means that if you recognize something on a psychological level, for example characterological armor, he had to believe that this would be manifested physically somehow. And he eventually develops this concept of muscular armor. He came to believe that when working with patients you could work either way, you could work characterologically, or you could work on the musculature, but you would be working on one and the same thing: it’s not like there two different things, they are just two different ways of working on the one thing.

    In any case, he was a materialist. Next he was a rationalist, and this is more complicated. It combines with his naturalism; as I said earlier for Reich, what is natural is also rational, and what is irrational is unnatural. Reich believed that there was a rational universe the secrets of which one could come to understand, could uncover through scientific investigation. He had certain fundamental commitments, for example he believed that if two things appeared the same, there was probably a reason that would explain it and thus he draws incredible analogies between the formation of galaxies and the formation of hurricanes. etc… He also talks as if he’s an instrument of the logic of his discoveries. It’s funny language, let me read it, it’s from The Function of the Orgasm; “Everything owes its existence to the remarkable course of scientific logic. It is not false modesty when I say that I feel myself to be merely an instrument to thislogic.”

    That language could be very confusing or sound mystical. Like someone or something is guiding Reich, but he’s not saying that. He’s just saying that he was following this thread, and that lead him to great inferences, but there was a logic to the world and a logic to his uncovering the world. He’s also a rationalist in the sense that he has certain fundamental commitments such as this notion of antithetical aspects being at the heart one, so you have two things like sexuality and anxiety they seem antithetical, but they are both expressions of life energy, and the life energy can either express one way or another, so beneath the antithetical there’s a unity, and that’s almost a direct quote from Reich. This is a quote; “Out of a unitary force a splitting, an antithesis develops, that is my way of thinking about natural scientific things.” Well that’s what I’m calling a rationalist commitment which he then has to instantiate empirically, he has to get out and do the work.

    And finally he was an empiricist. From everything I’ve heard, Reich was incredibly intuitive as a therapist; he was brilliant that way and I think also intuitive about the universe. He might attributed that to his contact-fullness or to his orgonomic sense, but what ever intuitions he had, they then needed to be substantiated empirically. He was a scientist.

    I want to now move to the relationship between Freud and Reich and then I’ll turn to the movement from psychoanalysis to vegetotherapy. First, both Freud and Reich were natural scientists. Freud’s laboratory was the treatment room initially in hospitals and then later in his own private treatment room and then his incredible intellect; he just read a lot and synthesized a lot. Reich’s laboratory was the private treatment room, the clinic, because in addition to working in Freud’s free clinics he started his own clinics in Vienna in 1929, the streets because he was in the streets, the political organizations he belonged to and his non-political organizations, but eventually the laboratory. And of course his great intellect; he also read a lot and synthesized a lot.

    In terms of the sciences relevant to both Freud and Reich, Freud was very much interested in chemistry and the biology of his day, he even considered at one point that psychology could be put on a neurological basis. Some of you may know The Project for a Scientific Psychology, that he wrote in 1895; it was never published in his life. All this is discussed at length in Frank Sulloway’s book, Freud: Biologist of the Mind. He was very much interested in evolutionary biology, Freud that is.

    Reich read widely on chemistry, physics, biology and when he comes to the U.S. he develops orgone biophysics, but that’s beyond our talk today– we’re going to stay in Europe. They were both materialists. Freud never doubted for a second that there was some physical basis to libido, that there was some physical basis to the unconscious, etc..He just didn’t know exactly what it was, he looked various places. Neither Freud nor Reich believed that there was such a thing as a mind trapped inside the body or that it could somehow live beyond the body except maybe through their works. (There was a guy in Germany who makes accumulators who insisted that for years he was channeling Reich, he would go into séances and speak to Reich. Well he didn’t agree with Reich because Reich was clearly a materialist.) Though there were some points at the very end of his life when Reich said things that sounded potentially mystical, but I don’t see him as a mystic.

    Both Freud and Reich focused on human irrationality in a variety of ways. For Freud the focus was on the neurotic symptoms, for Reich it was more character structure, etc. They were both therapists, and they used a variety of therapeutic modalities. Freud used cocaine initially. He then studied with Charcot in France and became interested in hypnosis, so he then used hypnosis. Later he hears of this incredible case from his friend Breuer about this poor young women Anna O. and she in fact says what went on between them was a “talking cure”, and out of that grows psychoanalysis. So he moves from cocaine to psychoanalysis.

    Reich also was a therapist who used different modalities. Reich started as a psychoanalyst as you know: his therapeutic mode was initially psychoanalytic though he quickly adapted psychoanalysis into what can be called character analysis, and then developed this embodied form of therapy which came to be known as vegetotherapy. But they were both therapists using a variety means and a variety of modalities.

    If you read the book Freud: Biologist of the Mind, you can see clearly that Freud assumed that there was some physical basis for all this stuff. But there’s a difference between believing there’s a physical basis of something but then what kind of explanation do you use. Let me give you a quick example. It’s actually from my Ph.D. dissertation; you can go to NYU and read it. I’m going to bend over. When I did that, certain muscles tensed certain muscles relaxed, neurons fired, so you could explain what I did from a purely physiological level, but you can also explain it psychological, why did he do this, he was looking at his shoes, he wanted to greet his Japanese business partner and was showing respect, he was stretching his lower back… In other words, you could explain what I did in a variety of ways, but clearly what I did was a physical thing. Thus Freud offered psychological or psychoanalytic explanations for human behavior, but he certainly believed that beneath them or behind them was some physical reality even if he didn’t know what that reality was.

    In this first talk, I’m going to focus just on therapy, I’m not going to talk about Reich’s problems with the psychoanalytic organization, I’m not going to talk about the history of that, I just want to focus on therapy.

    One key feature is the existence of infantile sexuality. A second key feature is repression. Freud wrote a book called, The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, and in this book he said “repression is the corner stone on which the whole of psychoanalysis rests.” Originally Freud believed that all neurosis were sexual in origin; Reich never gave that belief up. Freud does eventually when he introduces the concept of a death instinct that might explain human behavior, but originally, Freud and Reich were on the same page about the sexual origin of all neurosis. For Freud, we live in a culture where the repression of that sexual energy or libido is necessary, and this gives rise to an unconscious which often motivates our beliefs and actions and this unconscious has it’s own kind of language and reveals itself often symbolically. So through the use of free association to get past the censor, dream analysis, slips of the tongue, etc., the psychoanalyst interprets or looks at what the patient is saying and comes to understand the hidden meaning, and through this, the coded language of the unconscious. For example, as I recall, if you have a dream about a train, that’s always about sex. There are these standard kind of symbolic elements. You try to bring the unconscious to consciousness and hopefully when that occurs, the client has some kind of emotional expression, some kind of emotional release, abreaction, and then the symptom is diminished, that’s sort of psychoanalysis in four minutes. Takes a little longer to learn it and to practice it.

    As for Reich’s relationship to psychoanalysis, Reich was born in 1897, so in 1918 he’s 21. He’s in the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He develops psoriasis and is given a furlough and goes to Vienna to get treated for his psoriasis. He’s in Vienna when it’s clear that the war is over, and while still a soldier because he was never formally removed, he enters the University. The University had an arrangement where if you are a veteran you could do courses in a less time consuming way. He enters law school, quickly decides that that’s not for him, then enters the medical school and almost immediately starts practicing psychoanalysis. In those days you didn’t have to go through formal training, you would do it and then consult with your therapist. So he starts doing psychoanalysis while he’s a medical student. Reich’s major contributions to psychoanalysis
    The first contribution was the movement from symptom to character structure, and this shows up in his very first book. The first book that Reich publishes is in 1925, The Impulsive Character, and in the introduction, let me read a sentence, this translation is by Dr. Koblenzer. This is Reich in 1925: “For a long time, psychoanalysis has not been a merely symptomatic treatment, rather it has consistently been evolving into a therapy of the character. This technical change dates from Freud’s first realization that what is essential in the analytic work does not consist of guessing the unconscious meaning of the symptom and communicating it to the patient but a detecting and removing resistances.” It’s interesting he attributes this to Freud, but actually Reich continues to focus on resistance, and if you think about resistance, that’s something that underlies the symptom, and that’s how he saw the resistance. There was a characterological way of resisting life energy that gives rise to the symptom, but Reich begins to see the importance of character structure as opposed to symptomology as early as 1925.

    Here’s a quote from Reich speaks of Freud where Reich is looking back on psychoanalysis, he says “You see in the psychoanalysis of the early 20’s, the neuroses or the neurotic symptom was considered to be something sick in an otherwise healthy organism. That was the idea then. It was my character analysis which introduced the basic concept that the character structure is ill or sick while the neurosis, the neurotic symptom, is only an outgrowth of a general characterological condition.”

    It’s very interesting, there’s this interesting parallel between symptom and character structure like the symptom is a growth of the deeper character structure. It is analogous to Reich’s later work on cancer, where the cancer tumor is a symptom of a deeper pathology. In any case, there is an interesting parallel you see between saying that the tumor is an outer symptom of a deeper illness and in saying the neurotic symptom is one sign of a deeper characterological structure. In any case you have Reich’s movement from symptom to character.

    The second contribution is Reich’s continued focus on resistance. This is very important because one of the things that Reich quickly observed is that while you could bring the unconscious material to consciousness–the patient can recall “the primal scene” (“Oh I remember now when the dog bit me”), but if there was no emotion, there would be no relief from the neurotic symptom–there had to be an emotional expression. So what was getting in the way? Well the resistance to giving in to the emotions. So Reich just kept focusing on the resistance, and that was also one of the roots of later vegetotherapy. What do I need to do to get this person capable of expressing emotion, if for example, their chest is constricted or something else is getting in the way of their expression.

    So you have the movement from symptom to character structure, you have the focus on resistance, and then of course Reich felt it was incredibly important to focus on the negative transference, that is, all of the ways in which the therapist in the eyes of the patient becomes the abusing parent or whatever. Most of my time in therapy with a certain therapist who will remain nameless involves hating his guts and trying to kill him. And that’s the negative transference part. (He and I’ve come to a reconciliation; I only mildly loath him now.) So that’s Reich’s contribution to psychoanalysis. To the body The movements of the body has three major players. First there is Sandor Ferenczi, a Hungarian. He was part of the original circle of Freud’s, dismissed by Jones of being mentally ill. I don’t know if he had any basis for that dismissal, but then the use of the phrase “mentally ill” for people in that circle was pretty liberal. As you know it was used to describe Reich. So Ferenczi is one of the sources. Another source is a name that may be new to you and that’s Elsa Gindler, and then the third source is Elsa Lindenberg.

    Reich refers to Ferenczi in The Function of the Orgasm. Reich says, “Ferenczi was that talented and outstanding person who was perfectly aware of the sad state of affairs in therapy. He looked for a solution in the somatic sphere and developed an “active” technique directed at the somatic tension states but he did not know of stasis neuroses and failed to take the orgasm theory seriously.”

    In 1928, Otto Fenichel, Reich’s good friend at the time, wrote an article called, “Organ Libidinization Accompanying the Defense Against Drives.” In it he summarizes all the ways in which people have hinted at a muscular basis for neuroses. This is as early as 1928, and Ferenczi was the main person Fenichel is summarizing in this article.

    Obviously Reich read what Fenichel had read, so he knew this literature; moreover it’s inconceivable he didn’t read this article by his then close friend, Fenichel (a friendship which disappears some years later. I just want to call your attention to some aspects of this article. This is Fenichel about Ferenczi: “In the study of the organic phenomena accompanying instinctual conflicts of the psychic apparatus, Ferenczi talked about what he called “pleasure physiology.” He observed that with progress in the analysis and the consequent resolution of psychic tension, the somatic tensions may also vanish.” So he’s beginning to see some correlation between musculature and psychoneuroses. This is again quoting from Ferenczi in the Fenichel article: “Sometimes we find it necessary to call the patients attention to his bearing, the tensions of his musculature, and through this to some extent to mobilize him. As a result, he usually begins to talk about something that was hidden or unconscious.” And he actually used “relaxation” exercises. Ferenczi also came out from behind the couch. You know in the classic psychoanalysis the patient is lying and the therapist is back here sleeping or texting, writing letters.

    Ferenczi had the therapist sitting right next to the patient and he saw therapy as much more of a collaborative effort between patient and therapist, so you see a lot the roots of what later becomes standard in Reich’s therapy is in Ferenczi’s work. And maybe it’s no accident that Jones, who from all that I’ve learn was one of the most rigid, uptight Britishers, dismissed Ferenczi as being mentally ill. (Jones’ behavior in regards to Reich was just unbelievably lacking in integrity. But that’s another story.)

    One of the things that Ferenczi noted was a pelvic block; he said, this is again Ferenczi’s observation, “The most extreme degrees of cramp occur in the musculature of the pelvis.” An observation which is in agreement with the fact that what succumbs to repression is in the main representative of sexual drive. So Ferenczi is seeing all this stuff but he never develops a therapy around it. But he’s making these observations. If you’ve read Reich or if you’ve been in therapy, this whole idea of a pelvic block being very important. There’s two other names I want to quote. One is Vilma Kovacs, another Hungarian psychoanalyst. In a 1925, Kovacs says, “The continuing spasm of her [that is, a patient’s] total skeletal musculature served the purpose of maintaining and hiding sexual excitement.” So here is the insight that not only is psychoneuroses manifested muscularly but it has to do with sex, it has to do with a way of binding up sexual excitation. Again this will become incredibly important to Reich’s therapy. Also Felix Deutsch had talked about somatic health: he said it “means, in the psychoanalytic sense, freedom from pathologically bound organ libido.” So you see all of these fascinating things. Sometimes people think Reich was a genius, which he was, but he didn’t make this stuff up, he was a very smart reader. He absorbed and took in so many different things, and out came his unique therapy. I really encourage you to someday read this Fenichel article. Now Reich clearly read all of this.

    Now movement therapy. This woman Elsa Gindler who I mentioned a moment ago, and that may be a new name to some of you, she developed a form of therapeutic movement and breath. She like Reich suffered at one point from TB. I don’t know if you’re aware that both Reich’s father and brother died of tuberculosis, and Reich himself got tuberculosis early in 1927; he went to Davos where he finished writing The Function of the Orgasm, the first one. While she was curing herself from tuberculosis she made observations about breath, and the way movement could facilitate breath. So that’s Elsa Gindler. Now she wasn’t doing this out of yoga, she was doing it this with her own body.

    When Fenichel moved to Berlin in 1922 (I don’t know what took him to Berlin), a woman named Clara Nathenson who later becomes Clara Fenichel studied with Gindler and apparently Fenichel himself studied with this woman. Apparently when Annie and Wilhelm Reich moved to Berlin in the fall of 1930 (they moved together though there relationship wasn’t too strong) according to Eva Reich (I don’t know if this is correct), Annie studied with Clara, together with Eva. Eva must have been 6 years old, and when they would come home, Reich would always ask questions, what is this thing that you’re doing, what is this movement stuff, so if this is correct Reich is getting this idea through Annie and Eva and through the Fenichels that there is some kind of muscular, there’s a way of addressing this muscular correlation or correlative of neurotic symptomology or neurotic character.

    Mayday, 1932, Reich meets Elsa Lindenburg, who becomes his second “wife;” he never legally married her but she was his wife. She was a dancer, she studied with Laban in Berlin, and he believed in democratizing dance, dance for the masses. He also developed this elaborate notation system for noting the choreographed piece. (He was also a Nazi, but we’ll leave that out.) So you have this sense that perhaps Reich, through his relationship with Elsa, through his learning about this Elsa Gindler, is developing this notion that we can do therapy on this bodily level.

    Indeed, in turn he is influencing Elsa. So Reich leaves for the states in August 1939, Elsa stays behind in Norway, and this was a pretty iffy thing even though she wasn’t Jewish, but she was certainly a communist, and you know the Germans occupied Norway pretty easily and quickly. My buddy, known to some in this room, Bjorn Blumenthal, after the war when Blumenthal entered the University, he took classes with Elsa Lindenberg and it was through taking these classes that he first came to Reich; that’s how he learned about Reich and now he runs the Norwegian Institute of Vegetotherapy– I guess it’s one of the main training institutes in Oslo for new therapists. So his contact with Reich was through Elsa Lindenberg and again this bodily therapy.

    So you have a theoretical commitment, things must be instantiated on the body, you have the influence of Ferenczi and these other people I mentioned, also this notion of breath, and slowly Reich begins to develop this therapy. In 1937 he writes an article about the respiratory block, so he’s already noticing a correlation between the musculature and breathing and the way this is inhibiting the flow of life energy. And by 1938 his patients are disrobing so he can more clearly see the armor, but also call it to their attention perhaps by touching or something of that sort. Reich by the way, I forgot to mention this earlier, was an incredible mimic: he was a very very good actor, so he could play back to his patient their typical facial or bodily expression or something like that to try to make it public. When Neill comes over, Neill and Reich meet in Oslo, Neill comes over in the summers for therapy, he talks about disrobing. So this disrobing begins around 1938, but remember folks were much more casual about nudity than they are in the U.S.

    When Reich first comes to the U.S., he puts out his English language journal, The Journal of Sex Economy and Orgone Research. The first issue occurs in 1942, and the opening article is The History of Our Institute, and in that article he says, “We’re relatively new here, there is as yet no pedagogical group nor anyone doing therapeutic gymnastics.”

    What is this therapeutic gymnastics? Well, the following year, and article appeared in the IJSO, by Lucille Bellamy, and I’ll just read a few paragraphs: “The principles of vegetotherapeutic gymnastics was first worked out by Elsa Lindenberg, a coworker of Dr. Reich’s in Norway, beginning in 1936. Thus although I developed my method independently, during a time I myself underwent vegetotherapy, I am not the first to use such a method.” And then she says, “The underlying principle of vegetotherapy is the establishment of the orgasm reflex. This is also my goal as a teacher of vegetotherapeutic gymnastics, however it would be untrue for me, to assert that orgastic potency may be achieved through gymnastics; it must be plainly understood that I consider such results for my work impossible. It is only through the treatment of the vegetotherapist that orgastic potency is made probable. I consider vegetotherapeutic gymnastics as a correlate of vegatotherapy.” The point here is that Reich recognized the need for or possibility of a correlative to the ongoing therapy in the form of exercises of various sorts, at least at this point.

    My final thing I would like to show you, In Reich Speaks of Freud, there is an article of Reich’s from 1938 where he distinguishes vegetotherapy from psychoanalysis. And you can read it yourself. Where psychoanalysis talks about repression, vegetotherapy talks about vegetative block. Where psychoanalysis talks about sexual origin of neurosis etiology, vegetotherapy talks about the function of the orgasm and emotional disturbances caused by disturbances to this function, etc. So the goal of psychoanalysis is the discovery of unconscious emotional mechanisms, the goal of vegetotherapy is discovering the vegetative physical mechanisms, etc. All of this is in Reich speaks of Freud, I strongly encourage you to read it in that book on pages 270-274.

     

    Dr. Philip W. Bennett Biography:

    Philip W. Bennett, PhD, has a long standing interest in Wilhelm Reich which began in the mid-sixties and included therapy with Dr. Victor Sobey. His main focus these days is on Reich’s social and political thought, in an attempt to understand fully what Reich means by work democracy. His recently published article, “Wilhelm Reich’s Early Writings on Work Democracy: A Theoretical Basis for Challenging Fascism Then and Now,” appears in the current issue of Capitalism. Nature. Socialism. (March, 2010). His article, “The Persecution of the Dr. Wilhelm Reich by the Government of the United States,” appeared in the International Forum of Psychoanalysis, earlier this year (Vol 19, #1, 2010). His article, “Double-Blind Controlled Experiments and the Orgone Energy Accumulator,” will appear in the next issue of the Annals of the Institute of Orgonomic Science. Prof. Bennett has spoken a summer conferences at Orgonon and at one-day conferences in New York City, sponsored by The Institute for the Study of the Work of Wilhelm Reich.

    Posted in HistoryComments (0)


    ME Conference

    Please Donate

    Be part of the progress. Help to preserve and promote Wilhelm Reich’s legacy and his infant trust fund, the best and only hope for peace, health and prosperity of human race. Make financial contributions to promote orgonomy and its institutions. All contributions are tax deductible.

    $
    Select Payment Method
    Personal Info

    Credit Card Info
    This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
    Billing Details

    Donation Total: $5.00

    Subscribe Via Email

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Wilhelm Reich – Founder of Orgone Therapy

    Annals of The Institute for Orgonomic Science (December, 2015)

    Featured Book: My Cancer & the Orgone Box

    Available for purchase via the Magcloud.

    Browse our Archives