Reichian Articles and Related Links
Working with the Body in Psychotherapy from a Reichian Viewpoint
(originally published in the AHP Perspective, June/July 2005)
Dr. Richard Blasband M.D.
The body has assumed greater importance theoretically and practically in the understanding of the individual as a unity and in the conduct of therapy. By therapy I mean here interventions into the cognitive and emotional structure of the individual to provide relief, amelioration, or “cure” of emotional and/or behavioral malfunctions. Most often this takes the form of psychotherapy with or without explicit attention to the body. In psychoanalysis, attention to the body was first significantly noted by Ferenczi (T. Braatoy, Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique, John Wiley, 1954), then practiced by Groddeck (G. Groddeck, The Book of the It, Vintage Books, 1961), but an understanding of the greater depth of the relationship between the mind and the body did not come until the work of Wilhelm Reich and his formulation of characterological and muscular “armoring” (W. Reich, Character Analysis, Orgone Institute Press, 1949). Self-taught students of Reich’s work, such as Alexander Lowen (The Physical Dynamics of Character Structure, Collier, 1971, Bioenergetics, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1957) and Charles Kelley (Editor, Radix Journal, 1978-1980), and others totally independent of Reich, such as F. M. Alexander (E. Maisel, The Alexander Technique, Corel Publishing, 1995) made their own contributions to the field. Today, while these disciplines remain independent in organization and training institutions, they are all pioneers under the umbrella known today as “somatics” or “body-oriented psychotherapy.”
Read the entire article or download a printable copy at: Working with the Body in Psychotherapy.
The Process of Orgone Therapy
Dr. Richard Blasband M.D.
The discovery of muscular armoring in the body by Wilhelm Reich came directly out of his explorations into the character structure of his patients. “Character analysis” was Reich’s seminal contribution to psychoanalytic technique.
In essence, Reich found that by attending strictly and consistently to the form of the patient’s verbal productions rather than their content, he was able to deal more effectively with the patient’s defensive structure and thus penetrate more deeply and surely into the structure of the neurosis. Each patient has a characteristic “way” in which he expressed himself. By focusing on this way, be it a form of repeated or chronic facial expression, of speaking, of holding oneself, of walking, etc., and by repetitively describing to the patient this way, mimicking the patient, and eventually analysis of the behavior regarding its present-day and past functions, patients, after initially venting anger at the therapist for “attacking” them, eventually give in to the softer, yielding emotions against which their defenses protect them. By systematically working on the character of the patient, layer after layer of blocked emotions are released in the therapeutic sessions until, each individual finds that at their “core” they are naturally, healthfully aggressive, responsible, independent, loving, sexual creatures.
Read the entire article or download a printable copy at: The Process of Orgone Therapy.
Inmate Counseling & Therapy: Eight Years Inside San Quentin
by Patricia Frisch Ph.D. and Alan Emery
In 1976, we saw at San Quentin a desperate human services need for both prison staff and inmates. We responded to that need by co-founding Counseling & Training Consultants (CTC), a nonprofit corporation, to provide psychological services for inmates and stress reduction and communication trainings for correctional staff.
Then as now, the focus of prison was predominately custodial. Human services were a low priority and minimally provided. The harsh environment, limited space, and deprived atmosphere, coupled with warring camps of race against race, inmate against staff, and gang against gang, made the need for psychological services acute. Inmates were suffering from depression, acute withdrawal, psychosomatic illnesses and other clinical symptoms. These problems were magnified by drug abuse and addiction. The mandate for longer sentences made the atmosphere tense, full of conflict, hopelessness, and despair.