Climate change is and should be our number one priority. Because it is so difficult to face, we turn the other way; it is too challenging to grasp. We may make small efforts, but they pale in comparison to what is actually needed. It is not a top priority across the globe because winning elections is more important than issues of climate change.
The school shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have horrified us. The death of the children is intolerable! The shootings in Buffalo were an outgrowth of blatant racism. In both shootings, the offenders were 18 and able to procure guns at their young age.
Ukraine is in a phase of the war where it’s faltering as Putin continues to absorb land. These are hard times, it’s difficult to look anywhere in the world and feel encouraged.
Despite all of this we will find resilience in the face of darkness: hopefulness in the face of pain. We will keep our faith in all that is good.
Reich’s Hysterical Character Type
Continuing on with character types from last month, we revisit another blog from June 2014, Reich’s Character Types: The Hysterical Character.
This post continues our discussion of Wilhelm Reich’s schema of character types, with a focus on his Hysterical Character. As I stated in the last post, I will add further types from Object Relations Theory to complete the typology at the end of this series. I will present Reich’s types initially as he delineated them to give you a clear sense of his system and how he evolves the types out of the psycho-sexual developmental stages. I will eliminate some of the extensive elaboration and specificity within his typology so my readers don’t bog down. This post will include historic contextual markers relevant to Reich’s theoretical evolution and the development of this specific character type.
As part of the Genital character which we discussed in the last blog, Reich includes the Hysterical Character type, referenced as: genitality with anxiety as a subset. This diagnosis has roots in ancient history and the Middle Ages where hysteria was discovered and designated as a medical condition thought particular to women. When Sigmund Freud began his seminal work in the field of psychoanalysis, hysteria was at the forefront of his developing understanding that “medical pathologies” can be traced to the mind. Freud’s launching pad was the work of French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, who investigated hysteria in-depth. Serious symptoms like paralysis and fugue states (behaviors displayed, but later not remembered), became an impetus for Freud’s research and he published a series of articles on hysteria and the mental etiology of these conditions. Freud delineated how hysterical symptoms are a conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms, i.e. paralysis, fugue, or selective amnesia. Freud and his student Reich attributed hysterical symptoms, including overdramatic behaviors and emotions, as the unconscious mind’s attempt to protect from psychic disturbance.
Reich’s discussion of the hysteric type is, of course, influenced by the times he lived in. During the period of his mentorship with Freud and after separating from Freud (1918-1934), Reich incorporated Freud’s analytic concept of libido or biological sexual energy and, after years of research, expanded on it and scientifically validated the existence of biological energy. He ultimately named it Orgone Energy. Freud, on the other hand, moved away from his earlier concept of libido and reduced it to a psychic concept without physical basis.