February 26, 2010

Anti-Circumcision Group Needs Help

Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America, has just put out a message about an urgent and time-sensitive opportunity in the war against circumcision. The Massachusetts State Senate will consider the Male Genital Mutilation Bill on March 2nd, this coming Tuesday. If enacted, it would outlaw the genital mutilation of both young girls AND boys in that state.
The deadline is rapidly approaching and Intact America needs your help right now.  They are asking those who oppose circumcision to share their stories, and will make sure these personal testimonials are heard by the Joint Committee on Tuesday. This as a unique opportunity for those who feel strongly about this issue to have their voices heard and influence decision-making.  Whether you or a loved one has been harmed by circumcision, now is the time to give your statement. In fact, Ms. Chapin says anyone who opposes the practice can and should speak up now. 
Intact America has made submitting your testimony for Tuesday’s meeting really easy. Just click the link at the end of this post and you can share your story or opinion via the Intact America site. I will be submitting my testimony in this way and encourage those reading this post who oppose circumcision to do the same. It will only take a few minutes. Submissions must be in before Tuesday. 
As a psychiatrist, I am in the unique position of seeing the emotional devastation that circumcision can cause for those who have undergone this horrific experience. Many still think that if we don’t consciously remember traumatic events from infancy and early childhood, they don’t effect us. I know otherwise. In the course of the unique form of therapy that I practice, long repressed feelings and emotions that result from early painful, traumatic experiences are often relived. I know this is difficult to believe, especially for those who are unfamiliar with this method of treatment, but I have watched men in therapy re-experience their circumcisions, wide-eyed with terror and writhing in pain. There is no mistake about this. The circumcision experience has been locked within them throughout their lives and has adversely effected many aspects of their functioning. Thankfully, with therapy, they are often able to overcome this trauma and lead happier lives.

To submit your testimony click here
In appreciation of blog followers who make their statement to the Massachusetts State Senate, I will send them the first-of-its-kind official “Wilhelm Reich Today” coffee travel mug! The mug says: 
If Not Now--When? 
“Wilhelm Reich Today” 
Just email a note to info@thewilhelmreichcenter.com saying you have submitted your testimony, along with your name and shipping address, and your mug will be sent to you. Unfortunately, due to the cost of shipping, this offer has to be limited to those who live within the contiguous United States. 


Caroline said...

Thank you, Dr. Schwartzman, for telling your truth about this. I am a psychology student, and I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to hear another therapist acknowledge this trauma. I was amazed to discover in school that so many psychology professors will not even discuss this topic.

The best book I ever read on the subject was called "Questioning Circumcision a Jewish Perspective" by Dr. Ron Goldman, Director of the Circumcision Resource Center in Boston.

This is his page

Thank you again for your work.

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. said...

Caroline, thanks for mentioning my book. Some readers of this page may be also interested in my other book, Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma, located at http://www.circumcision.org/cht.htm. We'll be at the hearing in Boston on March 2.

Psychiatric Orgone Therapy

One of Wilhelm Reich’s most important and lasting contributions is a unique treatment for emotional disorders called psychiatric orgone therapy. Reich began as a psychoanalyst and was a member of Freud’s inner circle, but moved away from Freud’s method of free association when he developed a more effective verbal approach he called character analysis. Later he came to recognize the existence of a specific biologic energy in living organisms that he called “orgone,” which was coined from the word “organism.” With this discovery Reich was able to combine his verbal method with a technique that could normalize a person’s energy. The result was an entirely new approach to treating emotional disorders that he named orgone therapy.

Reich’s work with patients convinced him the disturbance in an individual’s energy state is caused by contractions in the body, especially in the musculature. He called these contractions “armor,” and established that they begin to develop in infancy as a way to block out emotionally painful events.

Past traumatic experiences are locked in the body--and they remain throughout life. How this happens is not fully understood, but there is no question that anxiety, anger and sadness, as well as the other upsetting feelings and emotions from childhood are not forgotten. Armor not only holds the disturbing past, causing it to remain alive but out of consciousness awareness, but it also affects how one feels and functions. Because living a natural healthy life depends upon whether a person’s energy flows freely or is blocked, the aim of psychiatric orgone therapy is to free up energy by breaking down armor. As these areas of holding dissolve, patients release their long buried feelings and emotions in the safety of the therapist’s office. They most usually surface spontaneously with the specific method Reich innovated, without the need of urging or any intervention on the part of the treating psychiatrist. However, occasionally, pressure needs to be applied to spastic muscles, or other techniques used to normalize the body. Because this treatment combines a verbal approach with a physical technique, it addresses both the mind and the body to bring about profound changes in how one thinks, feels and functions.

Today almost all people seeking treatment from a psychiatrist are given medications to reduce their symptoms. However, with psychiatric orgone therapy it is usual that patients, over time, find themselves able to wean themselves off medication and function without pharmacologic treatment. Reich’s therapy is unique in that it not only relieves distressing symptoms, but also does much more. It enables individuals to expand and feel pleasure, and better enjoy the many satisfactions life has to offer.

There are people who claim to practice some form of “Reichian” or “orgone” therapy, even though they have had no formal training in medicine or psychology. Often the techniques used by these self-proclaimed therapists have little or nothing to do with the very specific methods Reich developed and taught. The value of such therapies is questionable and may even harm those who get involved in them.

Qualified psychiatric orgone therapists have extensive training. They are physicians who have gone on to specialize in psychiatry and then in the very unique subspecialty of orgone therapy. They practice in much the same way as Reich did more than a half century ago. Ph.D. Psychologists who have had proper training can practice a form of orgone therapy safely and effectively. However, it is crucial they have supervision by a qualified psychiatric orgone therapist.