June 25, 2010

Announcing Guest Posting

This September will mark the one year anniversary of this blog, Wilhelm Reich Today. It has been more successful than I could have imagined and continues to build a worldwide following. It has also been a gratifying experience for me, and the feedback I’ve gotten from my readers demonstrates the positive feelings go both ways. 
As a consequence of this blog, many who knew little or nothing about Wilhelm Reich have visited and learned about the practical application of his work in the present day. Others who have been involved in orgonomy for many years are enjoying the blog. Friends, old and new, have contacted me to say hello and to tell me what they are doing in their lives as well as in the field of orgonomy. 
As Wilhelm Reich Today gears up for it’s second year, I’ve been considering ways to develop and enhance the blog. One big change that I’m making is the introduction of guest posting. This is a common feature of many blogs. The regular host (in this case, me) gets to take a step back and wear the hat of blog follower every so often, as others write the featured post.    
Opening the blog to other contributors, who will bring to it their own voices, perspectives, and areas of interest and expertise, will add a new dimension to Wilhelm Reich Today. Just as my posts are wide-ranging, guest writers will also present their thoughts on diverse subjects related to orgonomy. There is hardly any topic that can’t be brought into clearer focus by drawing on what Reich has given us. I will also be guest posting on other’s blogs from time to time. When I do, I’ll be sure to let you know when and where, so you can follow me there.
Stay tuned as Wilhelm Reich Today continues to grow and develop! 

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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.