November 27, 2014

A Discussion of Children, Circumcision and Trauma

The following interview was conducted after my presentation at the 13th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights, held at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colorado July 24-26, 2014. James Loewen, the filmmaker, has been documenting intactivist issues since 1993.

November 2, 2014

Wilhelm Reich Film Project

A documentary film on the life and work of Wilhelm Reich is planned for production under the auspices of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund. Kevin Hinchey, who is its co-director, has written the storyline and will head up the project.

Mr. Hinchey may be the only person who has had full access to Reich’s closely held archives that are stored in the medical school library at Harvard University. Because of this the film will present facts, not theories about Reich and his scientific work. It will also set the record straight by dispelling the many myths that have been repeated through the years—the falsehoods that have painted Reich and his work in a bad light. 
Should this film become a reality and have wide distribution, it will go far to make people aware of a remarkable man who for too long has been an unappreciated genius whose discoveries could benefit all humankind. It would also be a stimulus for scientists worldwide to undertake a fair examination of Reich’s work.

A Kickstarter campaign is underway to fund the production of the film. As of this writing, there are 19 days left to fund the project. Below is the Kickstarter video. The full campaign can be accessed by clicking the "K" on the upper left corner of the video box. 

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.