September 8, 2015

New Book on Wilhelm Reich Could Be The Game-Changer

Wilhelm Reich, Biologist (Harvard University Press, 2015) by James E. Strick is an extremely important book because it has the potential to overturn a number of fundamental beliefs in science. One of these, that is set in stone and if refuted will prove a bombshell, is that life must develop from preexisting life. Reich certainly appears to have proved this age-old maxim false. Exactly how he conducted his groundbreaking experiments—almost 80 years ago—can now be found in this book.

Drawing upon archival material never before available, Strick has provided documentation that confirms Reich was a serious scientist. Material taken from unpublished laboratory notebooks and published reports show his research was conducted with meticulous care. 

Working with living matter rather than with dead preparations that had been fixed and stained, Reich was able to produce microscopic vesicles that were non-living, yet capable of replication in culture media. This, according to classical scientific theory, is impossible. If these experiments can be duplicated—and this should not be too difficult as Reich’s methods are clearly set forth in Professor Strick’s book—the implications are staggering! 

These “bions” as Reich called them were not just transitional life forms. More importantly, they appeared to be involved in health and disease. This finding has opened the way to an entirely new understanding of why people become ill, or remain well. 

Later, taking it even a step further, Reich was able to record with time-lapse filming that dying autumnal moss could lead to the natural organization of life as protozoa. Life from non-life! From this he hypothesized that cancer cells might form in a like manner from dying animal tissue that had disintegrated into bions. 

Wilhelm Reich, Biologist calls into question other accepted tenets of biology and medicine, too many to cite here. We can only hope this new publication will interest researchers worldwide and stimulate their curiosity. What remarkable benefits might come from examining health and illness from this different perspective remains to be seen. Now, those wishing to test Reich’s findings need only familiarize themselves with his concepts and then exactly follow the straightforward steps outlined for each experiment.

James Strick has done a masterful job in presenting the development of Reich’s research in a most engaging way. He has deftly interwoven science with history and set both against a backdrop of what Reich was to experience all his life—the reactions of the established “experts” who refused to examine findings they “knew” to be wrong. 

Wilhelm Reich, Biologist is so well written that readers may not realize they are absorbed in a scholarly book about a scientific revolution. Rather, to their surprise and enjoyment, they may think they are involved in a fascinating mystery novel, and are eager to find out how the plot unfolds.

For more information, visit the book's website

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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.