Character Analysis -- An Illustrated Introduction
People are deeply afraid of genuine, direct emotional contact with other persons and the processes of reality, even if they believe that's what they want. Everyone uses defense mechanisms to guard against disappointment and other relationship feelings.
When outward-flowing impulses for pleasure meet with chronic disappointment, the flow becomes checked. With time, an equilibrium develops between the instinctual forces on the one hand and the frustrating ones the other hand. This natural defense gives rise to conditions of rigidity which the person experiences in all their relationships. Their behavior and mannerisms become stereotyped and predictable.
What do people experience inside from their defensiveness? It varies. It may be:
-The feeling of inner isolation; inwardly dying; disappointed love; lack of pleasure; inner emptiness and desolation; making personal sacrifices, or leading a double life.
-An inclination to retreat; genital anesthesia; sexual resignation; apprehensive silence, reticence; a sense of ones life as barren, bleak, or destroyed.
-Psychic dulling, apathy; superficiality or artificial love; inner deadness; feeling stultified; feeling cold, hard, numb, or bitter; or as if “It’s useless, utterly useless.”
OR -A person may feel a desire to feel the world; a desire to flow; or the wish for more vitality and productivity.
In relationships or work, these defenses show up in character mannerisms such as:
Loud, obtrusive laughter Too firm a handshake
Constant, dull friendliness Ostentatious displays of knowledge
Empty astonishment or delight Inability to change ones mind
Grand gestures in speaking Childish wooing of favor
Bashfulness, sham modesty Sexual boastfulness
Exaggerated sexiness Unregulated promiscuity
Affectations of speech “Big wheel” behavior
Put-on dignity Affected superiority
Haughtiness or a patronizing air Sexual giggling
Don Juan-ism Rowdy or lascivious behavior
Suggestive eye contact A cocky or athletic gait
Demands for respect...
...or other disagreeable character traits, as opposed to being simple, natural, sympathetic, engaging, unaffected, free, flowing, direct, and relaxed. Character mannerisms are unconscious. They ward off external "dangers" as well as internal feelings. Words can conceal or bury emotional realities; people can rationalize anything away. However, the expressiveness of their body and mannerisms always reveals the truth.
For instance, the person who uses his intellect to avoid awkward surprises succeeds in destroying emotional experiences by divining them beforehand. The intellect fulfills a defensive function and is spurred by anxious anticipations. It keeps other people at a safe distance. This is an extremely cunning way of avoiding deep feelings and insights.
The therapist must render this weapon unusable by consistent analysis of its function. Patients can learn to express and gradually tolerate underlying emotions. Deep emotion leads to painful self-knowledge, and can change people's lives.
What about life energy?
Since the dawn of time, people have sensed that there is an actual energy that moves in human beings and in the world. You may hear it called qi, chi, prana, or elan vital. These concepts all describe an unseen, universal, life-positive presence. I know it as orgone energy. This subtle energy is the essence of life, both in people and within the natural world. Although orgone is beyond the grasp of modern science, it can be demonstrated scientifically. I believe as others do who have studied orgone science, that when it is widely understood, it will revolutionize mainstream medicine and science.
I'm often asked why I use the term "orgone." Why not just "life energy?" Wilhelm Reich, MD did the pioneering work of demonstrating orgone energy scientifically and developed ways to use it for emotional healing. I received my training through Reich's group and I use Reich's methods, so I respect the name he chose. I'm an orgonomist. It's another name for a character analyst. I feel a deep sense of reverence for the powerful tools of character analysis and the lasting changes that they make possible in people's lives.
Reich established that orgone is a visible, measureable, and usable energy. It is a specifically biological energy that reveals the living functions in the world around us, even in "lifeless" atoms and subatomic particles. Reich wrote, "The human race has known about the existence of a universal energy related to life for many ages. However, the basic task of natural science consisted in making this energy usable. This is the sole difference between my work and all preceeding knowledge."
Orgone energy is mass-free, universally present, in constant motion, and penetrates matter. It is visible under certain conditions. It can be demonstrated by thermometer, electroscope, and Geiger-Muller counter. Orgone is negatively entropic, which means that it coalesces rather than dispersing as heat does; weaker orgone systems are attracted to stronger ones. Two systems can superimpose to form a new, organized, pulsating system. Orgone is the energy from which matter is derived. Amazingly, orgone is involved in the spontaneous generation of pulsating life from non-living matter even today. It is not only the cosmic life energy, the life force itself, but also the substrate for our emotional and sexual feelings.
Here is the theory behind character analysis or orgone therapy:
Reich found that many people suffer from restrictions or shortages of life energy in their bodies. The resulting armor makes up people's defenses. Armor keeps us from full discharge of excess energy in orgasm as well as clouding perception, thought, feelings, and self-expression. Unfortunately, armor also keeps a person from feeling the problems inside themselves, so they blame other people.
Reich found that emotional resignation extends even down to the level of the immune system, because every living organism is a self-contained, functional unit, not merely a mechanical or chemical sum or organs. (The Cancer Biopathy) With weakening of the immune system, lack of vitality, and a sense of dullness or missing out on life, the weaker, resigned organism loses its sparkle and falls prey to opportunistic pathology.
The energy used up in self-constraint subtracts from our vitality, work, and sexual aliveness, creating tragic irrationality in politics, scientific research, and all aspects of society.
Orgone therapy involves natural healing. It provides a non-drug approach to treating emotional issues -- or at least minimizing pharmaceutical use. Orgone therapy uses powerful tools to get to the root of problems that rob so many people of their happiness.
Orgone Therapy involves the process of character analysis. A person's character structure becomes more rational through a gradual process of learning to tolerate higher energy levels, including deeper breathing and emotional contact.
Every living organism is a pulsating energy system that charges and discharges, expanding and contracting.
The fuller the energetic pulsation, the more fully life is lived. When our pulsation is restricted, we experience psychological symptoms and bodily distress.
Character analysis and Green Issues:
Today, we are more and more concerned for the well-being of the life energy that envelops our Earth. Global warming threatens us, and a brown-black layer pervades the atmosphere. Reich was writing about the destruction of our atmosphere and environment in the 1950's, especially about the depletion of life energy in our environment. At the same time, he was promoting natural healing methods and ran into trouble with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was siding with the pharmaceutical companies against natural healing.
Character analysis comes from the tradition of natural healing -- discerning and following Nature's way. Holistic psychotherapy affects a person's physiology. It helps restore, protect, and maximize life energy in humans, the same as we seek to protect the earth's fragile layer of life.
Wilhelm Reich predicted that in fifty years our culture would be more open to ideas of life energy -- and that we'd be more positive about sexuality. Fifty years have passed. And indeed, this has come true, although the media sensationalizes and trivializes sexuality. Still, knowledge of life energy is still difficult to bring into our personal lives, especially since people today are more and more living in their heads, with less connection to nature.
In his clinical work, Reich found that his patients had almost all armored themselves as they grew up amid circumstances in which seeing, feeling or acting were not tolerated. We are all sick because we didn't grow up right. Armor is created individually in each child. Infants and toddlers hold back their tears or anger by physically tightening their muscles. Suppression of tears leads to hardening around the eyes. Prohibited speech leads to tightening about the mouth or throat. When we learn not to reach out for help, the inhibitory muscles of the chest, which guard against reaching for help become chronically tense. In a mechanically rigid chest no strong emotions are developed. This is a great tragedy for the millions who suffer through lives of restricted aliveness.
Chronic muscular tension comes from our limitations and miseries. It also adds to our limitations and miseries. We unknowingly repress ourselves by tightening muscles that develop armoring (chronic muscle contractions), rarely letting up. Childhood experiences damage the coordination of the mind/body system, making an actual lesion in the emotional structure. (Read about effects of circumcision) We are sick because we resorted to armoring ourselves as children.
We are our own jailors. We shut ourselves down with armoring and give way to family agendas rather than fight for our vitality. Certainly, standing up for our own vitality would involve conflict with loved ones and painful or even excruciating emotions. Children are brainwashed, bullied, conned, assaulted, and manipulated until they give in to conventional practices. Somehow, the comfort of escaping from conflict wins out over aliveness as we grow up and adapt. Still, there are some children, perhaps the healthiest, who don't give up and keep fighting back against the injustice of their lives, despite the harm to their relationships with powerful adults. Children need to be protected from all assaults on their development, including the kind of treatment that may not harm them to appearances but ends up making them less alive.
The enemy is that part of our structure that is life-negative, and each one of us has that life-negative part in us. Reich said that the core of the misery of the human animal was ambivalence toward one's own organism. That means that as much as we love our bodies and take care of our physical needs, in other important respects we hold our bodies and natural needs in contempt, hoping to be "superior" to "base bodily urges." For most people, sweet, melting sensations are the most longed-for pleasures. However, when it comes to it, we may dread these sensations and fight them off as "filthy," "sordid," "animalistic," or not worthy of respect. We build up defensive armor against these sensations and lose the ability to even tolerate them. Sadly, though, the fact is that these are the sensations of the energetic flow of life that refreshes us, brightens our lives, and wards off degenerative disease.
Emotional armor is the common denominator of our psychological problems and many medical issues. The locations of blocks determine our predispositions to illnesses.For instance, a throat block creates chronic tension that reduces blood flow as well as energetic flow, so pathogens in the throat area are not carried off efficiently.
Although people come to orgone therapy with many different problems, such as lack of pleasure, stress, feelings of deadness or psychological symptoms, they share one starting point for therapy: They can’t see their problems clearly enough to solve them on their own. Reich learned to begin people’s therapies by working on their eyes to help people really see.
The problem, now as then, is that with eyes safely encased in armor, people are stuck in their heads and defend themselves with ideas. Armored eyes also spare us the emotional pain of seeing our parents' weaknesses. The ocular muscles wrap around the head like a sweatband and chronically restrict circulation to the brain as well as the eyes. This chronic restriction impairs the circulation of both blood and the flow of life energy (orgone energy).The brain can't work as it's meant to. As a result, people have opinions and information but don't feel their organ sensations or emotional feelings. They ward off emotions with ideas or intellectualism. They may not even feel their eyes. People use the word “feel” when they really mean “think.”
In this therapy, to people’s surprise, they discover palpable physical feelings in their bodies. The word “feeling” takes on new meaning when it refers to actual bodily, emotional, and organ sensations that are integrated and meaningful. Feelings become physically localized in the body and even in one's energy field, a true sixth sense.
Surprisingly, higher levels of life energy submerge psychological symptoms, as a rising tide conceals rocks. This means that some things that trouble us just become unimportant or very easy to solve when we are functioning with a higher charge. An increase in life energy indicates therapeutic change, but it can only become stable and lasting if a person learns gradually to tolerate and assimilate bodily experiences such as plasmatic currents and sensations.
A person in therapy learns to give way to full respiration. It takes a lot of work, dealing with emotions and integrating them with bodily sensations. The therapist provides guidance, encouragement, and continual feedback.
With full breathing, you begin to experience the four-beat rhythm of tension - charge - discharge - and relaxation that accompanies an expanded core. The charge and discharge create a sense of pulsation and connection with all life.
Higher levels of energy often evoke early memories from when the impediments were formed. In these situations, therapy includes returning to childhood traumas. It can be painful, but people find this healing worthwhile, because these traumas actually created the lesions back then that are interrupting mind/body unity today. The work proceeds according to the individual person's unique structure of experiences, reactions, and adaptations -- and their current goals and wishes. Revisiting painful experiences allows the gradual reintegration and coordination of body excitation, perception, and expression. A person can become whole, yielding more and more to the free flow of plasmatic energy.
The most enjoyable feelings are expansive, with energy flowing from the core of the body out toward the world. Pleasure, joy, and ecstasy -- even pleasant surprises -- are expansive. On the opposite end are contractive feelings, caused by energy flowing from the surface of the body to the interior. Contraction of the autonomic nervous system is felt as anxiety, fear, stress, suffering or misery. Expansiveness creates a parasympathetic reaction in the body at the cellular level; blood vessels dilate, blood pressure goes down, and pain is less. Contracted states increase blood pressure and heart rate, adrenaline flow and cholesterol. Contraction inhibits digestion and the flow of blood to the genitals and is associated with stress and anxiety. Many people live with chronic contraction. It can be horribly painful.
A person with chronic contraction doesn’t experience the satisfying pulse of easy, natural
contraction and expansion, contraction and expansion. Think of a jellyfish with its lovely rhythm of expansion and contraction as it moves in the water. (More underwater marvels) Reich noted that healthy humans are pulsatile. This is the natural law of living matter. I think of this natural pulse as being like a bellows that moves life energy/orgone energy/spiritual energy/chi through us for full circulation and prevention of degenerative processes.
As work on the ocular segment progresses, feelings of anger, sadness, longing, fear, sexual pleasure, or joy are experienced with new vitality. The brain is freed for deeper understanding, learning, and expressiveness.
This work particularly enlivens the eyes. This involves mobilizing the musculature around the eyes, dealing with reawakening emotions, gaining deeper understanding of troublesome situations, and learning to tolerate seeing what one sees. It may involve deep crying.
There’s a time in the course of orgone therapy when the client begins to see other people’s miseries as well as his or her own. This may involve walking down the street or the grocery aisle and being struck by all the suffering and human limitations to be seen. The tragedy on all sides is painful to see. That may have been one reason we learned to restrict our vision in the first place. Sometimes we see other people's irrational social behavior, which Reich called
As people's eyes loosen up, more energy flows through one’s head and one can think more clearly. People gain empathy for human dilemmas and begin treating their loved ones differently. It’s both exciting and challenging to see the world when your eyes become more emotionally open. It can be stunning and take time to adjust to. One grows in insight.
Livelier eyes are more able to see beauty. This is why orgone therapy appeals especially to people in the arts. At the end of an eye-opening session, patients may note that colors seem more vivid, or there’s a shining, three-dimensional quality to their vision. People "awaken" to greater appreciation of nature, perhaps marveling at the sky or appreciating the vitality of animals and growing things. The energetic qualities of the world are awe-inspiring. The visual arts gain new significance, and many people begin some artistic endeavor. There is more to appreciate, more to express. Self-expression flows naturally from organ sensations, the sensation of living protoplasm.
And lively, shining eyes are beautiful. As chronic tension fades and the underlying facial muscles regain vitality, people become more attractive. The streaming of energy improves their connections with other people, especially those who share that flowing, alive quality. People’s private sex lives begin changing.
Enhanced breathing is essential to this work. Minimal breathing keeps us from feeling the intensity of emotions. Increasing our oxygen intake stokes the fires within us, providing the higher charge necessary for this transformative work. Patients are instructed to breathe more deeply as they lie on the therapy “couch” (a twin-size mattress usually, in fact). The goal is to yield to full respiration and build a charge that breaks down blocks to free orgonotic pulsation. The orgone wants to move in our bodies. We find ways to let it do what it does so well.
Few individuals can breathe this deeply on their own, because breathing intensifies emotions and we can tolerate only so much. We have “speed limits” against the intense experience of life. People on the couch may fight the threat of feeling by coming up with impediments such as coughs or seemingly urgent things to say. But being vitally alive takes a lot of oxygen. People expand their limits and at some point even learn to move their own energy consciously. It becomes possible to intentionally breathe down through their bodies and open up the blocks within their bodies. This gives the individuals more pleasure and control over their health. Natural health begins with being mindfully connected to ones own body.
Therapeutic work naturally proceeds from the eye segment to muscles and restrictions of the oral segment. A person in therapy is encouraged to make sounds and then to expand those sounds into fuller expression. With the release of difficult emotions, an earlier painful vocal tone may later become a beautifully sung musical note.
In therapy, a person may be encouraged to vocalize a tone and make it “more.” This can lead to intense expression, along with memories. Releasing the many muscles of the oral segment also involves expressing anger and finding ways to speak up and handle relationships with natural assertiveness.
This work isn’t easy. It takes a mountain of work to undo the restrictions of a lifetime. But the rewards along the way include an awe-inspiring, palpable upswing in feelings of ease and happiness. It is essentially the slow and thorough overcoming of the emotional blocks in the organism (and of the anxieties connected with each single block) that secures lasting results.
In the course of therapy, the focus of work moves downward through the body. Eventually, pelvic issues come front and center, involving anger as well as sexual issues. This is demanding, but patients who get this far report that they have sexual experiences in their private lives that they could never have imagined. Each healthy partner is a vibrant energy system. The mutual attraction and excitation of two separate orgonotic systems results in the superimposition of the systems and the formation of a new system -- a child.
The healthiest person is the one with the freest, usable flow of energy. Therefore, there is a definite healthy sexuality and a definite unhealthy sexuality. For instance, sadism is definitely unhealthy. The sad fact is that normal sexuality is armored sexuality, conducted with relatively unfeeling bodies (who would imagine?) -- and often little breath. Nature has meant us to be different from how we are -- and much more!
(Driftwood Elephant Sculptures)
The vital energy which is freed up by addressing emotional armoring is the same life energy that powers our sexual functioning. Wherever there is emotional repression, the person’s sexual experience will be impaired in some way. Sexuality emerges from the emotional core of a person. Lifting emotional repression expands one's core and adds to the enrichment of sexual experience, as well as other natural phenomena in which energy moves freely.
People often imagine that a therapy that transforms people’s sexual lives must involve some sort of sexual experiences or activities in session. This is not the case. Work with sexual issues is accomplished by talking, breathing, or other non-sexual activities. The patient’s sexual experiences happen only in his or her own private life.
Patients on the couch are lightly dressed – shorts, say, and something like a tank top in summer – in order for the therapist to see the patterns of blood flow on the skin. For instance, expansiveness is visible as rosier skin. Holding or muscular contraction on one body region would show as inhibited blood flow or less color in the area. The loosening of emotional holding improves blood flow and the flow of life energy. Of course, blood flow nourishes tissues and promotes health and longevity.
Reich was persecuted from the fear that his work was too sexual, as if unbridled sexuality would be destructive. In fact, his work lets people shed the distortions that our culture mixes in with sexuality, such as mechanical, mystical or pornographic sex. As we see from crimes involving sexuality, it's the distortions of sexuality that wreak havoc and pose a threat to society. Simple, healthy sexuality is responsible and considerate.
As people get a handle on their armor, they can armor up when it’s needed and let go of it when it gets in the way. They can breathe with greater volume in ordinary life and enjoy life more intensely. They can deal in a rational manner with the strongest emotions, such as intense anger or intense erotic pleasure so these experiences fit naturally within day-to-day experience rather than threatening the structure of their lives. They can be simple and direct.
Reich was a pioneer. He opened up the territory of the mind/body unity, which has become commonplace for many people today, at least in the way we talk. He identified orgone energy, which had been – and is largely, still – overlooked by western science. And he left a legacy in his therapy, which provides a way for brave and motivated people to free themselves from nagging restrictions and experience life in a more vital, flowing, and pleasurable manner.
Thank you for visiting this page. I hope you enjoyed it.
Keep in mind that significant change in therapy, especially taking on sexual issues, demands courage and an adventuresome spirit. Exploring the truth of how we function taps into the best that is in us – offering a chance for a fuller, more rewarding life.
Dr. MacIlvaine is a mind-body psychologist who specializes in orgone therapy. To learn more about orgone therapy contact therapist Dr. Macilvaine to schedule an appointment at her office in San Diego.
And of course, you may want to read some of the case histories with links on the Case Histories page. Go back to the top and click on "Case Histories."
It's a huge amount of reading, and you can learn a lot about nature and human nature.
Are you still here, Reader? There is more content below, but it is "under construction." You are welcome to browse through it.
Orgone therapy makes use of life energy, also known as chi or orgone energy.
It was developed by Wilhelm Reich and has been profoundly improving people's quality of life for over 50 years, helping people live with more energy and pleasure.
Surprisingly, higher levels of life energy
submerge psychological symptoms,
as a rising tide conceals rocks.
These higher levels challenge people to
give in to full breathing
and experience the rhythm of
tension - charge - discharge - relaxation
that accompanies an expanded core.
Orgone therapy connects mind and body, creating a richer experience of being alive. Orgone therapy heightens experience and clears the path for expressiveness of love and other emotions, including artistic expression. It involves being fully alive in the present moment.
Orgone therapy is based in the physics of orgone energy -- life energy or "chi." This is a genuine, palpable energy. The therapy works by going beyond the methods of psychology, using knowledge from the realm of the natural sciences -- specifically, increasing the flow of energy and coordinating the functions of mind and body. It is exciting and challenging to get used to the flow of more energy within one's body and all the sensations involved. It puts problems in perspective.
Orgone energy itself is the primordial energy of the cosmos, the basis of all life. It is mass-free and fills all space. Orgone energy penetrates matter, and enters the bodies of all living beings naturally through breathing, eating, and through ones skin. It is strongly attracted to water. The sea of orgone around us pulsates and is observable, measurable, and can be accumulated intentionally. Orgone energy is "negatively entropic," so it doesn't just spread around evenly the way gasses diffuse. This explains why highly charged organisms such as healthy, vibrant people attract lesser charged individuals such as support persons. The therapy uses this knowledge to help people have happier lives.
Healthy babies have this vibrant aliveness. Unfortunately, as children we learn to restrict the flow of orgone energy in our bodies in order to fit in with family needs and agendas. In orgone therapy, we reverse this process to restore full body vitality, expansiveness, and bright, lively eyes.
Wilhelm Reich was a pioneer. He opened up the territory of the mind/body unity, which has become commonplace for many people today, at least in the way we talk. He shone a spotlight on life energy, which had been – and is largely, still – overlooked by western science. And he left a legacy in his therapy, which provides a way for brave and motivated people to free themselves from nagging restrictions and experience life in a far more vital, flowing, and pleasurable manner.
Have you heard of Wilhelm Reich, M.D., the pioneer physicist, psychiatrist and researcher of life energy? A boldly creative genius, he was the first person in history to develop ways to measure and make practical use of life energy. He was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, but too far ahead of his time to find immediate acceptance. He was thought to be a quack, perhaps a communist, and a public menace. This was during the McCarthy era in the early 1950's. Many people felt personally threatened by his work and findings, especially regarding sexuality. But the knowledge he brought into the light of day is not just psychological theory.
Reich had great courage for going beyond conventional thought. (more) Early on, from within Freud's inner circle, he understood that Freud's "libido" or "id" was an actual energy. Later, as an activist for basic human rights in Vienna, he took on Hitler and Stalin, each of whom put Reich on their death lists. After his emigration to the US, Reich was an early proponent of non-pharmaceutical health care. Although today the natural health movement is respected, Reich's reliance on the curative power of life energy was treated as if it were medical heresy.
Scientists and public officials dismissed his books and papers about life energy as absurd without looking at his research evidence. Yet he was the first person to demonstrate life energy scientifically. He was able to measure it with both electroscope and oscilloscope, focus it, accumulate it, and use it experimentally to address human problems, as well as influencing the weather. (Article) Reich's work took psychiatric problems beyond psychology into the realm of the natural sciences. (First-person account)
Part of the problem may have been that Reich called life energy “orgone” energy, reasoning that it’s the energy discharged in orgasm, as well as the basic energy of any organism. Reich's discovery that life energy is the same energy as our sexual energy was too threatening in his era and still is in many circles.
Reich designed the orgone energy accumulator, the so-called “orgone box,” a booth in which a person sits to absorb atmospheric energy which the accumulator accumulates. You can see an accumulator in the photograph below, along with the label on it. The accumulator is used by people to boost their charge and vitality little by little. People report feeling more energy by sitting in an accumulator. The accumulator bathes you in a stronger "dose" of life energy than you could get in the normal atmosphere and helps your autonomic nervous system. For information on the structure of an accumulator and how it actually works, see www.orgonics.com (or the video mentioned above: "Man's Right to Know").
* It fills all space and is everywhere.
* It is mass-free and is the primordial, cosmic energy.
* It penetrates matter, although at different speeds.
* It pulsates and is observable and measurable.
* It has a strong affinity and attraction for/to water.
* It accumulates naturally in the living organism by eating, breathing, and through the skin.
* Orgone energy is negatively entropic: highly charged orgone systems attract lesser charged. Reich described this as the orgonotic potential. (Negatively entropic=negatively collapsing; Think: expanding universe.)
* Orgone energy is excited by secondary energies such as electromagnetism and nuclear energy.
* When it is concentrated, orgone energy often has a blue-to-violet color.
* The mutual attraction and excitation of separate orgonotic systems result in the merging or superimposition of the systems and the emergence of a new system.
Orgone energy is at work in the atmosphere and can disperse a cloud or make rain fall. Reich built a "cloud-buster" on orgonomic principles, and with it he was able to modify the weather. (Video dramatization) (Important considerations)
Orgone energy has actual physical reality. You would have to deny a huge body of evidence to call it just an idea or concept. A mere psychological idea cannot disperse a cloud or summon weather systems to create rain. I wonder if it is the same as "dark energy," which astrophysicists now say is the dominant energy of the universe.
The federal government prosecuted Reich for defying an injunction against sending his accumulators across state lines. (Court proceedings) (more) Reich and his patients were experimenting with reducing cancer pain by using the accumulators. (more) Reich hadn't claimed that use of an accumulator cured any disease, but he saw potential, and he had been working on it. His research records showed that the accumulator reduced the size of cancer tumors, although it didn't cure the disease. First, Reich was working with terminally ill patients. Second, broken-up tumors clogged patients' livers. Third, Reich showed that cancer runs deeper than the carcinoma tumors. Reich wrote that cancer is a mind-body condition with key factors of resignation and anorgonia, his term for a severe shortage of orgone energy in a person's body. A person's immune system weakens. The cancer tumors themselves are only the tip of the iceberg. The primary emotional cause is resignation.
Reich was sent to a federal penitentiary (more), his books were burned by the FDA, and he soon died of heart disease in prison (1957). (more) The manner of his death created fear among his scientific associates, patients, and students. His embryonic science was practically killed off, but it survived and has been gaining vitality over the decades until now.
Reich was hounded for making people aware of things that were uncomfortable about. As naturally as many people are drawn to someone who is dynamic, other people resent a person who has free access to something -- aliveness -- that they have learned to live without. Reich also wrote about the emotional plague, provoking vitriolic responses from plague-ridden individuals. (A book on this topic) (more)
Reich's therapy methods were kept in practice by a core group of physicians he had trained in Europe and the United States. Then, after several years his books began to be republished. (publisher, store) Today, there is more acceptance for the idea of life energy, although conventional science still closes its eyes to the available evidence. And there is growing nonsense about Wilhelm Reich on the internet. Even scientists who accept the existence of orgone energy personally fear associating their names with such "heresy." (more, more) (Evidence supporting Reich's findings) Wilhelm Reich considered himself more physicist than psychiatrist.
There is a green revolution in science at stake. The still largely undiscovered science of orgonomy holds out hope for life on Earth. The other, mechanistic side is about stress, destruction, and disordered lives. For example, we are all becoming concerned for the well-being of the life energy that envelopes Earth. Global warming threatens us, and a brown-black layer pervades the atmosphere. Reich was writing about destruction of our atmosphere and environment in the 1950's. Today, we would call his work "green."
Reich's research into life functions began through his work as a psychiatrist. He understood and later demonstrated that the "id" Freud had intoduced as an abstract concept was actually a palpable physical energy. He recognised that mind and body work together, a radical notion back then. And he didn’t keep quiet about it. He published book after book about his findings. (List of all Reich's publications) His Mass Psychology of Fascism was a best seller around 1950. His Character Analysis is still a staple in many psychiatric training programs. (The technique of character analysis) Reich recognized a functional identity between the character, emotional blocks, and tension in the body, what he called character armoring.
His findings ranged from psychiatry to sociology, physics and medicine. Reich held that mass-free energy, rather than matter, is the basis of physics and human health -- and that disease comes from stagnation or blockage of energy. At his home and research facility, “Orgonon,” in Rangeley, Maine he treated both local people and young psychiatrists, men and women who later carried on his work after his death. (First person account) (Syllabus for a 1940-41course Reich taught) In the US, his scientific "descendents" are represented today by the Institute for Orgonomic Science, of which I am a member, and the American College of Orgonomy, as well as the Reich Museum. (Minutes from a recent conference sponsored by the Museum) His work remains alive in Europe as well. (2007 Conference) The manner of Reich's death put a damper on funding for research to substantiate Reich's discoveries, but his science has been kept alive.
Among Reich’s patients and students were Alexander Lowen and Fritz Perls, who didn’t finish their therapies but left and established offshoots of their own. Lowen founded Bioenergetics, which has a large presence in San Diego and elsewhere. Fritz Perls established Gestalt Therapy, with an even larger presence though the western world. Being “here and now” was a principle that Fritz Perls got from Wilhelm Reich.
Reich really was the granddaddy of mind/body awareness. “Reichian” Therapy and Primal Therapy also grew out of Wilhelm Reich’s work, although “Reichian” therapy is not the therapy that Reich developed and practiced. (Neither of these should be confused with Reiki Therapy, an energy practice that doesn’t involve psychotherapy at all.) Integrated Body Psychotherapy (IBP), in Los Angeles, Canada, and Germany, was also derived from Reich's work by Jack Rosenberg. Reich said of these offshoots, “They took a piece of the cloth I wove and called it whole fabric.” Reich’s own therapy is Orgone Therapy, which includes character analysis and addresses emotional armoring in the step-wise, logical sequence that Reich had found necessary. While other mind-body therapies have grown up reflecting the personalities of their originators, orgone therapy has been carefully preserved in its original form, based on natural science.