PSYCHIATRIC ORGONE THERAPY: FUNCTIONAL METHOD, CREATIVE ART AND OPEN QUESTIONS – Dorothea Fuckert, M.D.
(published in: ANNALS OF THE INSTITUTE FOR ORGONOMIC SCIENCE, Vol. 12, December 2014, pages 25-48, Institute for Orgonomic Science, Philadelphia, USA, www.orgonomicscience.org The Journal is available as digital- and as print-copy: www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/944367 )
The development of psychiatric orgone therapy (POT) during 30 years of a clinical practice is described: therapy goals, challenges and pitfalls. A general change in structure of personality and armoring as well as in patient population over the decades is reported. 10 critical points in the method of POT are discussed. According to a different structure of armoring found in clinical practice today, an integration of techniques from other therapy methods has [been] developed, which increases the chances of successful therapy as well as satisfaction of the therapist. Further issues: sexuality, mechano-mysticism, root of armoring and consciousness, Rediscovering and reactiving the many slumbering core resources and expressions in a new character-analytical way and an inverse direction of work from core towards peripherTwo models of structure of armoringy is described. The need of unbiased opening to new insights is favored to let the method grow functionally and to develop new perspectives for more efficacy.
„We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified–how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You can think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.“ The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman (edited by Jeffrey Robbins), 1999
1. The development of psychiatric orgone therapy in my clinical practice 1983 – 2013
2. Goals of general psychotherapy, psychiatric orgone therapy and spiritual orientation
3. Critical points of the methodology of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy
4. Observations and conclusions regarding critical points 1-10
5. Recovering the many slumbering core resources and utilizing their expressions for disarmoring from core to periphery – my practiced vision
I first came across Wilhelm Reich’s work and his psychiatric orgone therapy (POT) in 1975 and have gotten to know it in theory and practice ever since. I owe it a lot.
• Profound understanding for the background of human misery
• The experience of the orgone energy felt in my body and seen in the atmosphere
• A functional concept of the creation process through cosmic superimposition
• A tool of treatment for suffering people
• Wholesome experiences during my personal longstanding orgone therapy, which changed my life fundamentally. Walter Hoppe, M.D. and Morton Herskowitz, D.O., both students of Reich, were great models for me, enabled through their therapeutic work on me a great deal of liveliness, freedom, happiness and last but not least orientation and fulfillment on my professional path.
As there are everlasting truths, some of Reich’s discoveries will stay valid for myself forever: the existence of an atmospheric and biophysical mass-free energy, the pulsation of the lively plasma, the function of cosmic superimposition, genitality and orgastic potency as the capacity for full surrender and the biological core with its main expression love, work and knowledge. I prefer to call the ‘biological core’, which relates to the pleasure-anxiety function, as ‘human core’ when I refer to core resources and expressions. And I prefer ‘capacity of surrender’ to ‘orgastic potency’, as this capacity expresses itself also beyond the sexual orgasm in other functions of life.
I am still applying physical orgone therapy with some symptoms for myself and my family, especially in wintertime. Since around 2000, my work in POT got a new orientation with integration of various methods from other schools. The work on character, personality and the human core in my practice gained an unexpected intensification and deepening, a changed technique and orientation compared to the classical character analysis (CA). The overall result is a higher efficiency of treatment, more satisfaction and wellbeing for me as a therapist.
1.The development of psychiatric orgone therapy in my clinical practice 1983 – 2013
From the beginning of the 1980s until the end of the 1990s, I considered POT to be the one single effective method. I was convinced that it could de-armor humans most deeply and comprehensively. Almost all patients came explicitly for POT during that time, and I treated 95% of them with this method. Besides the orgone therapeutic techniques, I had a basic education in analytically oriented, depth psychological therapy, Gestalt and Systemic Therapy (Heidelberg School). I worked with all ages from babies to the elderly, with all indications from acute to chronic symptoms, minor to severe diseases; I performed preventative and terminal care many times. I loved this work from the beginning, especially with children, adolescents and young adults because of their high energy and general openness for life. I witnessed countless intensive moments of human depth and energetic pulsation in wonder and gratitude. Whenever the human core began to express itself more, I felt touched. And I was pleased by positive changes in the lives of my patients. It gave me fulfillment.
One third of my patients came over several years for POT, some up to ten years, with a result of clear symptom reduction and some rather positive life changes. With the second third of my patients, I became confronted with considerable methodological difficulties, and the efficacy was correspondingly low. The last third developed true structural changes with a relatively steady feeling of liveliness and emotional contact due to the dissolved armoring and a more intense pulsation. About one out of 20 developed genitality and orgastic potency. Reich had reported one out of ten. Orgastic potency, the capacity for surrender, was experienced – if at all – not in all realms and phases of life, but only in certain life conditions, e.g. in a fulfilling partnership or in fulfilling creative activity or life task. It would be unrealistic to expect it as a constant, steady, ubiquitous and life-long function. It is a pulsating and changing function on a continuum with two poles at its two ends, health and illness (armoring). Even the most healthy, unarmored person is constantly oscillating on this continuum. But even this third of my patients kept specific patterns of deep armoring in the eye/head, pelvis and chest segment in spite of many years of POT.
I will describe later in this paper these therapy-resistant phenomena which I found. Quite a number of patients developed a soft and full orgasm reflex. This reflex appears in other moments of surrender aside from sexuality, but I also observed it in patients with low energy, e.g. in some cancer patients or in patients with dissociative structures, and with little or no sexual fulfillment at all. Therefore I no longer see it as an indicator for bio-energetic and sexual health. It only shows that energy is flowing relatively freely in the body, but not the energy level or degree of pulsation. Reich also reported the orgasm reflex in cancer patients – see Cancer Biopathy, pp.209-210, 1973 edition]
In the 1990s, a great number of patients came for therapy with deeper problems and more serious disorders than during my first ten years of practice: PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorders), borderline, dissociative and personality disorders as well as bipolar diseases. Most patients showed criteria of complex PTSD as defined by a working group of the World Health Organization for ICD-11 (1).Treatment with POT turned out to be troublesome and difficult with these patients. They destabilized quite often and sometimes symptoms worsened in the long run. It took me some time to realize that the reason for this was, among others, deep and special armoring patterns in the brain which didn’t yield to the usual work with the eye segment. Later, after much observation and thinking I came to understand that new techniques from other therapy methods were urgently needed here. It became clear to me that these techniques helped to better address these structures which were quite different from neurotic structures. Therefore I underwent trainings in a number of new therapy methods and obtained certifications in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Traumatherapy, EMDR, Brainspotting, and Energy Psychology. I also learned a lot from Internal Family System Therapy, Voice Dialogue, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Ego-State-Therapy, Inner Relationship Focusing, Impact Therapy and Shadow Work. I could integrate many of these techniques into my own style of therapy, and their combination with POT brought much more success for my patients, as they progressed on their way to integration, dissolution of armoring and surrender to life. I clearly got more ease and satisfaction in my work than before when I worked with POT alone.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help wondering for a longtime, why POT has been little successful in many patients. Also, why it destabilized some patients and worsened some symptoms in the long run. Independently from this, in recent years fewer and fewer people were asking explicitly for POT or “Reichian Therapy”. Since around 2000, patients have been approaching me mainly due to word-of-mouth, and not because I practice POT. I am acknowledged for my publications in professional journals in which I could write rather freely about POT, and my involvement in Reich is known through printed and online articles (2). In spite of this, only very few inquiries for POT per year reach me, although my practice is fully booked. Together with the fact of a decrease in book sales, I have to state a general loss of interest in Reich and in POT specifically, at least in Germany. I wondered a longtime why this happened, until I came to understand that Reich’s original therapy method does not meet the special needs of younger generations and does not address the very special therapeutic requirements for working effectively with their different biophysical and character/personality structures.
The main focus of this paper is therefore not on the positive effects and the many successful courses of POT. We know these quite well from our experiences as patients, therapists, from books and many articles. The focus here is on the critical points of POT as a method, and on my conclusions, and their consequences and the solutions which were developed to address the methodological difficulties.
2. Goals of general psychotherapy, psychiatric orgone therapy and a spiritual orientation
Symptom reduction and stabilization (1-4); mobilization of energy, softening and dissolving of muscular and character armor (5-8); spiritual orientation (9-10):
1. Contact, stabilization, symptom reduction
2. Activation of resources, coping strategies
3. Immediate changes in current conflicts and in outer life
4. Establishing inner safe places and inner helpers as healing resources,
first adaptation to traumatic experiences
5. Rising of energy level, deepened breathing, intensifying pulsation
6. Cathartic solution of dammed up and blocked painful sensations, feelings and emotions
7. Dissolving biophysical and emotional (character) armoring
8. Freeing the biological (human) core, developing genitality and orgastic potency, the capacity of surrender
9. Help in finding task and purpose in life, rediscovering slumbering core resources and expressions
10. Supporting genuine experience of transcendence and cosmic connectedness
3. Ten critical points of the methodology of POT:
1. The focus on pathogenesis reduces the chances of successful therapy; the perspectives of salutogenesis, resilience, resources and developmental tasks are not utilized sufficiently; mono-causal and linear thinking intensifies a passive, self-pitying victim role or angry fighter role of patients.
2. Overdoing, under-doing, habituation, transference, counter-transference and dependency are tendencies in long-term therapy (as in many therapies).
3. Sticking in a fear-anger-pattern often produces an ongoing fluctuation between identification with and detachment from painful feelings as avoidance of deeper feelings like sadness, longing, closeness,and just of being in the here-and-now.
4. The ambition to reach the defined therapy goal can become absolutely counter-productive.
5. Sexuality needs a new verbal and therapeutic handling compared to 25 or 50 years ago, mainly because of the pandemic sexual abuse, and also due to the modern pressure to achieve and perform sexually.
6. Low efficacy and efficiency: in spite of high investment of time, energy and money, only very few patients reach the defined therapy goal.
7. The three-layer-model of armoring and of character of Reich’s times is no longer suitable for the biophysical and personality structures of younger generations.
8. Hidden dissociated layers of armoring persist even after years of POT, deeply in the eye/brain, pelvis and chest segment and need special character work.
9. Individual experiences of transcendence and cosmic connectedness (transpersonal, trans-dimensional connection = re-ligio, Latin: re-connection) are essential human needs which necessitate non-judgmental tolerance, open-mindedness and support in therapy.
10. POT as a method needs an unbiased opening to new insights to let the method grow functionally, to develop more efficacy and new perspectives.
4. Observations regarding critical points 1-10
4.1 A one-sided focus on pathogenesis diminishes chances of successful therapy.
The focus on problems as handicaps, armoring as disease and a mono-causal linear thinking extends therapy duration and increases resignation by reinforcing a negative world-view and nourishes the self-identity of being a helpless victim and/or an angry fighter in life. Emotional and mental suffering tends to become endless. “My life went wrong because my mother/father treated me so badly.”“I had such a bad start in life, and therefore I will always have huge problems”.
These and other one-sided emotional perceptions and cognitive interpretations are frequently encountered. They have to be overcome in therapy. Patients need to see themselves and life from different angles, step back to get a more objective attitude and take responsibility. The simplest, yet most impactful 2-minute representation of the wholesome effect of salutogenesis can be found under this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv49RFo1ckQ
The inclusion of well-researched factors such as salutogenesis, resilience, resources, vulnerabilities, developmental tasks and life purposes are a must for efficient therapy. “Who does not from the very first session on and also not during a critical phase in therapy always and unwaveringly see and address the positive, healthy and whole, the true human and his hidden form, misses the key to each and any leadership and treatment” (3).
4.2 Overdoing, underdoing, transference and counter-transference, becoming accustomed and mutual dependence are phenomena encountered in all longterm therapies.
As Herskowitz states, we try to work on armoring on any level of functioning on which we observe it, whether on the biophysical, emotional or mental level (4). I am now trying to achieve this in various new ways, for instance through modifications in therapy setting and by creative inputs.
I use variations in therapy language, surprise effects and a broad spectrum of techniques from all kinds of therapy schools. We see a general tendency in long-term therapies when therapist and patient become too accustomed, there is difficulty to get true impacts. I try to induce these by spontaneous role plays (positioning inner self-parts with different body positions, pillows, colored papers, toy bricks or stuffed animals (5, 6), also through ordeals and home work (7), comics (8) and special impact techniques (9). I tend to prevent any tendency of therapeutic co-dependence by clear mandates from patients from the beginning on. Therapeutic contracts and a mutual meta-level on which my responsible adult self cooperates with the responsible adult self of the patient and his inner helpers selves (10, 11) are essential. I begin and finish each therapy session on this meta-level, which is especially important after regressive processes in a session.
4.3 Sticking in the fear-anger-pattern often produces an ongoing bouncing between identification with and detachment from painful feelings.
Pleasure and anxiety (and anger) are the basic impulses of life according to Reich. During my first two decades of working with POT, I quite often observed a dysfunctional coping with anxiety, fear, anger and rage in patients. Unconsciously or half-consciously they used the biological adrenal fight and flight response for reactive abreaction of energetic charge and for avoidance of deeper emotions such as longing, closeness or simply feeling their bodily sensations. I found this tendency especially in patients with choleric and compulsive character traits. If not brought into awareness and not resolved, it usually resulted in getting stuck in an endless victim and/or fighter role in life. We need to therapeutically restore the fundamental capacity to fight with rage and fierceness in a truely life-threatening situation, but certainly not in a common everyday conflict. Same is true for anxiety provoking situations, where we need to learn to stay with it, understand our fearful reaction and transform it into inner safety, self-confidence, appropriate and constructive behaviour. With a a certain degree of inner freedom patients can learn to replace the survival mode of purely biological functioning (fight, flee or freeze response) by a more constructive and creative behaviour.
I observed also an ongoing alternation between an overwhelming identification with and a dissociation from painful emotions and sensations due to a lack of self-presence. However, as we know from Greek tragedy, catharsis means an appropriate amount and a smooth pulsation between observation of and empathy with emotions, pains and problems (12). Therefore, I first of all need to establish self-regulative emotional functions such as a self-empathic, self-accepting coping with one’s own sensations, feelings, emotions and thoughts, and just staying with them in the here and now (13).
4.4 Patients, who are well informed intellectually of POT tend to develop counterproductive ambitions to reach the defined therapy goals: being emotional, rational, genital and orgastically potent.
The chronic discrepancy between an ideal goal and the real condition is distressing. The tendency of (self-)categorization and (self-)judgement is prevailing in our culture.The regular self-destructive tendency to compare with others and with unreachable ideals results inevitably in distress, unhappiness and developmental stagnation. Also, the intense effort to change things, is not necessarily the quickest and most efficient basis for a real change of the inner structure. On the contrary, an authentic radical acceptance of what is felt painfully, more easily leads to the desirable capacity to master one’s life, to pulsate optimally and regulate the emotions, relationships, work and freedom (14).
4.5 We need a different way of communication and treatment of sexual themes to 30 or 50 years ago.
The first reason for this is the pandemic sexual abuse, violation and exploitation; the second is stress intruding from the social into the sexual sphere. As far as I know, sexual abuse was not a main theme at Reich’s times. Today it is a well-known fact from research data. Abused and traumatized patients need special trauma therapy, especially a protected setting and approach in the beginning (15). This includes the establishment of inner safe places and activation of inner helper parts as resources for protection and stabilisation. My therapeutic task is also to urge patients to disrupt any ongoing contact with a perpetrator or with an abusive life situation (16). Those affected need appreciation of their fear, shame and guilt feelings as well as a very cautious communication of their traumatic experiences. Working on their biophysical armoring in a lying position is contraindicated. It was experienced mostly as intolerable, destabilizing, and sometimes re-traumatizing when I tried to do this in my first years as therapist. Rather, a body position in full self-control as well as great empathy into the patient’s limit and tolerance are a must. They need to reconnect with their body and sexuality carefully with a slow finding of their way back to their emotions, sensations, fundamental needs and wishes. Also, they have to learn to communicate these appropriately in trustworthy human relationships, above all in a loving sexual partnership. Reading (or talking) about Reich’s descriptions of genitality and orgastic potency is experienced as categorizing, pushing and distressing by abused patients.
Many people, especially teenagers and young adults have incredibly high aspirations of their sexual performance, and distress intrudes epidemically from the social into the intimate sphere, a sphere, which should actually be free of any ambition. The media play a major role in this exploitation of human longings. Therefore my task in practice is above all to release people from their sexual aspirations, pressure and distress. My therapeutic focus is on the development of a genuine, candid rediscovering of their very own individual sexuality. I encourage a self-caring and playful diving into sexual curiousity, pleasure and letting go. In addition to inner readiness and opening for a sexual contact, people need freedom from ambition, intention and purpose for a loving and fulfilling sexual contact. Only with inner freedom and plenty of time for sex, can diving into timelessness be experienced. This is true not only for abused patients.
4.6 POT is not very economical in face of the required investment of time, expense and effort, and has low efficacy with regard to the defined therapy goal.
Another factor in this poor economy is that the model of the three-layered armoring does no longer apply best to a changed structure of armoring and character of most (of my) patients, mainly of the generations born after 1970. Also, the lengthy dissolving of layers of armoring from outside towards the core is not the most economic way. All points which are discussed in section 4. contribute to the poor economy and efficacy of the classical method of POT.
4.7 Multiple dissociation and inner diversity (parts, selves, facets, modi or states) – the modern structure of armoring in Central Europe
Reich described in Character Analysis his model of the neurotic armoring as only one of several possible ones. But isn’t it a fact that orgone therapists since Reich’s times primarily apply this three-layers-model? I for myself mainly used this model for two decades, even when working on other biopathies. The biophysical and emotional structures of most of my patients today are fundamentally different from those of decades ago. This is true for the young, white, central European educated patient. In southern Europe and in other still more patriarchally shaped societies the neurotic structure may certainly prevail. According to my observations over three decades in my practice in Germany, POT and classical character analysis are only suited for a few patients who still reveal the classical layering of armoring. Therefore, the original model is no longer applicable today for the greatest number of my patients, especially for those born after 1970.
These patients no longer reveal any clear neurotic patterns and manifest almost no muscular armoring, but a quite different structure with the main characteristics of detachment, dissociation and inner flight. This change probably has to do with a different neuroendocrine processing of stress. To my understanding, the neurotic structure processes stress through the adrenalin metabolism, the dissociative structure however through the cortisol metabolism. Further research will reveal more about these relations (17). In any way, I had to adapt my method to the changed conditions. Progressive therapists in Germany also report this change of psychodynamic structure in younger generations. Working for a long time with this clientele, I observed that the classical approach produced resistance and reinforcement of old dysfunctional patterns, worsening of symptoms, new symptoms and sometimes even re-traumatisation. In my first years of therapeutic work I had many endless courses of therapy due to this phenomenon. The results of POT and CA are not good with those patients, which meanwhile constitute 80-90% of my clientele.
The “modern” armor appears no longer layered orderly around the core: loose parts are distributed erratically, and often disconnected from each other within the energy field. The personality is more dissociated, chaotic, fragile, porous, unstable, but also more emotional, authentic, flexible, independent, multifaceted and creative. Correspondingly, there is usually a lack of self-identity, orientation, self-worth and self-coherence. Although I find that most of these patients are highly sensitive, they seem to be detached from their body. This structure needs special therapeutic techniques of disarmoring and integration, and one has always to recognize with which part of the self we work in therapy at a given time. Even those few with the old neurotic layering profit a lot from my modified approach. I also realize the potentials of clients with this new structure and utilize these techniques effectively for the treatment and healing process. Of course there is still physical armor as a functional expression of the special disorder, but not as concrete and tangible in tense musculature, fat or flabbiness as in the neurotic structure. The armor appears within deeper tissues and body functions. More suitable for my practice became a model which is shaped by the so-called ’structural dissociation‘ (11, 18) and by patterns of a highly sensitive personality (19). This special inner reality can be described as a multi-modal self in contrast to the former relative consistent and rigid ego of the neurotic structure. Several therapy schools meanwhile work with this concept of inner diversity, which is more or less integrated resp. dissociated (10, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22).
A dissociated state can be defined as an organized system of inner experience and behaviour, bound together by a common principle. This is not only an autobiographic memory of experiences in childhood (the “inner child”), but also an anachronistic adaption strategy and a formerly successful behaviour program. Therefore it cannot easily be dissolved. The same is basically true for neurotic armoring. The difference in the new structure lies in the relative detachment or dissociation of one part from the core, and that it is separated from other parts through a more or less permeable dividing line. The contents of a dissociated part are not only emotional impulses, but whole organized functional units: affective-cognitive schemes, states of mind, relational representations, personality parts, neural networks, coping strategies, working models and physiological functions. I read about some extreme cases of patients in whom some of those parts suffered from a distinct disease, such as diabetes or cortical blindness, but the other parts of the body and personality were free of it. This dissociation within deep tissue and organ function could be proved in the case of diabetes through blood lab tests, in the case of cortical blindness through electrophysiological measurements, in which visual evoked potentials (VEP) were absent in the blind states but normal and stable in the seeing states (23). The switch between these states could happen momentarily. The patient with dissociative identity disorder (DID) after 15 years of diagnosed cortical blindness gradually regained sight during Ego-State-Therapy (24). Stone describes inner selves as follows:
„Each of these inner Selves reveals two motivations: a ‚Personality Motivation‘ and an ‚Essence Motivation‘. The personality motivation is to help us establish safety, security, and well-being, as defined by its particular perspective. When operating from the personality motivation of any character trait, we are typically on automatic pilot. Whereas the essence motivation is to help us unfold our essential nature – the pure, unadulterated expression of who we are, as seen through its particular lens. When we are operating from the essence motivation of any character trait, there is often a clarity, purity, and precision to our choices. All character traits/selves fall somewhere on the spectrum between the ‚primary‘ side and the ‚disowned‘ side. When a Self falls on the disowned side of the spectrum, it tends to be more hidden, less accessible, or even untapped. People who push the buttons of another person probably embody one of the disowned Self.“ An example: „The personality motivation of the ‚Accomodator‘ is to give in order to get love and respect. Its essence motivation is to harmonize one’s world. If the ‚Accomodator‘ is primary, one may be preoccupied with pleasing others at the expense of one’s own well-being. One would feel taken advantage of by others, leading to feelings of resentment, would judge others as selfish, entitled or insensitive. If the ‚Accomodator‘ is disowned, one may be preoccupied with one’s own needs and interests, one would be seen as thoughtless and self-serving and one would judge others as wishy-washy, people-pleasing, or spineless“ (25).
The evolutionary advantage of this new structure of inner diversity lies in the fact that the opening from core towards periphery stays wider and is more flexible than in neurotic structures. Core emotions flow more freely and can be expressed more easily. The whole organismic system is more flexible and creative; therefore many core functions (selves, states) can be utilized therapeutically as resources to help dissolving and/or integrating dissociated armored parts. Special therapy techniques have to be applied here (16, 20).
Two models of structure of armoring: neurotic (old, left) and dissociative (new, right)
Models of armoring and personality are always auxiliary constructions to illustrate the condition in a simplified pictorial way. Inner realities are certainly much more complex and probably different than represented by a relatively simple model.
4.8. In all of my patients, even in those who developed genitality, I detected a considerable amount of deeply seated armoring, namely in the eye/brain segment, pelvic segment and chest segment, even after years of POT and CA
Obviously, there were therapy-resistant parts, which had been deeply suppressed or dissociated or even split off. What I found: thought patterns in the eye/brain segment, such as chronic worrying, analyzing, categorization, controlling, judgment and ignorance. For therapeutic purposes, I call these personality part-selves the inner “thinker”, “controller”, “analyzer”, “pusher”, “perfectionist”, “doubter”, “critic” and “judge”. These obsessive states of scoring, doubting and judging are especially deeply seated and even more destructive than the usual chaotic noise of thoughts in our heads which “only” broods over past and future events. It is a conflicting way of thinking in categories of “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, which attack others and agonizes the own self.They reach from doubtful, competetive, antagonistic to hostile and hateful. What is missing here is curious evaluation, differentiation, mediation, understanding and tolerance.
The more one’s thinking is influenced by subconscious contents from the amygdala and from implicit memory the worse it can become – in contrast to the more differentiating conscious processes from the hippocampus and explicit memory. The chronicity of this mental dysfunction is an intensive dissociation between the implicit and the explicit realm. I wonder what we can learn one day from the energetic function of the corpus callosum in balancing the left with the right hemisphere. Behind these thought patterns is a hidden ruler of the destructive process, namely dissociated arrogance, haughtiness and pride (Lat. superbia). This armored state is responsible for a deep – conscious or subconscious – state of feeling separated from one’s inner and outer nature. This is actually not surprising, as this kind of mental armoring prevails in our civilisation. Fascinating is Jill Bolte Taylor’s book Stroke of Insight, in which she, an American neuroanatomist, described the mental functions in her own brain stroke and while recovering from it (26).
As a regular equivalent of therapy-resistant armoring in the pelvic segment, I found deeply imprinted feelings of guilt, being unworthy, inadequate or insufficient. These are not only related to sexuality but to the whole existence. Whenever I detected them, I also found some kind of haughtiness. This fact seems logical to me, because it is arrogance which sets oneself up as judge over anyone and everything. It makes no difference in destructiveness, whether it condemns another person or oneself.
Reich assumed that human armoring might have begun with the rising of consciousness, possibly in the moment when he realized with fright that he could observe his own percieving and thinking. “It is impossible to say what perpetuated this blocking of emotions and with it the loss of organismic unity and “paradise” (27). In the same chapter he wondered, if this splitting off was an error of nature (due to fright). It seems plausible to me that haughtiness and feelings of guilt/inferiority as a placing oneself above or below creation/God are the keys for the perpetuation of armoring. This lack of true self-worth is so deep and pandemic that I assume it is passed from one generation to the next through children’s upbringing, but also epigenetically and through other pathways. Yet, at the same time I assume it to be an essential step in the evolution of human consciousness. Because the whole sense and purpose of it is the rediscovering and feeling of one’s true self-worth. If the human being would have reacted healthily and not armored at that moment, but would have instead answered the beauty of creation (of his own consciousness) with wonder, joy, gratitude and love, instead of revolt, the evolution of human consciousness would have arrived instantly at its aim and finished then. Because, for what would human consciousness be needed if not for becoming aware of the paradise and God inside oneself, even if it would take eons?
Ayur-Veda, probably the oldest tradition of knowledge, described several thousand years ago the functional interaction (interplay) between the observer (sanskrit: rishi), the observed (devata) and the observational process (chandas) as the origin of human consciousness. This process by which we seem to construct our world was proved by quantum physics. Biological (vegetative) life can be reduced to the fundamental antithesis of expansion and contraction on the orgone energetic level, and pleasure and anxiety on the emotional level. The mental attitude towards life can be reduced to the antinomy of humbleness versus and haughtiness, on the level of intrinsic value it’s self-worth versus guilt. These very old patterns of armoring with haughtiness and judgment in the head, feelings of inferiority and guilt in the pelvis perpetuate indeed the human misery: they result in discontent, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, unsatiable hunger and greed (Lat. avaritia) for recognition, love, and secondarily for money, wealth etc. The third segment in which I found therapy-resistant armoring is the chest segment: its contents are emotional stinginess, withholding of love, (self-)forgiving, joy and freedom.
Meanwhile, I found techniques for tracing these deep resistant patterns of the human armor to bring them into the awareness of the patient in an empathic, supportive way. In fact, during the last decade of my practice I developed a new way of deep character work which is much more successful than my previous methods. Always having the human core as goal in mind, I use a combination of helpful techniques from various therapy methods: hypnosystemic parts work (7), EMDR (28), Brainspotting (29), Traumatherapy (10, 16, 18, 19, 21, 11, 21); Ego-State-Therapy (22, 24), Inner Child Healing (30), Internal Family System Therapy (5), Voice Dialogue (6), Inner Relationship Focusing (13, 14), Energy Psychology (31), Impact-techniques (9), Shadow Work (32).
POT provides an excellent interpersonal bonding between therapist and patient. This is one of its greatest benefits. Yet, patients with the new structure need first of all a self-aware, self-coherent and self-regulating intra-personal bonding, because this is lacking. They must learn to stay with their dissociative states and constructively cope with the disagreeable aspects. In a new characteranalytic way it is possible to reintegrate the dissociated self-parts and recover those slumbering core resources which lie below them. The basis for this is a truthful and self-accepting attitude of the patient towards himself. As soon as a “safe place”, an “objective observer”, a “room of inner truth”(33), an “advocate”, the “free child”, a “best friend”, an “ideal mother” and – most important – an “inner mediator or team leader” are established internally as reliable sources and also exercised at home, the whole emotional system is positively stabilized and opened from within. It becomes a safe and rich source of energy, a healing frame to dissolve and/or integrate the disagreeable armored parts relatively smoothly from core towards periphery.
It is not possible to dissolve the fundamental armoring of feeling guilty, inferior, inadequate or insufficient (seated deeply in the pelvic tissues), by calming them repetitively. If they are covered and hidden, which is quite often the case, they need to be made conscious. In order to overcome them I need at first to trace and bring the corresponding haughtiness in the eye-/brain function into awareness. It is always this “inner judge” who pronounces others (and also oneself) guilty. While working on feelings of guilt and insufficiency, I ask then, which inner voice is pronouncing guilt or is judging. And so we get a trace to the “inner critic” and “inner judge”, and from there to haughtiness, arrogance and pride. The therapist requires great empathy, sensitivity and unconditional acceptance, while the patient requires openness, courage and sincerity, and both require humor.
The basis for this work is a mutual trust to handle this very delicate and vulnerable kind of armoring. As soon as the degree of one’s inner destructivity becomes fully aware to the patient, rationalisation and belittlement often serve to conceal deep shame. “Humans are like that, everybody is judging all the time”. “One has to make clear, what is right and wrong”, and other half-truths. Haughtiness with its conflicting thinking on one side and feelings of guilt and inferiority on the other side are the most destructive forces, because they separate the human being from his inner and outer nature while placing him above or below it. Anger and anxiety are quite often a defense against the other two: haughtiness and inferiority. The first one, the “controller” wants to invent life, other people and oneself, as “he” thinks they would be better. I want to draw attention to the excellent, helpful book by Byron Brown: Soul without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within (34).
After having pacified and smoothly integrated the “inner judge” to a certain degree, the method of “Inner Child Healing” is highly efficient for dissolving deep and early wounds from violations, feelings of guilt, insufficiency and inferiority (30).The goal of some methods of meditation or deep relaxation is to achieve relative silence of thoughts and being in the here and now. This can be very helpful and beneficial, but is no true solution to the dilemma. I help patients to understand, accept and pacify these unpleasant facets, building an “inner mediator” who finally transforms these into their underlying core expressions. Evolution challenges us to find a way out of the illusion of being separated from nature which is the result of judgment and guilt. Humans need to learn to take daily steps away from (self)critizising and (self-)judging towards evaluating and marvelling, from arrogance to humbleness, true self-worth and full responsibility for one’s subconscious co-creation in life.
4.9: Mysticism or (sub)conscious memories of the self-aware orgone?
More and more people long for an authentic reconnection (Lat. re-ligio) with nature, cosmos and the divine (within oneself and within creation) than in former times. With this they want to be free from any church, doctrine and superstition. Patients ask me for professional help to find the connectedness in themselves and also to find their individual purpose in life. In this sense, I see transpersonal, transcendent experiences as a human basic need. The reconnecting pathways might be very individual, for instance through being in nature, watching the nightly sky, in music, meditation, playing with babies, melting in sexual embrace, etc. Reich understood mysticism as a distorted perception with splitting off of inner sensations and emotions and their projection into a super-natural realm. Any good therapist today is able to detect mystical projection, especially in the eye-/brain segment. He/she would know, how to trace any tendency of avoidance of emotions, conflicts, pain, change, sexuality, which is called ‘spiritual bypassing’ (35).
I saw some patients who revealed this tendency, and I see many people with genuine longing and authentic experience. Reich understood the natural cosmic longing as a function of superimposition of the organismic orgone with the cosmic orgone. Couldn’t it be that the orgone energy in an individual human not only superimposes with the cosmic orgone, but actually bears self-conscious traces (memories) of its functions from beyond our three dimensions? Maybe we are just not yet able to recognize them? To me, cosmic longing and other genuine spiritual experiences are fundamental functions of the orgonotic sense and of the human core. ‘Cosmic connectedness’ and ‘transcendence’ are more appropriate and consistent terms than the old term ‘religion’, because of the close relation of the latter to church, dogma and cult. This is a “wide field” which bears many interesting questions and fascinating clinical observations.
4.10 Orgonomists need an unbiased opening to new insights, creative imagination and courage to let their method grow functionally and develop new perspectives.
Reich described cosmic superimposition in three dimensions, although he might have thought it in four. Meanwhile, more dimensions are imaginable, a multi-verse with parallel realities and non-linear time. Astro-physicists like Edward Witten for instance work mathematically with nine dimensions. Mechano-mysticism can also be understood as a man-made, rigid constraint on the current materialistic-scientific paradigm which sees the tangible 3-D-world as the unique reality. Orgonomic research experiences a similar limitation as current science does, e.g. when it is necessary to answer questions which should transcend dimensions, experiments and thought patterns from old school science are still used. This often results in circular arguments. To overcome this limitation one needs new ways of thought and experiment and an open, transcendent mind.
Reich writes: “It might happen that someone would step up and ask the question, ‚Does it (the atmospheric Orgone –italics mine) has consciousness?‘ Now, I deny it. I deny it. But I couldn’t prove that I’m right. And here is the breaking point between natural-scientific and mystic-religious attitudes. I learned to respect religious thought. I have to confess that. I didn’t twenty years ago. I began to see how deep the religious probing goes, how deep down, even though it is mystical. In reading Buddha or Christ or any other theory, It’s incredible how much these founders of religion knew about the orgonomic functionalism. It’s incredible! Disguised, or not in scientific terms, but the basic cosmic laws were known somehow. And here I think the discussions of the future will take place, at this borderline here. Perception, consciousness, self-awareness, and spirit, absolute God. The present standpoint is, of course, there must be somewhere a transitional realm where on the one side self-awareness is not there yet, and on the other side it is there. And in between it somehow develops…“ (36).
Is cosmic longing the deeply embedded reminiscence by the organismic orgone of its own source which it brought along Reich’s transitional realm? This realm could be the varying individual degree of self-consciousness of the organismic orgone; its awareness of imprinted information (memories) of its existence within other realms. Why shouldn’t orgone be self-aware of its origin in the cosmic orgone ocean and simultaneously conscious of its individual energy within this cosmic orgone ocean? Why should the self-aware orgone unit end at the moment of death? This seems less logical to me than an endlessly pulsating consciousness. Here, we may be dealing with three pairs of common functional principles:1. human consciousness and the self-aware orgone within the body 2. self-aware organismic orgone and cosmic orgone and 3. individual self-aware orgonotic memories in a conscious human being and their indivdual traces of memories within the cosmic orgone ocean.
Free orgone energy is certainly neither limited to the mechanistic 3-D worldview of orthodox science, nor to the narrow human capacity to think functionally, cosmically and freely. I like the idea that the individual organismic orgone is kept existing as an information unit within the cosmic orgone ocean, governed by it, and that it might “collapse” again into life, as Goswami describes it from his quantum physics perspective (37). Isn’t the cosmic orgone eternally creating, e.g. through the biogenesis of life? The newly created life is shaped by two individual orgone units, which superimpose, melt and convey not only consciousness from the cosmic orgone ocean but also individual self-aware traces from where they come from. In this transcendent realm there cannot be intellectual logic nor analytical exactness, only probabilities, plausibilities and imaginations. In the subjective realm we experience emotions and sensations by the orgonotic sense. In analogy to quantum physics which has to be used to describe quantum processes, we have to extrapolate into cosmic fields, even if the orgone is the common functional principle. In order to accomplish this, therapists and researchers need an open mind and creative imagination.
Any conclusion which cannot be excluded, must be allowed to be thought. Reich once wondered if he could be an alien. It must not be forbidden to feel out new paths with new concepts and to reshape an old map when it becomes necessary and helpful. No possibility must be excluded only because it appears unconventional. At the same time, a possibility should only be discarded if it really can be excluded. Reich expressed this open thinking again and again. Thus, a scientific vision may produce new contexts, which exceed the addition of facts and may transform speculative probabilities into tangible possibilites. Play of thoughts and a knowledge base don’t exclude each other. When we exclude them, we stand still. In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass the Queen said to Alice:“…sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast“ (38).
5. Rediscovering human’s memories of the many slumbering core resources and re-activation of their expression – my vision as a therapist
There is much greater potential within the human core than we are aware of. Reich discovered the biological core and described it basically in Character Analysis. Humans have many more core expressions than we consciously know. And those which are known are not consciously applied with benefit, neither in life nor in therapy. Yet, they have great relevance to free and strengthen the human core and thus emotional health. I like to apply the image of a huge reservoir of core resources, which heal the desert land (armoring) once it has become known and has opened its gates. The keys to the direct approach to the human core are the embedded memories of the organismic orgone of its own core functions. Though I am not a Platonist, Plato convinces me in saying in his dialogue Phaidon that human consciousness (self-aware orgone) has to be older than the body, because humans grasp an abstract concept (idea), which they actually couldn’t understand due to their physical limitations (39). According to him there is a realm of ideas or forms (eidei), which exist independently of anyone who may have thoughts of these ideas. They “exist” in a “third realm” distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of thinking.
In regard to the human core, I have been studying, for many years, any possible connections between segments, their corresponding anatomical nervous plexus, glands, hormones and their physiochemical and energetic correlations to the chakras.
Chakras are energy centers embedded in the orgone field and have been known for thousands of years in Asian healing schools. I learned to sense and diagnose the human chakras, meridians and energy field with my hands and fingers in an intensive course with cardiologist Janine Fontaine, M.D., in Paris. She had studied with healers in the Philippines (40) for many years. I also learned directly from healers in the Philippines. There is a vast traditional knowledge of meridians as concentrated energy channels in the body from TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). Chakras seem to transform energy (Orgone, Qi) into the endocrine and nervous systems, but there is only a little research on this (41, 42). It is clear to me that Reich’s segments correlate with the autonomic nervous system through the ganglia and plexus, and also with the endocrine system, glands, chakras and meridians. Especially the hormones play an essential role for the emotional and energy level regulation and thus for the overall degree of well being and health. I could write extensively about these correlations, yet, it would go beyond the frame of this article. In short, the main glands of the human body – and the chakras in the orgone field – are approximately correlated to and embebbed in the seven segments. They function as specific energy producers and/or energy distributers in the glands and the chacras as energy transformers. These correlations expand our knowledge of the segments.
Along my professional path, by learning from other fields and by my own observation and experience, I came upon the following correlations of core expressions and the seven segments and chakras which I assembled into a “Manual of Sanities”. They have been known for a long time in many different philosophies, religions and cultures. Therapy methods which are resource oriented like “Positive Psychology” work with a few of them. They are inherent and expressed from childhood on, even in babies, at least as seeds in individual degrees and variations. For instance, I see little kids already express – even within difficult and painful life conditions – openness, wisdom, clarity, curiosity, trust, contentment, creativity, confidence, free giving by emotional sharing, and above all bubbling joy and love. How are these core expressions built? Certainly not by the socializing process. Where do they originate and how do they emerge? Did the cosmic orgone bring them into life, as one of its general qualities or are they individual, self-aware traces of memories? Do we become conscious of the already self-aware orgonotic core resources within our individual development or during human evolution, or both? There is no „Tabula Rasa“ before the arising of individual human consciousness – this deadly behaviouristic dogma by John Locke. One must be allowed to ask „Where do we come from, what are we and where do we go?“, and to doubt the axiom of mechanistic science that consciousness is possible only within the material body.
Correlations: segments, chakras, glands, hormones and core resources (survey only)
As a matter of fact, the inbuilt core resources can be nurtured and fertilized so that they will blossom and bear fruit. This might happen during childhood or later in life to varying degrees; or they may shrink and thus become blocked parts.The pineal and the thymus glands are atrophied in western adults. The reason might be that they are not used as intensively as they could be. It is my aim in therapy to rediscover, develop and let express the many slumbering core resources as quickly and extensively as possible. It means helping my patients to remember their true inner selves. Possibly human misery is due to the fact that man has forgotten who he really is: a beautiful, decent, wise, creative, powerful, loving, self-aware divine creation. As easy as it is to regress patients into painful childhood memories, I can bring them back into joyful and loving early memories, into the prenatal phase and also into the moment of their beginning awareness within the body. Last but not least, I am able to awaken in most patients some clear transcendent memories of their lightful energy body, which is, in my understanding, their self-conscious orgonotic essence from beyond three-dimensionality. I call it soul energy, or soul energy consciousness, because the human core is – from its initial awareness in the womb – more than just biophysical energy. It is Giordano Bruno’s “divine light”, the true human core-self.
I reactivate these core resources by letting a patient remember them through their ‚felt sense’. A tool amongst others is the resonance of the word of the core expression itself, e.g. compassion or serenity, to reactivate the reminiscence of how it is felt and sensed. I encourage my patients to remind themselves intensively how it was to feel and sense like that and then to imagine these memories to revive them. Positive recollections and imaginative processes are highly effective in therapy, according to the motto „It is never too late for a happy childhood“. Many patients are astonished how quickly they get into contact with their felt memories, for instance with freedom, graciousness, lightness, honesty, self-love and bliss. And usually they are able to keep these felt memories of their core resources. Meanwhile most of my patients come to me with full responsibility to recognize their core resources and to release as many of their core expressions as possible; and by doing this to dissolve the armoring from core to periphery.
Reich assumed that a regular full sexual-energetic discharge is the key for a continous, lively love in partnership. I also see it vice versa: sexual surrender and fulfillment are based on love and on freedom from any fixation (i.e. conflicting thinking in the brain; feelings of guilt and insufficiency in the pelvic segment). Even if most patients don’t reach genitality and orgastic potency, they still can learn to live ever more fully from their core. My heartfelt intent is to help as many people as possible to become truly human. I am convinced that the path to genitality and orgastic potency for most people has to go through a blossoming of their core expressions. So I searched for new ways to rediscover the human core resources and reactivate their expressions more directly and more intensively than I did before. In finding these, I especially marveled how open, loving, giving, and (self-)forgiving the human heart can become – much more open than we usually imagine (43). We know from special research that the electromagnetic field of the heart is up to 5000 times stronger than the field produced by thinking. It has a diameter up to several meters.
Friedrich Schiller wrote:“Since Aristoteles we know what democracy is. And yet, humanity stayed barbaric. Thus, humans will only change, when they read their mind through their heart.” The complete healing of haughtiness and pride in the eye-/brain segment and of feelings of guilt and insufficiency in the pelvic segment is only possible from a fully opened, warm, soft and (self-)forgiving heart. Like St. Éxupéry’s ‚Little Prince‘ we only see the world, others and ourselves well with the heart. For that we need to rediscover, remember, feel, sense and express all of our heart resources. We have to pacify arrogance and judgement in the brain and to dissolve guilt and inferiority in the pelvis; and finally we heal completely only through merciful (self-)empathy, (self-)acceptance and (self-)forgiveness from the heart. Nelson Mandela experienced this during his 27-years long internment in South Africa and Viktor E. Frankl in his inprisonment in the concentration camp of Auschwitz: „The first time in my life, I experience the truth of that which so many thinkers emphasized as the last answer and so many poets sung about; the truth that love is somehow the highest to which the human existence is able to soar. I grasp now the sense of this ultimate, what human poets and thinking and belief do express: the release through love and in love!“ (3a).
The more core resources are recovered and core emotions can be expressed, the sooner true humaneness and surrender to life will be established. In other words: a more intense energetic pulsation, a better regulated energy household and a more stable orgastic potency for more people will only develop with the capacity to overcome mental bias and arbitrariness, with regained simplicity and playfulness of the “free child“, and last but not least with “thinking, feeling, sensing and having sex with the heart”. This is my envisioned goal.
Therapists who take functionalism seriously need the courage to think outside the box, at least sometimes. Otherwise, their world-view and methodology would become fossilized as in psychoanalysis and would only conserve a belief-system instead of growing a lively science. It is a fact that the most progressive therapies perpetuate themselves for a long time. But then they need to wake up. I don’t want to hurt any colleagues’ feelings, and everyone has to decide for themselves, but my ethos had developed to be loyal more to my patients and to improve the efficacy of my work than to stay loyal to an intimate, beloved method at the price of anachronism. Reich’s basic discoveries are still deep and valid truths for me. At the same time I had to widen my perspective. Everything is in flux; science and art are changing their forms, people change their structure, etc. I believe that if Reich were still alive, he would of course have developed and transformed his therapeutic approach; he would have included new insights and observations, as well as findings from other fields, because he always moved forward. So what do we fear?
Our true fear indeed is is not the fear of being insufficient or being haughty; it is the fear of knowing our own „divine light“, as Giordano Bruno wrote: „The Divine Light is always in man, presenting itself to the senses and to the comprehension, but man rejects it“ (44). It is our true worth, splendor and power, which Marianne Williamson described so beautifully and Nelson Mandela quoted at his Nobel Prize inaugural speech 1994: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” (45).
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