Orgonomy and the Work of Wilhelm Reich

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    • 00:01

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH: I'm Dr. Patricia Frisch,and I'm a licensed psychologist and licensedmarriage and family therapist in the state of California.I'm also founder and director of the Orgonomic Instituteof northern California.And the purpose of the institute isto train individuals internationally and here

    • 00:23

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: in California and in the United States in the theoryand clinical practice of Dr. Wilhelm Reich.The training program, with the use of CDs as well as classesin my office, helps to train professional therapistsand students who are in the universities

    • 00:44

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: to understand the work of Wilhelm Reichand to learn his treatment strategies and clinical model.So what does orgonomy mean?Orgonomy is a term coined by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, whowas an analyst, a scientist, and a physician.

    • 01:05

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: He coined the term orgonomy after his discoveryof orgone energy in his laboratory.Orgonomy is a broad, comprehensive term.It includes his research in discoveringa viable physical energy in all living, functioning entities.

    • 01:30

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: It's also this very comprehensive clinical methodthat is both psychological, mind-based, and somaticallybased.So it covers the classical foundationof somatic psychology or mind-body medicine.It also includes all of his other topics,

    • 01:51

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: which are very broad.He's such a Renaissance man.And he wrote on child rearing, sociopolitical issues, weather,family dynamics, and other theories and practicesthat internationally now are beingwritten about and researched.

    • 02:12

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: So the field of orgonomy is largeand has a great deal of breadth to it.Let's talk about the circumstancesof how Reich made these very interesting discoveries.He was a physician and in the field of psychiatry.

    • 02:34

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And he became a student and colleague of Sigmund Freud.He became very versed in the analytic circles in Vienna.He was a second-generation analyst.And he wrote his first paper on the impulsive character.He taught and devoted himself to psychoanalysis.

    • 02:58

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: But being an innovative, creative man that Reich was,he began to continue his own interests parallel to Freud.He was very interested in the social causation of neurosis.He was interested in issues of sexual gratification.And he was also a scientist studying.

    • 03:18

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: Slowly, he began to diverge slightly from Freud.And then there were serious conflicts,which I will go over what the areas were.And then he began to do his own theory and multiple booksand writings that were clearly Wilhelm Reich's concepts.

    • 03:41

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: He diverged, first of all, with the concept of libido.That's an analytic term for primary drives.And he agreed with Freud initially about libido.But as he began to research and developthis interest in energy, he beganto see libido as-- that there was

    • 04:03

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: a real, viable, physical energy in the cosmosand in human beings, whereas Freud landed ultimatelythat libido was a singular, psychic energy only.Freud had started being interestedin the physical symptoms of patients and the correlationwith the physical symptoms and the psychic disturbance.

    • 04:26

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: But he ultimately landed, as I said,with libido not being a physical energy.Secondly, Reich began to diverge from the psychoanalytic methodof blank screen.The analysts at the time relied on free association,interpretation, and dream analysis predominantly.

    • 04:51

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: Reich became impatient with what hesaw as a more passive approach.He was much more engaged with patients.And he saw that the character formed layers of defensethat were right in the room.The goal of analysis is for the patient

    • 05:11

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: to make contact with very deep feelings in a real wayand that that examination helps to create health.But if there are defenses right in the room with the analyst,maybe the patient is silent, maybe the patientis frustrated with the analyst, maybe the patient

    • 05:34

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: has different defenses up, then they won't make contactwith the depth of feeling that reallyis important for the work.Reich understood that, so he did notwant to sit passively with the patient sometimes hiddenbehind their own resistance.He developed concepts of resistance,

    • 05:57

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: how to work with the resistant patient or just the resistancesthat are embedded in the defenses.He also worked with the concept of negative transference,much more than he felt the analysts did.Analysts, Reich felt, were more comfortablewith a positive transference and all the positive feelings

    • 06:17

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: that the patient could feel.But Reich knew that we have negativityand we have negative feelings, and if wedon't deal with those in therapy,the therapist is going to miss the boat.So all to say, Reich diverged from this analytic approach.He developed a very engaged, confrontive, and dynamic

    • 06:40

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: therapy.As he went along, then, developing his own theoriesand separating more from Freud, one of the major discoverieshe made was of orgone energy.He was in the laboratory.He was studying developing protozoa.He used organic materials, blood, charcoal, grass,

    • 07:06

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: and he watched these disintegrateunder the microscope.And what he saw were vesicles, what he termed bions.These were pulsating organic materials, these bions,and they exuded a bluish light.And he named this orgone and orgone energy.

    • 07:30

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And this is one of the things he's known for.And these principles that he saw under his microscope very muchaffected his clinical method.Because he saw the pulsation thatis in the universe, that is in cells, that is in our hearts,that is in our body and in the cosmos.

    • 07:53

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: Everything expands and contracts.And when it's healthy, it has a very kindof vibrant, balanced expansion and contractionthat proceeds on under all conditions.So he understood that when we don't have a good pulsation,when our pulsation is constricted,

    • 08:15

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: that we aren't as healthy.So he developed these important terms-- characterarmor and body armor.And these terms are very basic to his model,because when we have a character that's rigid and stiff,we also have a correlation with that in the body.

    • 08:38

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And then next thing you know, we'renot pulsating in the rhythm of the cosmos.We're rigid, shut down, asexual, and have many, many symptomsand possible diseases.He also looked more towards sexuality

    • 09:01

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: to understand the function of sexualityin the human condition and in health.And he wrote the book The Function of the Orgasm.And this is the term he used-- energy economy, thatto be healthy, we have to release the buildup of energy.

    • 09:23

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: We take in energy with food, we take in energy with oxygen,and then we build up energy.And we need to release energy, kind of in a fluid manner.And exercise, of course, we know helps with release of energy,but so does sexuality.But it wasn't just releasing energy through orgasm.

    • 09:44

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: It was also the surrender.He used the term orgastic potencyto connote the surrender in a loving relationship thatallows for the energy to release.So this was the development of his theoriesthrough these various focal points that distinguished him

    • 10:09

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: ultimately from the analysts, and hedeveloped his own method.One of the parts of his method was character analysis.He wrote the famous book Character Analysis,which is one of the basic books that many therapistsand psychodynamic practitioners refer to because it so

    • 10:30

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: defines how to work in this engaged stylewith the defenses in the room.So I want to address how these theories applyin the real world today.Well, for starters there is a move in integrated medicine

    • 10:50

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: to bring in mind-body approaches.Physicians and med schools are realizing that we can't justapproach health, disease, and the human conditionwith simply technology and medicine.There's a mind and an emotional being

    • 11:13

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: that's also being reflected in their physical condition.If we just, I want to say, throw medicines at usand don't take into account the psychological stanceof the patient, we're going to miss great opportunitiesfor health.So integrated medicine is working much more

    • 11:36

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: in this direction.And of course, they utilize now guided imageryfrom psychology, acupuncture, herbs, meditation, Tai Chi.So there are great strides in integrative medicine.Also today there are many somatic approaches.

    • 11:59

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And for health, people get massage, they do yoga,they do Pilates, they do Feldenkrais, Alexander method.These are methods that utilize help with our bodiesin reducing pain and getting comfort and ease.Orgonomy is a wonderful combination

    • 12:22

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: of the mind and the body.And I want to talk about how the technique actually works.As I mentioned, in a session the therapist, the orgonomist,looks at the character.Reich developed an entire diagnostic typologyof character types, which was elegant.

    • 12:46

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And these character types are visible.Every day we see them, because we know peopleand we know what their style is, how they walk,how they talk, how they interact, their habits.That actually is kind of a character structure.We develop our character structure

    • 13:07

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: from our history and our strategies of survival.And that gets us by, but they're not functional, necessarily,for the rest of our life.They don't bring the best out of us.So the character has to be understood.I mean, there can be, for example,a character type that's very dominating in life,

    • 13:29

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: very successful, aggressive, able to control others,able to get what they want, able to shine, often self-centered.That's not all bad, but there are elements of that charactertype that, when in a family, they'renot as sensitive to children.

    • 13:49

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: They maybe dominate their partner.They may want to control everything.They don't want to give up the control.They may have a lot of anger and aggression underneath.That's, as an example, a specific character type.Well, Reich developed a typology of these character types.He also developed an excellent and elegant map

    • 14:11

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: of body armor, what he called the segmental armoring.And there are seven segments starting with the eyes--the eyes, the mouth, the throat, the chest, the diaphragm,the abdomen, and the pelvis.Now, all those areas, we can feelwhen our gut is holding, when our voice is tight,

    • 14:34

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: when our breath is blocked, when our eyes are blurry,we're not making good contact, we'renot seeing clearly the other or the beauty of naturebecause we have an ocular block.So when you understand the character,you can then also understand the biophysical components, too,

    • 14:57

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: of that character type.So how does the the orgonomist work?A session will start with character analysisand behavioral analysis, checkingin with the way the patient beginsto understand their character.Because the orgonomist is defining that to him or her.

    • 15:19

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: Do you notice that your tendency is to interrupt?Do you notice that your tendency is to control and dominatein the session?Just observe that.So for example, we'll work with that character typeso they begin to understand how it is that they relatethis isn't as contactful and alive and functional

    • 15:42

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: as they could be.Then we may, after we discuss kind of behaviors, too,and how that's manifesting-- maybe their overworking,maybe they're running, maybe they're not with their familyenough, maybe they're stressed from overworkand compulsive working, that particular character type--

    • 16:05

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: we'll work on those behaviors that affect their health.Maybe they're drinking too much.Maybe they're smoking.Maybe they're having an eating disorder, all the behaviorsand healthy or unhealthy habits kind of comeat the source, which is the character.We don't chase the symptom, just treat the symptom, just look

    • 16:26

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: at the symptom.We see the symptom as an outgrowth of the entire person.And when they can understand why they have certain symptomsbecause of how they've learned to survive,they're much better off to getting well.Then we'll put the person on the couch.And this allows us to work in a couple of ways.

    • 16:48

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: One, we work with the breathing.We reinstate healthy breath.Because in the process of being armored, we stop breathing.Or we hold our breath or we constrictor we can't get breath to our belly.So reinstating a natural, easy breath essentiallyreinstates the capacity for pulsation in the body.

    • 17:11

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: We also work directly hands on with the body armoring.So we'll massage or do direct interventions on the eyes,creating more movement in the eyes,penetrating the tight jaw, opening up the throat,pressing on the chest so there's real breath,

    • 17:32

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: working the diaphragm, palpating the abdomen so it relaxes,and working to get the energy from top of the headout through the legs and the pelvis.We also have a mode of exercises wherewe help a person release deep feeling.

    • 17:53

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: In the process of that, they're accessing memories.They're potentially accessing deep trauma--well into the therapy, not at the beginning of treatment.So they can access deep and central memoriesand begin to kind of release feelingsthat were stored in the body that create body armor.

    • 18:15

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And we may have the patient kick or yell or cry or scream.Or that begins to come out naturallyso the patient can really express and releasefeelings and experiences that have been pent up.This is all in the process of a therapeutic relationship that

    • 18:35

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: is very contained and regulated, such that the patient is safeand supported and comfortable to go this deep.The relationship is very important in orgonomic therapy,as well as the therapeutic frame so that the patient

    • 18:56

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: is consistent, dedicated, and committed to this deep growthwork.So the goals of therapy through allof these various modes of orgonomic treatmentis to allow a more alive and contactful state

    • 19:17

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: of mind and expression.And this comes through the recalibrationof the pulsation, which I said, and it recalibratesand regulates the autonomic nervous system.So we have a sympathetic or chronic fight and flightpattern, and we also have the parasympathetic, which

    • 19:39

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: comes on board for rest and digestion and so forth.In our busy, stressful lives, we end upwith chronic fight and flight, way too muchin our nervous system.And so we have always anxiety, whichcan lead them to depression.And we don't sleep well.

    • 20:01

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: We have digestive problems.Because our autonomic nervous system is not regulated.So we want to have a more regulated system,and these techniques really help tore-regulate destructive patterns.And those include addiction and other symptoms where

    • 20:25

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: we try to get ourselves more regulatedand we try to get ourselves relaxed, so we may take drugsor we eat too much or we don't eat enoughor we end up with obesity, cardiac problems,all ways that we're trying, actually, to cope,but we're also having stress reactions in our body.

    • 20:47

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And medicine sees how much stress is related to disease,and orgonomic therapy helps to reduce that stress in the waysthat I've told you.Ultimately, then, psychologicallythe person get can become more creative and self-activated.

    • 21:07

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: You begin to become what Reich calledthe genital character, which is somebodywho is free to be themselves, freeto have meaning in their life, free to follow their purpose,free to become a creative and happy person.They can communicate better, have better relationships,

    • 21:31

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: and learn how to not be armored but berather undefensive and aware in the world,mindful, as we understand from other practices.So how does orgonomy relate to some key disciplinesthat are relevant today?

    • 21:53

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: Reich was, I said, kind of the foundation of somatics.And many different types, I can't even name them all,but certainly core energetics or bioenergeticsor integrated body psychotherapy are some of the methods todaythat relate to Reich's work and are very present today.

    • 22:18

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: And the other is behavioral health disciplines,because again, behavioral health combines the mind, the body,and the spirit to create health.And there are lots of practitioners workingat all those levels with their patients.And orgonomy understood the whole person in that way,

    • 22:38

      DR. PATRICIA FRISCH [continued]: so we make that contribution to havea broad, comprehensive system that allows a patientto become healthy and alive in their life.

Orgonomy and the Work of Wilhelm Reich

View Segments Segment :


Dr. Patricia Frisch discusses the work of Wilhelm Reich in developing orgonomy out of the concept of orgone energy (the viable physical energy present in all living beings) as an extension of Freud's notion of the libido. Dr. Frisch completes her lecture on Reich with a brief look at how his work is relevant to the integrative health/healing practices of today.

Orgonomy and the Work of Wilhelm Reich

Dr. Patricia Frisch discusses the work of Wilhelm Reich in developing orgonomy out of the concept of orgone energy (the viable physical energy present in all living beings) as an extension of Freud's notion of the libido. Dr. Frisch completes her lecture on Reich with a brief look at how his work is relevant to the integrative health/healing practices of today.

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