Author Topic: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton  (Read 895 times)


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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2015, 07:44:40 am »
Perhaps the most important thing about this open state is that it
be pinned down; itsessence is to be mobile, responsive to a moving reality. Thus an 'open character' is notpermanently without blocks: armouring appears in reaction to events and disappears again asthe individual breathes, lets go, cries or laughs or yells or yawns, struggles or accepts - andmoves on.While we are in the open position - and all of us experience it from time to time - we haveaccess to the full range of powers and capacities appropriate to each character positiondescribed above. We manifest these qualities creatively; we can see, think, feed, enjoy, relate,hold on, take our time, assert, reach out and open up, because we are secure in our right toexist to be received, to be validated, to value ourselves, thrust ourselves forward, and choosethe contact we have with others. We have the right to be fully human.There is a special relationship, as we have said, between the open character position and theheart. It is the heart which must be open, and which fills with the sweet richness of love. Theopen heart represents that wholeness and unity of the bodymind to which we have referred;which is one way of saying what so many mystical and initiating traditions have alwaystaught - that the heart is the key to liberation.
 Perhaps all the dragons of our life are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautifuland brave.
 Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
 He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself.
 You may have found the last chapter both too complicated and too simplistic, and it issimplified in the sense that 'nobody is really like that' - it's not possible to reduce a real personto the cardboard categories of the character positions. We can recognise strong elements of anindividual's nature, but there is always a 'yes, but', some other strand or tendency whichmakes the picture richer and more complex.In this chapter we want to show how we can flesh out the bones, and use the concepts of character to generate something more like real human beings. Looked at another way, itmeans that we can use these concepts to understand real human beings. First, though, to helpwith the complex" of the material and the ramification of confusing detail, here is a summaryof the character positions described so far, together with a selection of keywords for eachposition.
A Summary of the Character PositionsBOUNDARY POSITION
 (womb, birth and first weeks)Eye segment block. Theme of existence: the right to be.
: fragility - invasion - unreality
: Perceptive - inspired - psychic
: Distant ... Blank ... Deep ... Vulnerable ... Foggy ... In pieces ... Cold ... Crazy ...Scary ... Weird ... Bizarre ... Paranoid ... Keep off!.
 (feeding, weaning, siblings)Jaw block. Theme of need: the right to be fed and supported.
: Unfair world - misunderstood -.hungry - empty
: Appetite for life - nurturing - eloquent
: Needy ... Exhausting Draining ... Love-starved ... Manipulative ... Persuasive ...Biting ... Sharp-tongued ... Greedy ... Ungrounded ... Sulky ... Arrogant ... Clever ... Tired ...Won't ... Black ...
 (independent play, beginnings of autonomy)Heart block. Theme of validation: the right to have my experience acknowledged.
: No one else is real - need to dominate, to get my way, or else to hide
: Big hearted - leadership - looking after
: Dominant ... Overwhelming ... Seductive ... Bossy ... Charismatic ... Top Dog ...How To Win Friends and Influence People ... Puffed-up ... Insincere ... Impressive ... HardSell ... Cut-off ... Politico ... Hail-Fellow-Well-Met ... Unreal ...
 (toilet training, force feeding, timetabling)Anal block, buttocks, thighs, shoulders. Theme of control: the right to value myself, to takemy time.
: Self-disgust - repression - suffering
: Grounded - patient - determined - compassionate
: Long-suffering ... Painful ... Tortured ... Enduring ... Held-in ... Stuck ... Bursting... Sturdy ... Guilty ... Full of **** ... Arselicking ... Greasy ... Oily ... Sticky ... Repulsive ...Bully, petty tyrant ... Obsessive ... Repetitive ... Maddening ...
 ('wilfulness', clash with authority)Pelvic block against softness. Theme of assertion: the right to take up space, be noticed.
: Competition - revenge - mustn't collapseCreative: Initiative - courage - physicality
: Pushy ... Proud ... Competitive ... Abrasive ... Macho ... Rigid ... Effective ...Overpowering ... Athletic ... Upright ... Golden girl/boy ... Egotistical ... Keeping their acttogether ... Driving ... Driven ... Exhibitionist ...
 (confrontation with gender roles and sexuality)Pelvic block against surrender. Theme of contact: the right to choose, right to play.
: Sexual panic - yes/no - confusion - melodrama
: Playful - graceful - complex - excitingKeywords: Jumpy ... Over-the-top ... Dramatic ... Exciting ... Sexual.. Flirty ... Stirring ...Attractive ... Frustrating ... Confusing ... Evasive/Elusive ... Frozen ... Scared ... Boundary(often first impression) ...
 (resolving of anxiety around surrender)No permanent blocks: armouring forms and melts according to circumstances. Theme of
64surrender: the right to pleasure and creativity.Reality - spontaneity - naturalness - acceptance of what isOur idea in using these keywords is not that each one applies to every person manifesting thatcharacter position. We are aiming more at a 'splatter effect', since we find in practice that if we want to use
terms from one section about a given individual (or other equivalentwords), then that person will be strongly involved with the corresponding character position.So, for example, if I find myself thinking how
a new client is, then Iwill realise that they have a strong
component in their makeup. If I find myself seeing them as
, then I am tuning in to their
material. Or if I experience them as
I am meeting a different sort of oralcharacter; and so on.Clearly, some of the keywords in each section point in very different directions, or evencontradict each other. A given character position can express itself in very different ways: forexample, as either a 'yearning' or a 'denying' attitude. Similarly, one keyword on its ownmight fit with several different character positions; for example, above we have used 'proud'for a thrusting character and 'arrogant' for an oral character. It is the appropriateness of
 keywords from one section that gives us useful information.You will perhaps have noticed that many, though not all, of the keywords have negativeconnotations. As we will explain at more length in Chapter 8, it is often through our negativereactions to clients that we can learn most about their character. But it is important to stressthat no judgement is intended. These are the emotional reactions that the unhealthy aspects of character structure tend to bring up, particularly in the intense atmosphere of the therapysession but also in everyday interactions. They are not, however, assessments of a person'sworth.As well as being differentiated through the yearning or denying attitude involved, eachcharacter position is very much affected by what is going on in the rest of the person besidesthe segment directly concerned. In this context a human being is rather like a hologram, whereeach part both reflects the whole and is reflected in the whole.Let's take as an example the holding character position. As we have seen, this position derivesfrom blocking in the pelvis, especially the anus, buttocks and thighs; this blocking becomes ageneral attitude of holding on, influencing the overall shape of the body (wide and heavy),and creating a tendency to some specific physical traits like heavy shoulders, short neck,sunken eyes and so on. Together with this goes the overall issue of self-disgust and self-control, letting go and holding on.This overall holding position may be combined with blocking in any of the other segments,both those at 'top and tail' - which we have seen as defining the character positions - and in theother 'central' segments - neck, heart, waist and belly. So the basic themes and attitudes willtake on different forms and express themselves through different issues, like a beam of lightshone through different coloured filters.A helpful way of looking at this with the holding position is that in each segment there will beeither an attempt to
hold on
(denying version) or an attempt to
let go
(yearning version),manifested through the physical and emotional repertoire
of that segment
65Thus a holding character with an eye block will either be trying to let go through the eyes andmind, or trying to hold on through the eyes and mind. The issue of boundaries, fragmentationand containment will be there, but as a way of approaching these issues of holding on andletting go. Holding on with the eye segment, then, might result in the development of complexintellectual systems, even obsessions; elaborate, essentially pointless thought processes whichare really a sort of 'mental constipation', never reaching the point. A yearning version,concerned with letting go, might either be mentally 'messy' and chaotic, or else applying thesame sort of systematic order to meditation techniques.A holding character with an oral block tends to show the anal material through the mouth,either as a denying style of tight lips, pinched nostrils and general disgust, as if other peopleleave a bad taste or smell, or as a yearning version which uses the mouth to spread shitaround, a sticky, greasy, oily, 'arselicking' character disguising an underlying spiteful malice.The same principle applies to any combination of blocks with any basic character. A thrustingcharacter with a neck block will be 'stiff-necked', rigid, refusing to bow down to anyone - andas a result refusing any softness and givingness, 'holier-than-thou'. An oral character with aneye block will have issues about being 'fed' through their eyes, and will display either a 'Teachme O Master' passivity (yearning version) or a stubborn refusal to be shown, taught or met(denying version).Thus we can build up the uniqueness of an individual character structure through thecombination of different blocks in the bodymind, and read the 'story' which that combinationtells. It would be pointless, and endless, to try to list every possible combination - likeillustrating every possible fingerprint - but the table summarises the meetings of pairs of different character positions, each of which will in practice be influenced by various degreesand kinds of blocking in all the