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, 07:45:28 am »
It may seem impossible for any real use to be made of this great mass of material - as soon asit stops being simplistic, it becomes unmanageable! In practice, though, we get immense helpfrom the system of character analysis; not so much on the level of intellectual understandingas through a developing capacity to recognise character attitudes on a gut level. Much of whatwe are saying about character is embedded in the folk wisdom of our language itself, with allits body-imagery: 'stiff-necked', 'gut feeling', 'arselicker', 'pushy', 'cold-hearted'. All theseterms are direct pointers to the essence of someone's character structure.Now we turn towards what we can call the 'bridge' character positions which seem to turn upso frequently. These manifest when a person seems to exist mainly between two adjacentcharacter positions: between holding and crisis, for example, or between boundary and oral;either oscillating between the two according to circumstances, or else firmly straddling thedivide and combining elements of each into a personal synthesis.
Boundary/Oral Bridge
 This is the common intellectual character position: trying to make words and ideas into a self-sufficient reality; using them as nourishment as protection, as contact as erotic play, as asubstitute for the life of the
self-contained within the
. There is often an importantseat of tension at the physical junction between the two segments, the soft palate and theinternal cavity of the head; there can be a sense of a 'watcher' inside the head, unable to let gointo the sensuous life of the body through fear of being overwhelmed. Conversely, a valuablequality of this intellectual position is its resistance to being overwhelmed by feeling, and bypressure of other people.
Oral/Control Bridge
 Someone in this position is going to find it impossible to express any needs they may have.They may end up indirectly acting out their needs by taking care of other people - treatingthem as small and weak, whether they are or not, because that is how they feel themselvesinside. But there will be a bossy, 'for-your-own-good' quality to the supposed caring whichwill generally alienate its recipients. Some social workers, politicians and therapists are actingfrom this part of themselves.
Control/Holding Bridge
 Here the jammed-up, stuck, inflated side of each of these positions is emphasised, and theindividual may have a very off-putting 'constipated' quality to them. Rather than controllingthemselves in the holding style, they may try to control
other people
, expressing punitive,moralistic and repressive attitudes. Here we find the classic bureaucrat who secretly lovessitting on everyone else's freedom and initiative. But also, instead of letting go themselves,they may try to force other people to let go, in a style of repressive liberalism or radicalism.'PC' behaviour can be used as a channel for this sort of attitude.In the background of the control/holding bridge there is always a little girl or boy tryingdesperately, but hopelessly, to be
: good enough to be acceptable. In their drive forgoodness they may lay waste to whole families or communities.
Holding/Thrusting Bridge
 This produces the ultimate
character, binding all their energy into tense musculature andfixed attitudes: a combination of the holder's terror of opening up, and the thruster's terror of collapse. People in this position often have very strict moral codes and strong consciences,blaming themselves heavily for any slight lapse from grace. There is often an underlying