Author Topic: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton  (Read 171 times)


  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2015, 08:03:29 am »
psychic phenomena. Because they tend also to be ungrounded, however, separate from theirown bodies and terrified of invasion, their perception of psychic events tends to be confusedand mixed with fantasy and paranoia.The boundary position in each of us reacts in a similar way to the realisation of unity: it seeksto protect its barriers. There is the danger of what Chogyam Trungpa calls 'spiritualmaterialism'- an empty parody of genuine openness in which the ego is secretlycongratulating itself on having 'let go of the ego'. It is fearfully easy either to become puffedup with your incredible psychic talent, or else to give the whole thing away to 'God' or tosome guru in a pompous and insipid religiosity which is a defence against the simple here-and-now reality.Both giving and receiving therapy seem to us forms of active meditation. They are aboutconstantly letting go, constantly coming back to the core, to simplicity, to what is. For both of us, at the moment, there is a special sense of connection with Buddhism, in particular withTibetan Vajrayana Buddhism and its roots in shamanic tradition.Shamanism is the archaic psychic tradition of our planet, which survives in essentially similarforms in many tribal cultures. With its focus on the body, on symbolic death and rebirthprocesses, on energy, on transformation, Reichian therapy is a thoroughly shamanic form of healing. As we go on with the work, it is sometimes as if we are discovering and re-owningall the ancient healing traditions of the world.This was very much what happened to Reich himself - though he unfortunately lacked thebackground knowledge to realise it. Following through his clear and honest perceptions of energy in nature, he ended up totally out on a limb as far as 1950s Western culture wasconcerned; a true witch doctor, creating rain, distributing magical objects, exorcising, andalchemically processing exotic substances. Tragically, he went on insisting that his work was'scientific', appealing for recognition from a scientific community which was hostile toeverything he represented.What we can most easily relate to in Reich's later explorations is his emphasis on the unity of nature and on our role as natural beings. He had a tremendous vision of the streaming of energy in the cosmos, the galaxies, the oceans, the weather - and in our own bodies. He saw itas the
energy, following the same patterns, the same dance. Although Reich condemned'mysticism' - by which he meant flight from bodily reality - his own vision is in the best sensea truly mystical one.Yet it is also highly concrete, and grew out of some very real and functional discoveries.'Orgone' is not simply some vaguely uplifting notion, but an energy that can be directly
byanyone who takes the trouble.The simplest form of orgone device consists of several alternating layers of wool (such as anold blanket - not synthetic) and steel wool (the sort of stuff brillo pads are made of, obtainablefrom most hardware shops). This multi-layer sandwich is enclosed, for convenience, in a thincotton cushion-cover. You will find that a distinct energy emanates from the top layer of steelwool; experienced by many people as warmth and tingling, it takes a few minutes to build upif you sit on the cushion or put your hand on it, a sensation which develops into a sense of 'fullness' and a natural desire to stop.

Many people have to train themselves to recognise orgone, but once we tune in to it thesensation is very recognisable - and closely akin to feelings we have during bodywork sessions. This is a natural life energy, which the cushion concentrates rather than creating.Children often sense the energy immediately, since they have no reason to think there'sanything odd about itOrgone energy in this form - a simple 'orgone accumulator'- charges up an organism. It isuseful for states of exhaustion and lowness, the sort of time wheat we're vulnerable to coldsand flu, and its use helps cuts, burns and so on to heal faster.
 Don't take our word for it
- try itfor yourself! Note that someone who is already
charged will probably get a headache orother unpleasant effects from using the cushion. It shouldn't be applied to sensitive areas likehead and heart for more than a few minutes, and when not in use it should be kept with the'active' (steel wool) side face down or folded in on itself. Do not use the accumulator aroundcolour TV, strip lighting, etc. - it will also concentrate this sort of energy.The accumulator works much better, and produces a more pleasant feeling, on clear, fresh,blue-sky days, since it condenses and concentrates the energy which is in the atmospherealready. If the weather is oppressive and polluted, then so is the orgone energy. This is howReich was led into working directly on the weather with other orgone devices - the'cloudbuster' as he rather unfortunately named it, which we prefer to call a 'cloudmelter'. Thisimplausible Buck Rogers mechanism, according to all the available evidence, actually works...We don't want to be drawn too far into the wonders of orgone physics, but we do want tomake it clear that devices like this, unlike orthodox Western technology, cannot be separatedfrom the feeling state of the people using them. In order to work effectively with the weather,a person needs to be in a sufficiently clear and open state to
the condition of theatmosphere, to perceive how blocked or mobile it is - in fact, to give it a therapy session!It seems to us that orgone may be not so much
life energy as a particular form of lifeenergy. As Reich describes it, and as we ourselves experience it, orgone has some quitespecific characteristics. It has a special relationship with water, which is why it links withwater vapour in the atmosphere, and also why it 'streams', 'pools', 'condenses' and so on. It

.flows along the length of the human body, and is deeply bound up with orgasm. Other worldtraditions describe other types of life energy with properties which are similar but
 identical: 'prana', chi' and so on cannot simply be identified with orgone, or with each other.Similarly, just because many of the great healing systems describe energy centres in roughlythe same areas of the body, it is not right to claim that they are all the same. The numbers,positions and descriptions of 'chakras' (a term from the yogic system only) can vary quiteconsiderably. At the same time, though, it is rather striking how closely our system of
parallels the yogic system of

Using Reichian work there are many other ways in which we re-contact concepts andexperiences which are a familiar part of esoteric systems from around the world. We start toperceive and to work with the aura - the energy field surrounding the physical body, which isoften more easily sensed in the hands than seen with the eyes. We become sensitive to earthenergy, the force used by dowsers and the builders of stone circles and other ancient sacredsites. Many of these have an energy which is very reminiscent of orgone, and some at least arebuilt on a similar principle of 'layering'. From Reichian therapy we can move in all sorts of directions into a new, rich universe.We must however emphasise the
of Reichian work, with its stress on beinggrounded in our own immediate experience, and in the reality of the body, from most esoteric,psychic and spiritual groupings. It is perilously easy even for experienced Reichians to 'takeflight', to soar off into ungrounded fantasies and delusions as a means of avoiding the anxietyof authentic contact. Reich himself, in the last years of his life, seems to some extent to havelost touch with the commonsense ordinariness of life. It's also very easy to enter into apassionately enthusiastic transference relationship with some teacher or guru which youwould never be able to leave unexamined with your therapist!The teaching systems of the East in particular seem to rely on and use the positivetransference relationship between disciple and guru as a means to an end, building up anintensity of need and fear which finally enables the disciple to break through to another levelof understanding. It is hardly for us to question this process when properly carried out, butsuch worship and surrender is clearly open to profound abuse in the hands of a teacher whoseown selfish ego, whose own character blocks, are still in command.Seen from the more metaphysical viewpoint that we are using in this chapter, the underlyingtheme of the work we do is
: choosing to be here, to be a body, with all the painfulawkwardness and recalcitrance of the physical world. As we have said, it is often at birth thatwe most brutally face the pain of incarnation, and may wish - and try - not to be here. Butincarnation is not something we do only once - it is a commitment that must be renewed overand over again as each crisis and challenge encourages us to retreat from life, to take refuge inillusions and fantasies.Connection with the cosmos is not a matter of floating off into visions, but of engaging withthejoy and beauty of the real world - making our visions into reality. We have each chosen tobe here; and our 'mission' seems to be to do with incarnating as much as possible of the beautywe can sense and imagine. Human beings are like trees, rooted in the ground, branchesreaching up into the sky, trunk joining the two into a unity. Some people need to be anchoredmore strongly in the physical world; others need to be 'lifted' into greater awareness of thesubtle, spiritual dimension of life. The goal is always ultimate wholeness.Entering into this therapy doesn't commit you to believing in fairies and flying saucers! Thework helps to put each person more in touch with their own authentic experience, enablingthem at every point to
test out
what they are told, and what they seem to perceive, to an extentwhich is unusual in our brainwashed and beglamoured society. Letting go of compulsivedefences, letting go of the cloud of anxiety which usually stands between us and the world,allows each of us to make our own choices about what to believe and what to explore.

To remain whole, be twisted!To become straight, let yourself be bent.To become full, be hollow. Be tattered, that you may be renewed.Those that have little, may get more.Those that have much, are but perplexed.Therefore the SageClasps the Primal Unity.
 Lao Tse, Tao Te ChingThe style of working with people which we have described is a form of psychotherapy; it isalso, as we have tried to make clear, a political and a spiritual practice; but above all, we see itas a form of
, linked with the many methods and techniques being discovered andrediscovered at the present time as part of the 'alternative healing', 'alternative medicine'movement. We very much identify with that movement, and see our work as within the greatstream of human energy, going back to the Old Stone Age, which understands healing assomething done with humans rather than with illnesses, a process of
making whole
rather thanthe elimination of troublesome symptoms.It is time to explain how we see our work within the whole web of healing and therapeuticpractices; which approaches are our natural allies and complements; to explore some possiblelines of distinction and disagreement; and to clarify how we see our own potentialcontribution to the practice of healing.It seems to us that healing takes place essentially through a
. The relationship isoften primarily that between client and healer, which comes to stand for the relationshipbetween the client and the world. This is the process which we have described in Chapter 8 as'transference', and we believe that it arises in every form of healing work. Healing stronglyencourages 'parent/child' interactions: I am coming to you for help; asking you to kiss itbetter, to feed me, to look after me, with all the positive and negative feelings that stirs up inme, all the love and the rebellion. Equally, this will stir up in you all sorts of positive andnegative parental feelings about me.As we, have argued in Chapter 8, these feelings can be an obstacle to the healing process, butmore deeply they are a unique opportunity to examine the issues at the heart of the client'sproblem - their deep feelings about power, dependency, safety, incarnation itself. A healerwho cannot or will not recognise and work with these issues of relationship is severelyhandicapped. It will be hard for them to see clearly what is going on in the healing process,the underlying transactions behind the surface. They will find it difficult to understand whysome clients 'get better' and others don't; what their
needs and demands are doing to thehealing work. The theory of transference is one of the biggest contributions that our style of work can make to the whole field of healing.It comes out of the Freudian roots of Reichian therapy, and it is still possible to understandwhat we do as a form of psychoanalysis - though a very mutated form. Our concern is stillwith the unconscious memories of childhood traumas and the unconscious structures of defence which they have created. The role of breathing in Reichian work is, in one way, very
106similar to the role of free association in classical analysis, the analyst says just say whatevercomes up' and watches the blocks to this process, while the Reichian says just breathe freely'and watches the blocks to
process.Within the range of psychotherapies, however, we would identify at least as strongly with thecluster of styles and practices known as 'humanistic psychology'. Some of the differencesbetween this and classical psychoanalysis are an emphasis on the client's own responsibilityand empowerment; an attitude of 'whatever works' rather than strictly defined techniques; anda focus on the 'here-and-now' rather than on past history. This last theme is identified mostoften with Fritz Perls' Gestalt Therapy: it is very much a position we share - that there willalways be more to uncover about the past, always more old pain to 'get out', and that the realhealing comes from letting go of the past and moving on.The influences here work both ways. The whole of humanistic psychology has been verymuch influenced by Reich's work, so that in a sense our fusion of the two represents 'whatReich might have done if he had lived into the 1980s'. Or so we would like to think! Inpractice, Reich was very much committed to the idea of the therapist-as-expert, and evenbelieved that only medical doctors should give therapy. In any case, the influence is strong;Fritz Perls, in particular, derived more of his ideas than are generally realised from Reich'swork - and we in turn use several of Perls' techniques.This 'here-and-now' emphasis is the mental and verbal expression of what we have describedas the theme of
. But incarnation, of course, means 'coming to be in the flesh', andit is through
that a person can most strongly confront, and change, their resistanceto being here and now, can make a new commitment to facing and resolving the problems of life. Although we may quite often not touch a person during a therapy session, or evendirectly engage with their bodylife, it is always a crucial foundation to the work we do. Wefeel that purely verbal therapies are handicapped in facilitating deep change.There are many forms of bodywork available these days, and although Reich was the firstperson to link bodywork into psychotherapy many people have independently since made thesame breakthrough. There are also several schools of bodywork directly descended fromReich's work apart from our own - historically speaking they are our cousins. These schoolsoften refer to themselves, or are referred to by others, as 'neo-Reichian'. We'd like to say alittle bit about two of these: Bioenergetics and Postural Integration.Bioenergetics, developed by Alexander Lowen (a therapist of immense wisdom and love whostudied with and received therapy from Reich), is in some ways very close to our own work.Some important differences are that Bioenergetics focuses more on a standing, 'verticallygrounded' position rather than a lying down, 'horizontally grounded' one, and that it worksmore with postures and exercises than with direct touch. Both of these features put anemphasis on qualities of independence, assertiveness and control, rather than on surrender andacceptance - a different route to the same goal.Postural Integration is a deep restructuring of the body's connective tissue which surroundseach muscle and muscle group: it argues that until the connective tissue is made supple andflexible it is not physically possible for muscles to relax and lengthen. Postural Integration isprofoundly influenced by Reichian ways of seeing, and emphasises the role of the breath and of armouring.

A big difference between our own work and Postural Integration - and even more so withRolfing, another form of deep massage restructuring - is that we try very hard to avoid aconcept of how someone
be: to avoid offering a model, either implicit or explicit- of how a person
to breathe,
to stand,
to move. In practice, of course, thedifference is only one of emphasis; we do have a very strong sense of the difference betweenhealth and unhealth, while any good practitioner respects the uniqueness of each individual.There is, however, a big difference between the programmatic approach of an essentially
system like Postural Integration, and our own work's focus on opening up to ourown core, to our innate capacity for growth and healing. This is the bodywork level of whatbecomes on other levels a stress on the unconscious wisdom of the individual, and its capacityto find the right path if our ego 'gets out of the way'.What in practice happens, in the course of therapy - what has happened many times to each of us - is that we begin to experience an
sense of 'not being right' in our bodies. We sense a
to be helped in expanding, lengthening, straightening, softening. This, it seems to us, isthe point at which it is fruitful to find a remedial practitioner of one sort or another, the pointat which our bodymind is ready and able to accept and use this new way of holding ourselves,rather than immediately 'snapping back' into the old shape. Without emotional change,physical change won't stick; equally, without physical change emotional change won't stick.We have discovered some forms of 'remedial' work which are tremendously gentle and subtlein style, encouraging and allowing growth rather than pushing the individual. The AlexanderTechnique is a non-invasive approach to opening us out into a more natural and relaxedposture, an effortless way of being in the world; in many ways it seems the perfectcomplement to Reichian work, approaching the same goals from the opposite direction. Itmay well be that Alexander practitioners also have something to learn from a therapy whichinvolves emotional release. Tai Ch'i, though not a therapy (and indeed the AlexanderTechnique doesn't see itself as a therapy), is another gentle and enormously powerful way of aligning us with subtle energy flows, teaching us to make less and less effort to achieve betterand better results. And the Feldenkrais Method seems to be a third, independent style of working with the same principles of non-effort, not-doing, going with the flow.If we feel slightly cautious about remedial bodywork which in some of its forms can simplyintroduce a whole new lot of tensions to cover up and mask the original ones, then we feel alot more dubious about methods of 'remedial mindwork'. By this we mean all the vast range of therapies and 'positive thinking' techniques which aim to alter our thoughts and behaviour tomatch a conscious ideal.The most obvious example of this is 'behaviour modification', a set of tricks and techniqueswhich can be highly effective in removing symptoms like phobias, compulsions, blushing,and so on. Certainly, such methods are a lot less harmful than alternatives like drugging orECT, but we are convinced that what is going on here is
, a suppression of symptomsrather than working with the problem which those symptoms
. Just as allopathicmedicine, by suppressing the symptoms of a deep problem, make it harder and harder for thebody to heal itself, so behaviour modification techniques can make it harder and harder forreal emotional healing to take place.There are other versions of behaviour modification with a very different image andappearance; these work with affirmations, with visualisation, with positive thinking. Most of these techniques assert that 'we create our own reality'.

There is very deep truth in this statement, but there is also often a very superficial illusion. We
create our own reality; we can identify and let go of the negative 'scripts' and assumptionsthrough which we constantly recreate our own suffering. But we can also impose a layer of illusion
on top of
an inner negativity, a quite false and unlived positivity which is the mentalequivalent of a new layer of physical tensions masking the original problem.What all these systems have in common is a tinkerer's approach to the human unconscious,seeing it as a box of tricks where one has only to press the right button, to find the rightswitch, in order to achieve the desired goal. The bodymind unconscious is the source of ourwisdom and the source of our life; physical or emotional symptoms of dis-ease are messagesthat our conscious behaviour is out of balance, and that we need to return to the source - not tofind some simple and effortless way of
to feel better.We are not saying, of course, that all work with affirmations and positive visualisation isdamaging. In fact, we use these techniques a lot ourselves. But what is vital is to check outour response to the new message o
n all levels
; never to suppress an inner resistance or denial,but to give it all the space it needs to express and discharge itself. As with remedialbodywork, such techniques are only healing when the emotional space exists to make use of them.The idea of
seems to come up over and over again in our work: the need to create andallow a physical, emotional, mental, spiritual spaciousness in which we can let things be, letourselves be, rather than trying to tinker all the time. The need for real change, both inourselves and in the world, can then flower out of space and quietness.Apart from the specifically 'neo-Reichian' approaches, one form of growth work with whichwe feel a special connection is Rebirthing, or 'conscious connected breathing', which iscentred on a simple and powerful bodily technique: encouraging clients to breathecontinuously in and out with no break between breaths, focusing high in the chest, andkeeping breathing no matter what feelings and thoughts come up. This is an amazinglypowerful technique, highly effective in many ways in releasing blocks and coming through to joyous, streaming sensations and spacious attitudes.Rebirthers combine conscious connected breathing with a quite elaborate set of
aboutwhich we are less enthusiastic, and which seem in many ways quite separate from thebreathing technique itself. It is as if Rebirthing has become a sort of grab-bag of whatevernotions and methods its founders and developers have come across, simply throwing them alltogether rather than incorporating new ideas around the central theme. The breathingtechnique itself, however, is very valuable, and we sometimes incorporate it into our ownwork. It brings people into contact with their core resistances very quickly, and also intocontact with their of health. In fact it is a way of breathing which often happensspontaneously, a deeply natural way of releasing trauma that one can often see in small babiesand in animals. Our own daughter 'cleared' the effects of her birth by repeatedly Rebirthingherself in the first months of life, and still goes back to this breathing in times of stress andillness.We would also like to mention Polarity Therapy, an approach based on Indian Ayurvedicmedicine which combines bodywork, energy balancing, nutrition and psychotherapy in acomplex and powerful synthesis. From our own experience of receiving Polarity sessions, it is

..working with the same body energy as Reichian therapy - though there are differences in howthis energy is understood.In relating our own approach to other healing and therapeutic techniques we find that in somecases we can pick up and use elements of other approaches, adapting them to our own needs.In other cases a healing system feels more self-contained, as if one either has to work withinthat worldview or leave it be - thus we might recommend a client to go off and work withanother practitioner, either temporarily or indefinitely.To some extent we are increasingly moving away from the 'Reichian' label as our work whilestill in tune with Reich's essential vision of the world, becomes less and less like anything hehimself did. We have to take on, as well, the fact that Reich himself came to despair of theeffectiveness of individual therapy, saying that a twisted tree cannot be straightened, and thatthe only hope was to work with infants and with the orgone energy systems of theatmosphere.It is true that a twisted tree cannot be straightened; it is true also that a human being can neverhave their past experiences
nor the imprint of those experiences on their bodymind.But this does not strike us as a cause for despair. Sometimes we feel like despairing - as musteveryone who has any sensitivity to what is happening in the world. But even a twisted treecan thrive and blossom, can take joy and heart in its own strength and survival, and can sendforth seedlings with the chance of growing straighter and more joyfully still. This assumesthat straightness is in the nature of the tree, and maybe humans are more like hawthorns,whose grace is in their twistedness as it reflects the elemental forces which have shaped them.Individual therapy and healing, as well as having an intrinsic value, are contributions to thegreat work of healing our planet, and healing our relationship with our planet. How can wefree our energies enough to work effectively at this daunting project?This book constitutes one possible answer to that question. A part of dealing with our despairabout the planet's future, as Joanna Macy has argued, is to face that despair, to reach downinto the grief and fear, to reach through to the underlying wellsprings of creative action. Thereare profound connections between our feelings about the planet and our feelings about ourindividual history. If we are sensitive to the poisoning of the biosphere, is this because itresonates with the poisoning of our own feelings and energy? If we fear explosion anddestruction, is this connected with fear of our own repressed anger and excitement?Of course, there are real objective threats, and it is precisely in order to be able to face themthat we need to look at our own material. In fact, we can even understand the great arsenals of potential annihilation as themselves the
of armouring, of repression - human orgasmicenergy, with its secondary violence and hatefulness, all exported and projected into TheBomb, because we cannot acknowledge and befriend these forces within ourselves.Thus growth work can be a force for good in the wider world, as well as in the individualinteraction of client and therapist But it can also be a force for evil. There are manytechniques discovered or rediscovered by figures in the 'growth movement' which arepowerfully effective in changing people's attitudes and behaviour, but which are inthemselves value-free, equally effective in producing almost
sort of change. Thetransference relationship can become discipleship; the crisis and surrender which can beprofoundly healing can also be the collapse and self-loss of brainwashing.

.Many therapies, and not just the dramatic cultish ones, are devoted to brainwashing. They seetheir role as one of 'normalisation', turning their clients and patients back into ordinary,passive members of society who will then play by the accepted rules, even if those rules aredestructive to life and creativity.With any growth technique it is right and sensible to ask: What is your vision? How do yousee human beings, and their place in nature? What sort of society do you want to live in, andhow do you want to move towards it? A large number of growth practitioners, it seems, areunable or unwilling to answer these fundamental questions. In this book. as well as trying toshare our techniques and insights, we have attempted to offer

This is only a small selection of possible literature: the bibliographies in some of the books byand about Reich will give you further directions. Works listed in relation to one chapter willoften be relevant to other chapters as well. but each book is only mentioned once.
Chapter 1: Contexts
 The two major biographies of Reich - both by practising therapists - are:
Fury on Earth
Myron Sharaf (Sidgwick and Jackson)
Wilhelm Reich: His Life and Work
David Boadella (Arkana)Also useful on Reich:
 Reich for Beginners
, David Zane Mairowitz (Writers and Readers)A cartoon account, enjoyable and essentially accurate, leaning over backwards to be fair evenagainst the author's own beliefs
 A Book of Dreams
, Peter Reich (Paladin)A strange, moving account by Reich's son of life with him in his last years, and then of dealing with his death.On the work and ideas:
Selected Writings
, Wilhelm Reich (Touchstone Press)
 Melting Armour
, William West (self-published, available from 12 Torbay Rd, ManchesterM212 8XD, England)A pamphlet outlining the style of work we look at in this book, intended to help peopleexchange sessions.
Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy
, Ola Raknes (Pelican)On Reich's origins in psychoanalysis see:
The Water in the Glass: Body and Mind in Psychoanalysis
, Nick Totton (Rebus Press)
Chapter 2: Energy and Armour
The Function of the Orgasm
, Wilhelm Reich (Condor Books)Reich's own intellectual autobiography, charting the development of his work up to the mid- 1940s, and giving a relatively readable account of his central ideas.Three explorations of energy and armour by leading 'neo-Reichian' therapists:
, Alexander Lowen (Penguin)

 Emotional Anatomy
, Stanley Keleman (Center Press)
 Lifestreams: An Introduction to Biosynthesis
, David Boadella (Routledge and Kegan Paul)
Freud for Beginners
, Appignanesi and Zarate (Writers and Readers)
Children of the Future
, Wilhelm Reich (Farrar Strauss Giroux)Brings together all Reich's writings about armouring in infants and children.
Chapter 3: Surrender
Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective
, Mark Epstein(Duckworth)
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Shambhala)
Fundamentals of Co-Counselling Manual
, Harvey Jackins (Rational Island Press)
Chapter 4: The Segments
 Two examples from the wide range of books available on body-patterns, each giving a similarbut somewhat different version of the segments:
The Body Reveals
, Ron Kurtz and Hector Prestera (Harper and Row)
, Ken Dychtwald (Jove Books)
 Better Eyesight without Glasses
, W.H. Bates (Mayflower/Granada)A marvellous classic relating physical/emotional/spiritual aspects of vision.
The Alexander Principle
, Wilfred Barlow (Arrow)One of several good books available on the technique, which particularly illuminates thehead/neck/back relationship.
The Way to Vibrant Health
, Alexander and Leslie Lowen (Harper Colloquion)A collection of body exercises based on neo-Reichian principles.
, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Shambhala)
The Human Ground
, Stanley Keleman (Center Press)
Chapter 5: Growing Up
 Probably the best material on these themes is in novels and stories, especially about childhoodand adolescence.By far the best book on infancy, and one which is very exciting from a Reichian point of view, is:
The Interpersonal World of the Infant
, Daniel Stern (Basic Books)Two helpful books about children's experience:
The Child's Discovery of the Mind
, Janet Wilde Astington (Fontana
Children's Minds
, Margaret Donaldson (Fontana)We have also learned a lot from the psychoanalytic ideas of D W Winnicott; for anintroduction, try
, Adam Phillips (Fontana Modern Masters.

.112Another highly stimulating therapy text, although we disagree with some of its stances, is
The Road Less Travelled
, M. Scott Peck (Hutchinson)
Chapters 6 and 7: Character
Character Analysis
, Wilhelm Reich (Touchstone)Two excellent neo-Reichian treatments:
 Hakomi Therapy
, Ron Kurtz ( Life Rhythm)
The Language of the Body.
Alexander Lowen (Collier)
Characterological Transformation
, Stephen M Johnson (Norton)In this and several other volumes, Johnson offers a synthesis of character theory andAmerican ego psychology. We strongly disagree with some of his positions, but this isprobably the fullest account of character yet produced.
Chapter 8: Therapy
 There are case histories and accounts of therapeutic work in all of the books listed by Reichhimself. As accounts of the therapeutic process in general rather than our particular style wewould recommend:
Other Women
, Lisa Alther (Penguin)
 Me and the Orgone
, Orson Bean
Working with the Dreaming Body
, Arnold Mindell (Routledge and Kegan Paul)
 In Search of a Therapist
, edited by Michael Jacobs and Moira Walker (Open UniversityPress)A series of five books, in each of which six therapists from different disciplines explain howthey would work with the same client.
Chapter 9: Power
 On 'power-for' and 'power-over'
The Other Side of Power
, Claude Steiner (Grove Press)On the oppression of children:
The Drama of Being a Child
. Alice Miller (Virago)
Thou Shalt Not Be Aware
, Alice Miller (Pluto)On character and politics:
The Mass Psychology of Fascism
, Wilhelm Reich (Penguin)A politically-aware survey of various therapeutic approaches:
 In Our Own Hands
, Sheila Ernst and Lucy Goodison (Women's Press)On running therapy workshops on political issues:
Sitting in the Fire
, Arnold Mindell (Lao Tse Press)On psychotherapy and politics:
The Political Psyche
, Andrew Samuels (Routledge)
Psychotherapy and Politics
, Nick Totton (Sage)

..113An eloquent critique of the power relationships of therapy in general:
 Against Therapy
, Jeffrey Masson (Fontana)
Chapter 10: Primal Patterns
 Realms of the Human Unconscious
, Stanislav Grof (Souvenir Press)
The Facts of Life
, R.D. Laing (Penguin)
The Voice of Experience
, R.D. Laing (Penguin)
Studies in Constricted Confusion
, Frank Lake (Clinical Theology Association)
Chapter 11 Cosmic Streaming
Cosmic Superimposition/Ether, God and Devil
, Wilhelm Reich (Farrar, Strauss)
The Cosmic Pulse of Life
, Trevor Constable (Neville Spearman)
Orgone, Reich and Eros
, W. Edward Mann (Touchstone)
 Needles of Stone
, Tom Graves (Tumstone)Another neo-Reichian synthesis, with a lot of material on auras and subtleenergy:
Core Energetics
, Dr John Pierrakos (Life Rhythm)
Chapter 12: Connections and Directions
 On the various approaches we mention in the chapter:
 Gestalt Therapy Verbatim
, Fritz Perls (Bantam)
Ordinary Ecstacy
, John Rowan (Routledge and Kegan Paul)
 Deep Bodywork and Personal Development
, Jack W. Painter (self-published)
Potent Self
, Moshe Feldenkrais (Harper and Row)
 Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain
, Al Huang
 Rebirthing in the New Age
, Leonard Orr and Sondra Ray (Celestial Arts)
Polarity Therapy
, Alan Siegel and Philip Young (Prism)
 Bone, Breath and Gesture: Practices of Embodiment
, edited by Don Hanlon Johnson (NorthAtlantic Books)A fascinating collection of classic writings on body and movement work
 Despair and Empowerment in the Nuclear Age
, Joanna Macy (New Society)
Planet Medicine
(new two volume edition), Richard Grossinger (North Atlantic Books)A vast and magnificent survey and analysis of alternative therapy and healing, with a lot of material on Reich and other body oriented.