He stated “Armoring is the condition that results when energy is bound by muscular contraction and does not flow through the body”(Reich:1936) . He saw that there existed character armouring which he defined as “the sum total of typical character attitudes, which an individual develops as a blocking against their emotional excitations, resulting in rigidity in the body, and lack of emotional contact”. He defined muscular armouring as “the sum total of muscular(chronic muscular spasms) which an individual develops as a block against the breakthrough of emotions and organ sensations, particularly anxiety, rage and sexual excitation” (Reich:1936).
The overall effect of muscular armouring with character armouring created the individual. Alexander Lowen, who was an associate of Reich, best summed up this overall effect as “The character of the individual as it is manifested in his typical pattern of behaviour is also portrayed on the somatic level by the form and movement of the body. The body expression is the somatic view of the typical emotional expression which is seen on the psychic level as character. Defences show up in both dimensions, in the body as muscular armoring. ” (Lowen:1976).
What The Work Might Do For You
The Black Art of Psychotherapy by Dr. Jack Willis...Do you wish to move to a different plane of consciousness? Try hypnosis or alpha wave biofeedback or sodium amital or any number of emotion altering drugs. Do you wish to feel fully? Try Gestalt or psychodrama or Primal. Do you wish to probe the unknown and unknowable? Try Jungian. Do you wish a re-birth? Try Rankian, or rebirthing, or age regression (even to rebirth in former lives). Do you wish to be loved? Try Rogerian. Is death your issue? Existentialist therapy awaits. Or, perhaps you want better sex or mind-body unity? Try Reichian, Bio-energetics, Feldenkrais, Rolfing or Alexander technique. For every passion there is a therapy, and for every therapy there is a passionate following. What to do? What to do? We will return to that, too. There is an answer....No two people are alike. A photograph as art can be duplicated an infinite number of times. Similarly an etching. A bronze can be recast. But people are ever unique and ever changing. The interchange between therapist and student is a ballet. Is there a leader and a follower? There can be; there doesn’t have to be. But one thing of this dance is certain: if the therapist can only dance to his own tune, if he is committed to a school and a technique irrespective of the student, then the ballet will be an awkward and even disastrous performance.
How then does the student choose a teacher? How can you judge your teachers artistic sensibility? I will answer the choice of teacher question here and wait until later to address the question of his artistry. The answer to choosing a teacher is easy, if not obvious. There are two question to ask: (1) what is your objective and (2) what is your time line. Put it this way: if you exercise, do you want a little workout once or twice a week or do you want to really tone your muscles? Do you want to exercise until you loose 10 pounds, or do you want to make it a part of your life? What is your objective and what is your time line? If your objective is limited and/or you want quick answers, then choose a teacher whose method is quick and direct. Rational emotive therapy, hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral or behaviorism are good answers.
If your objective is to increase your happiness quotient, to correct your errors in living, to exorcise the daemons inside you, then choose a teacher who increases your anxiety. If your teacher promises to love you unconditionally, run. If your teacher tells you that he is problem-oriented, run. If your teacher tells you that he will deal with your emotions, but not with your thinking, run. If he says he deals with the here-and-now, not with the past, sprint. If he says he is only a (fill in the school) therapist and that is the only school he believes in, find a new teacher. There is no sense in finding a teacher of French when you are planning a trip to Germany.
But, since nothing in life is easy, if he says he is totally flexible, that he is eclectic, that he uses whatever is appropriate with no commitment to any theory, then make a mad dash. In psychotherapy, the word eclectic is often a synonym “for I don’t know the theory and I don’t know what I am doing, I just do whatever feels right.”
If your objective is long-term personal growth, then choose the teacher whose statements to you make you anxious, unsettled, nervous, unsure. Therein lies an answer....
As you may know, Reichian therapy is a body approach to therapy. Therefore, we get a lot of information from the physical appearance, the gestures, the voice tone, the eyes, etc. Here, then, are some tips from the Reichian couch. Your therapist should have forehead creases. They should not be permanent (a furrowed brow), they should become prominent when the eyebrows are raised and, except for the crease, disappear when the eyebrows are lowered. His eyes should be clear, very focused, and they should move easily. There should be a definite nasal-labial line (the line from the corner of the nose to the corner of the mouth). The neck muscles should not be prominent. The voice should be resonant, coming from an open throat rather than a constricted one. If he takes a big breath, both the belly and the chest should move. Of the things I have listed here, the most important is the forehead and the eyes. If his eyes are dull or they do not move easily or his forehead has no crease lines or has permanent creases, quit now. What if you have been making wonderful progress with just this kind of therapist? My suggestion: take a six-month vacation from this therapist and look into some others. The vacation will be good for you anyway and the experience of some visits to other teachers might give you some perspective on his virtues and his failings.
If you have not chosen a therapist, or if you are going to take a vacation, here is my suggestion: There are four good schools of depth therapy: psychodynamic; ego psychology (also called object relations); neo-Freudian; and Reichian. Note that the word is psychodynamic, not psychoanalysis. The foundation is the same, but the technique is very different. Notwithstanding that Jungian is popular among the readers of Falcon Press, I would urge against it. I have yet to see good results emerge from Jungian analysis. Stay as far away as possible from Primal therapy or any variant. Adlerian, in the right hands, is an acceptable alternative; but then go to someone else afterwards to get to the areas that Adlerian can not address. Bio-energetics is not bad except that you walk around angry for years, in the process losing marriages, jobs, and friends. Existentialist therapy can be done well, but it is rare. Most therapists proclaiming themselves as existentialist have not done the study necessary to make good use of the art. Existentialist is not one school; it is a whole bunch with differing degrees of worth. Of all the rest, I would say: Ignore them. They are not depth therapy, and they can not do the job you deserve....
Now, finally, to the most important part: YOU! Even a truly good teacher is no good if his student will not study, if his student will not do his homework. If you are not important to your self why should you be important to your therapist? Is it rational to expect that your therapist will work hard for you when you will not work hard for yourself?
Here is a statement that you have probably never heard any therapist make: the two most important qualities that you need to bring to the study are anger and courage. Anger in the form of the demand of yourself, the commitment, that you will not settle for less than you can be. You will not settle for injuring your children because you have not uncovered your own daemons. You will not settle for less productivity, less creativity, less enjoyment of the wonder of life than is possible for you to achieve. That does not mean that your goal is perfection. We leave that realm to the Gods. It does mean that however much you can uncover, understand, and correct is the minimum you will settle for and the devil take the hindmost.
Then there is courage. Daemons are scary creatures. What are your daemons? Are they depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, facing the fact that your parents are not the nice people you want them to be, realizing that you have been living your life for other people and not for yourself, realizing that you are not as important as you want to think you are, realizing that you made a bad choice in a mate, realizing that you have been pretending to enjoy sex? For all your determination to surrender the darkness for the light, you have to have the courage to stay the course, confess the big and the little, accept that you are what you are—not what you want to be, and most of all: the determination to except that the losses of your childhood are permanent losses. That last one is a biggie and it raises another factor....The Virtue of Personal Liberation by Dr. Jack Willis...
Postulate 1: The existence of choice gives rise to the necessity of a morality.Corollary 1: The purpose of morality is to facilitate the making of choices.Postulate 2: Children lack knowledge.Corollary 2: While time and living will provide some of the knowledge, they need a teacher for other kinds of knowledge.Postulate 3: Parents are the primary teachers of children.Corollary 3: The goal of parenting is to provide knowledge to the child to facilitate the making of choices by the child.Corollary 4: Parenting which limits, inhibits, or impedes the capacity to choose is immoral; parenting that facilitates and encourages choice is moral. QED....
Children can be taken advantage of, they can be misused. In the current catch phrase: they can be abused. So can adults. The difference is that children have less capacity for choice in avoiding the abuse. That means that children need to be protected, especially from public school teachers. Children can be used for sexual purposes giving their consent only because they do not realize that their consent can be withheld. They can also be used for work, giving their consent only because they do not realize that their consent can be refused. (We call that “doing your chores” or taking responsibility.) So, the issue is not that children can be abused, the issue is that we approve of some abuse and some we do not. However, in fact, all of it is of a piece, and all of it involves the use by adults of the knowledge that children lack knowledge and the ability to think at an adult level. In short, all of it involves violating the child’s ability to choose.
Beyond all that, however, there is a form of child abuse that is rampant, growing, and especially vicious. It is done by government. Doesn’t requiring a child to be in school violate the very essence of choice? Doesn’t making it a crime for children to engage in sexual activity violate the very essence of choice? Doesn’t making it a crime for a child to run away violate the very essence of choice? “Government, in the last analysis, is an agency of violence.” Violence and choice can not reside in the same moral universe. Children need special protection; government is the wrong protector.