Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957) was an Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry. He was the author of several influential books and essays, most notably Character Analysis (1933), The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933), and The Sexual Revolution (1936). His work on character contributed to the development of Anna Freud's The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (1936), and his idea of muscular armour – the expression of the personality in the way the body moves – shaped innovations such as body psychotherapy, Fritz Perls's Gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowen's bioenergetic analysis, and Arthur Janov's primal therapy. His writing influenced generations of intellectuals: during the 1968 student uprisings in Paris and Berlin, students scrawled his name on walls and threw copies of The Mass Psychology of Fascism at the police.

After graduating in medicine from the University of Vienna in 1922, Reich studied neuropsychiatry under Julius Wagner-Jauregg and became deputy director of the Vienna Ambulatorium, Freud's psychoanalytic outpatients' clinic. Described by Elizabeth Danto as a large man with a cantankerous style who managed to look scruffy and elegant at the same time, he tried to reconcile psychoanalysis with Marxism, arguing that neurosis is rooted in physical, sexual, and socio-economic conditions, and in particular in a lack of what he called "orgastic potency." He visited patients in their homes to see how they lived, and took to the streets in a mobile clinic, promoting adolescent sexuality and the availability of contraceptives, abortion, and divorce, a provocative message in Catholic Austria. He said he wanted to "attack the neurosis by its prevention rather than treatment."

From the 1930s onwards, he became an increasingly controversial figure; from 1932 until four years after his death, no publisher other than his own published his work. His promotion of sexual permissiveness disturbed the psychoanalytic community and his associates on the political left, and his vegetotherapy, in which he massaged his disrobed patients to dissolve their muscular armour, violated psychoanalysis's key taboos. He moved to New York in 1939, in part to escape the Nazis and, shortly after arriving there, coined the term "orgone" – derived from "orgasm" and "organism" – for a cosmic energy he said he had discovered, which he said others referred to as God. In 1940 he started building orgone accumulators, devices that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about sex boxes that cured cancer.

Following two critical articles about him in The New Republic and Harper's, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and associated literature, believing they were dealing with a "fraud of the first magnitude." Charged with contempt in 1956 for having violated it, Reich was sentenced to two years in prison, and in August that year, six tons of his publications were burned by order of the court, one of the most notable examples of censorship in the history of the United States. He died in jail of heart failure just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole.

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Other articles related to "wilhelm reich, reich":

Ola Raknes - From Psychology of Religion To Psychoanalysis - Energy- and Body-based Forms of Therapy - 1934 – Meeting Wilhelm Reich
... Ola Raknes met Wilhelm Reich for the first time at the Scandinavian psychoanalysts meeting in Oslo in the Easter of 1934 ... Wilhelm Reich's starting point was the psychoanalytical theories of Freud, but as early as 1925, based on experiences gained through volunteer work at his counselling clinic in Vienna for people with ... be to commence apprentice therapy with Reich immediately, however, he had no way of travelling to Sweden where Reich was working at that time ...
Timeline Of Psychology - Twentieth Century - 1930s
1933 - Wilhelm Reich published Character Analysis and The Mass Psychology of Fascism. 1936 - Wilhelm Reich published The Sexual Revolution ... died of a kidney infection in New York City after uttering the word "comical" Wilhelm Reich fled to New York, coining the word orgone and building "orgone ...
Wilhelm Reich - Works
... Reich left instructions that his unpublished papers be stored for 50 years after his death ... Über die Neuformierung der Arbeiterbewegung "What is Class Consciousness" in Reich Sex-Pol Essays, 1929-1934 ed ... Incorporated in Reich's 1942 The Discovery or Orgone, Vol ...
Me And The Orgone
... experience with the controversial orgone therapy developed by Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich ... flows" within the patient, orgone being Wilhelm Reich's name for the "life energy" ... Reich's concepts were applied to childhood education ...
Paul Edwards (philosopher) - Wilhelm Reich
... Edwards said that when he arrived in New York in 1947 Wilhelm Reich was "the talk of the town" and that for years he and his friends regarded Reich as "something akin to a messiah" "There was.. ... a widespread feeling that Reich had an original and penetrating insight into the troubles of the human race." Twenty years later, as editor-in-chief of the ... He pointed out what is of interest to philosophers in Reich his views concerning the origin of religious and metaphysical needs, the relation between the individual and society and the ...

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    Coercion may prevent many transgressions; but it robs even actions which are legal of a part of their beauty. Freedom may lead to many transgressions, but it lends even to vices a less ignoble form.
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