Jung and Reich

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I found it difficult to understand how Reich and Jung had never met; they had so much in common, and each came separately through different methods to the same realisations.

Although Reich and Jung approached their study from uniquely separate paths, they both sought to understand the dilemma of the innate conflict within Man. They both recognized the need for self awareness, Reich in body character structure, and Jung in the personal, and collective unconscious. They both recognised the ego as needing to learn to be of service to the Self, or Soul, and man’s dilemma in believing the ego to be King. There is a strong connection between Reich’s “primary layer of personality” and Jung’s “persona”; Reich’s theory of Body Armour, and Jung’s theory on Shadow,

They both recognized Nature as part of the soul, and believed it imperative for man to integrate the cycle of nature in order to have a life of quality. They recognized the soul within man as being Nature or God itself and its drive to make itself conscious through and in man.

They both dedicated themselves to the service of the psyche and saw the necessity for the integration of Archetypal forces in nature, because of their search for knowledge they both suffered condemnation from the outside world.

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While training and working as a Hospice nurse I also encountered some Jungian concepts and quotes. When I trained as a Biodynamic and Integrative Psychotherapist, much of our training was steeped in Jungian psychology. Jung’s teachings had an influence on Gerda Boyesen, the founder of Biodynamic Psychotherapy. Although her method and approach was focused on the emotional body mind split, her concepts were parallel to Jung’s thoughts and concepts in Psychotherapy.

Gerda having researched and discovered her own conclusions relating to the emotional body, met William Reich, and having studied with him for a time, she went on to develop her own work. Although Gerda did not train as a Jungian analyst, she integrated Jungian concepts into her teachings.

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Jung and Reich had lived in the same era and I find it sad that they had never met, as they, while being very different in approaches and personality types, had a lot in common.

Both arrived through their studies, research and personal journeys to the realization of the psyche, the self. Jung through the concept of the collective unconscious, and Reich through his concept of the Cosmic flow in nature, orgone energy.

Reich worked with the Body, Jung with images and symbols latent within the psyche, which is held in body armour. They both at the same time moved from working with just verbal, and cognitive techniques, to bodywork and active imagination with a focus on the encounter with and to the deeper foundation within man.

Both men also had transference issues with Freud, and conflict regarding theory brought each to part ways with Freud.

Biodynamic I believe has brought the concepts of these two great men into it’s work. Through experiential learning both Jungian and the Reichian concepts are internalised.

Jung happened to me because of my identification with his Spiritual Journey, from there I became interested in Depth Psychology.

Reich happened to me because of my interest and belief that our personalities are character and body mind based.

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Life Path’s

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When I decided to train in Psychotherapy, I choose a Body Psychotherapy, because I had since teenage years struggled to accept my own body as a woman,  and knew instinctively that emotions were carried in the body, which subsequently led to attempts to control. This was I learned, an effort to control my feelings.

It was here I encountered the work of Jungian analysts. While I had for many years found solace and meaning in Jungian quotes, I had never understood fully the psychology behind the quotes. I initially found Jung’s writing difficult, so Jungian analysts introduced me to understanding his psychology. As I progressed in my studies, Jung’s deep concepts made sense.

That journey began in 1994. Memories, Dreams and Reflections was a book recommended on our course was my epiphany; In the first few pages of this book I experienced an identification with how Jung described his earliest awareness. He knew he had two personalities. Everybody has, but not everybody stays aware.

Our early years speak to us of the natural ability we have to nourish our soul in active imagination, play, dreams and our belief in fairytales.  Life commands us to leave that life behind, because of the necessity to survive a demanding world; We understand how one can repress and sacrifice it; the “it” being our natural creativity and play; we call it dreaming, childish, silly; Somehow that door does not close completely and it’s need stays bound in tension, in the realms of the body, this can result in the struggle to find a balance between both worlds; conflict and resistance to allowing our creativity, can result in depression, and other disorders.

I have no doubt of the significance of the soul in our journey, the beginning is always evident in the end, and I have no doubt that the soul holds secret treasures, like a lake hidden in the mountains. It is not intended to reveal these treasure at one awakening but through the search in the journey of life, these gifts reveal themselves to us. That is if we face up to life, accept our fate and use adversity to develop ourselves.

 

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When I undertook the training in Bodymind Psychotherapy, as it was an Integrative training, we studied several models of theory, and different schools of thought; it was expected that we would discern what we were most drawn to learn and study, this alongside our learning in Biodynamic.

I started to read Marion Woodman, as I had a deep need to understand the feminine and femininity. As I went through each book, I came to see and understand myself as a Woman; In truth although a Woman, I felt like a young girl, naive in many respects and wise in others.

I had continuous powerful dreams as I studied. I think now maybe they were a purification, the first stage described in the great work of transformation as described in the Tao Te Ching; this in Jungian terms is the process of Individuation.

Myth fascinated me, for example, the story of Psyche portrayed through a Jungian perspective. I could live the story subjectively; I understood the depth of myth through taking the story and seeing it as a metaphor to work with and to understand myself.

I used the archetype of Psyche, my perception of her. The image I had of her was so familiar to my own story, innocence, naivety, the obstacles, her terror and despair, her perseverance when confronting every task; her lack of faith or belief that she can survive the cold Aphrodite. Following on to the helpers from the “otherworld” who arrive to support her as she faces into the underworld to retrieve the gold.

I learned that I had empathy with Psyche, yet had not considered empathy with this part of myself. Working with myth allowed me to integrate this empathy for myself. I could then move to recognising the Aphrodite aspect of myself, and on through each Goddess energy. This is the ongoing work of consciousness. Integrating this in Body consciousness and awareness, supported me to somehow reclaim the denial of my body needs, and incarnate as it were into my body as fully as I could. Using my own personal journey as a map to understand myth I was able to support clients to work with the lost and unknown parts of themselves.

I moved through reading and internalising, working in my own personal therapy, using myth and meaning internally to understand my own subjective story, my dreams, my ambivalence and complexes in the process; what I learned through internalising each story/myth and relating to it, is what gave me depth in my work with clients. I had to understand it myself and my own myth first.

Jung says that we can only take our clients where or as far as we have gone ourselves.

“Meaning makes a great many things endurable -perhaps everything. No science will ever replace myth, and myth cannot be made out of any science. For it is not that ‘God’ is a myth, but that myth is the revelation of a divine life in man.”

~ C. G. Jung

If you are interested in participating in a group process; exploring and relating to your own myth, reclaiming your myth through Bodymind awareness;

Contact; attractafahy@gmail.com

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