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 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 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, they 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. They both at the same time moved from verbal techniques to encounter 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.

I internalized through my experiential learning both Jungian and the Reichian concepts.

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

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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 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.

My early years speak to me of the natural ability we have to nourish our soul. 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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About Gerda Boyesen

 ABOUT GERDA BOYESEN

 

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History and Core Concepts

 

Gerda Boyesen was born in Norway. Gerda was both a Reichian and a clinical Psychologist. Initially, having attended personal therapy with Dr. Raknes, Gerda became inspired to work empathetically with people who suffered emotional and mental health issues. In her work as a psychological assistant in an asylum, she witnessed the severe medical treatment of patients. She sought through her own learning to bring interventions of compassion and was moved by the results. Her development was further enhanced when she took a diploma in physiotherapy. Having trained in Aadel Bulow-Hansen massage, she discovered that one can evoke emotions from the body during massage. She learned to work on the whole body to change posture and breathing. She found frequently surprising reactions with patients and when affirmed, release was achieved.

Gerda learned particularly from Dr. Braatoy whose philosophy was to believe in the patient, as they were ultimately the one who suffers. He allowed symptoms to inform the work. She believed that a radical change of feelings could be achieved through small postural changes. Through this, trauma and residual stress stored in the body can be released. This allows the possibility of working directly on neurosis and the relief of psychosomatic symptoms.

At the same time, the Austrian doctor Wilhelm Reich, a student and colleague of Freud had made the discovery that feelings and memories were stored behind strong muscular armoring. He began to use massage in his psychotherapeutic treatments. Through this treatment, Gerda witnessed enormously effective therapy, which brought change to the personality and clear, meaningful dreams.

She took further studies with Dr. Oleson who specialized in Lymphatic disturbances. This afforded her an insight into issues related to stress and oedema. She understood body fluidity and how it works on the vegative and nervous systems. Gerda was then able to make the connections between varioud theories which she had been taught.

Energy attracts water. Our nervous system works with minimal pressure changes. Changes create an condition which we perceive as fear, stress or rage, if we repress these feelings our energy can be stored as fluid in the body and effect our libido (the life force). Nervous fluid affects the whole vegative system. Release of this through massage can restore well-being and what Gerda described as a ‘cosmic energy’, a feeling of peace. Gerda’s theory about neurosis and blood circulation led her to derive the theory of psycho-peristalsis.

Examining fluid in the muscle membrane while massaging, (knowing that this was connected to libido) she observed the synchronicity between feeling fluid with her fingers and sounds in the tummy. Using a stethoscope she heard the sounds clearly and began to understand the methods needed for emotional symptoms and psychosomatic relief. She discovered that the intestine is also an emotional and pathological canal, responsible for the digestion of repressed feelings and stress. She understood deeply what language had long known ‘That one does not just digest food but also problems’. Through research on her patients she developed these theories further.

Primarily Gerda believed that fluid follows emotion and when massaged through her technique of emptying, the symptoms were relieved. The equivalent of this in psycho pharmaceuticals like valium is, it extracts this fluid in a chemical way giving temporary remissions. Developing her massage techniques, Gerda determined that through massage and the psycho peristaltic circulation, the unconscious repressions of stress, feelings and trauma could be made conscious. This gives an opportunity to the client to work consciously for awareness and change with the patterns that create stress. She believed that all neurosis that sits in the vegetive system, the instinctual system and intestines could be dissolved through psycho-peristalsis and from within the intestinal wall. The dissolution of stress is a natural process once the right treatment method is given.

Gerda observed intestinal sounds while working with pockets of blocked energetic fluid located in the muscle, muscle membrane, the connecting tissue, the skin or aura.

This energetic fluid shows itself as pain or chronic illness. Much life pleasure is stored in these pains and when released can bring back the life streaming’s and feelings of joy and beauty.

Gerda believed that working bio-dynamically therapists could achieve excellent results. She felt that the cognitive interpretations of many analysts are too far away from the clients conscious awareness and while may be intellectually right, they do not reach the deep feeling of the client.

One must always think in terms of physical law. When energy is blocked, the muscle contracts, it attracts fluid and gives rise to symptoms. When the fluid is released and the muscle relaxes, the tonus returns and then it is possible to work on other methods.

She then developed with Reich the concept of vegetotherapy, working with the breath and the body while lying down. She believed that the vegative system is the foundation of neurosis. By observing the still body and the breath, streaming can emerge. This may at first be frightening but through verbal or emotional expression, the release can lead to cosmic streaming’s or chi.

This has the same results as Asian medicine. Gerda believed that the concept that fluid attracts energy is the missing link between medicine and complimentary medicine.

Gerda continued to explore, develop and deepen her work during her lifetime. It involved therapeutic, preventative and scientific principles.

The essence of biodynamic psychology and it’s therapy is to work with the life force and its principles. Life force has many names including Ki, Prana, orgone energy and bio-energy. It takes a midwives approach in accepting, guiding and trusting.

The presence, attitude and intention of the therapist are key to creating a safe environment for the client. This allows the client to simply “be” and take the space offered for healing.

My personal belief is that it is imperative that the therapist has a heart connection to the work and knows within themselves the vulnerability and susceptibility of the heart. I recall Gerda telling us during our training that ‘without the heart in this work…you are nothing’. Your theories become jargon.

In our era of much awareness and integration many are seeking relief from the pressures of a world filled with technology and materialism. They seek a real connection to spirituality and meaning. Having lost the wisdom of our ancestors we seek this through yoga, mindfulness and other ancient methods of body consciousness in an effort to access our life force.

Many methods present feelings of wellbeing, however, if we continue to hold repressed armoring of energetic fluid in our body, these techniques often serve to increase the armor and leave us lacking true connection with our inner spiritual self.

To continue our understanding in areas of psychology, medicine, physics and biochemistry we must draw on various disciplines and integrate them with the ancient teachings related to chi energy and prana. Through integration of all phenomena of our sciences we can move towards being open to that which we do not understand.

Carl Jung believed that our psyche was not in our brains but in our bodies. His studies held a huge influence for Gerda as with the studies of William Reich who developed separately his understanding of the psyche in our character structure. As psyche is soul, our soul is held in the visceral body. Through working with the breath, body, and the active imagination of the unconscious dreams, we can find that connection to our own inner mystical self.