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AGN Fuel
2005-Jan-10, 01:41 PM
Sadly, I had never heard of this gentleman until 4 days ago, but learned of him tangentally through some unrelated work I was doing. Intrigued by reading that the US authorities (led by the FDA) had burnt his papers, in doing so destroying decades of research, I started reading more about his life. And my, what a life!

I noticed that there seems to be a deeply polarised opinion regarding the man - some say that he was a pseudoscientist or even a quack, while others argue that his ideas have withstood the scrutiny of independent scientific testing and that they offer a largely untapped field of research.

In this learned company, I was wondering if anyone had studied his work in greater detail and if so, their thoughts? Madman or genius??

(Edited to note: I did not read any of his published work, just 4 or 5 biographical columns from varying sources. One of these was remarkably sycophantic, while another was quite vitriolic. I did read that at least one of his books is still used as a text in psychotherapy courses, but I also note that some of his ideas are a little out of left field and that Freud himself, while originally a supporter, later withdrew that support. I am just quite intrigued at how polarised opinion seems to be - be interested in any comments on the man or his ideas!)

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-10, 01:49 PM
check out Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies

AGN Fuel
2005-Jan-10, 02:04 PM
check out Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies

I will. Thank you.

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 02:46 PM
You can summarize his legacy with three words: sex, drugs and rock´n´roll.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 03:39 PM
In this learned company, I was wondering if anyone had studied his work in greater detail and if so, their thoughts? Madman or genius??
Not really, but I have read a little bit about him.

Wilhelm Reich was one of Sigmund Freud's disciples. As was the case with Freud's other more famous disciples C. Jung and A. Adler, W. Reich eventually drifted away from Freudian psychoanalysis.

An interesting difference between Freud's analysis and Reich's is that, while for Freud the analyst should be a neutral listener of the patient during therapy, Reich felt that sometimes the therapist should actively confront the patient and interact with him.

Reich's version of psychoanalysis became increasingly centred around the idea that the root of many psychological disfunctions was sexual. He made some insightful connections between sexual repression and political authoritarianism.

Later in his life, Reich began to regard sexuality as a form of energy which he called orgonon, and tried to detect with instruments. IIRC, he even invited Albert Einstein to one of those experiments. This is where most people tend to think he lost touch with reality.

The Wilhelm Reich Museum (http://www.wilhelmreichmuseum.org/)
Wikipedia article on W. Reich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich)

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 04:13 PM
An interesting difference between Freud's analysis and Reich's is that, while for Freud the analyst should be a neutral listener of the patient during therapy, Reich felt that sometimes the therapist should actively confront the patient and interact with him.

Which makes him the father of all false "memories" of sexual abuse. A lot of injustice was committed using his pseudo-science.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 04:43 PM
Which makes him the father of all false "memories" of sexual abuse.
How so?! I don't think he even used hypnosis much, if at all! :-?

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 04:48 PM
Which makes him the father of all false "memories" of sexual abuse.
How so?! I don't think he even used hypnosis much, if at all! :-?

Abolishing neutrality he set the foundations for the bad practices of his latter followers.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 04:51 PM
Abolishing neutrality, he set the foundations for the bad practices of his latter followers.
Argos, I don't think you understand what is meant by 'neutral' in this case.

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 04:53 PM
Abolishing neutrality, he set the foundations for the bad practices of his latter followers.
Argos, I don't think you understand what is meant by 'neutral' in this case.

Yes I do understand, and I keep my opinion.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 04:57 PM
Your opinion doesn't make any sense. Reich had nothing to do with false repressed memories. Cornelia Wilbur (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/mpd.shtml) is who you're looking for.

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 05:07 PM
Your opinion doesn't even make any sense. Reich had nothing to do with false repressed memories. Cornelia Wilbur (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/mpd.shtml) is who you're looking for.

You have to agree that false ("repressed") memories are a result of the "interaction" between the "therapist" and his patient. If Reich was the first one to approach psychoanalysis in such an "active" fashion, then I think it´s fair to denounce him as the father of all this garbage.

By the way, the delusional creator of the "orgonon energy" does not qualify himself as a subject for a serious scientific discussion.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 05:19 PM
You have to agree that false ("repressed") memories are a result of the "interaction" between the "therapist" and his patient. If Reich was the first one to approach psychoanalysis in such an "active" fashion, then I think it´s fair to denounce him as the father of all this garbage.
False memories show up in hypnosis. Reich did not use hypnosis. I can't make it any clearer than this.

As for "interaction" between the therapist and patient, I used that term in a very specific sense. I think you're using it in a broader sense which is not appropriate. Whatever flaws Reich might have had, he in no way founded any movement that would lead to the phenomenon of false memories arising from hypnosis, which appeared in the seventies (IIRC).


By the way, the delusional creator of the "orgonon energy" does not qualify himself as a subject for a serious scientific discussion.
Who's trying to have one? This is BABBling.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-10, 05:34 PM
False memories show up in hypnosis. Reich did not use hypnosis. I can't make it any clearer than this.
If you are trying to say that false memories only show up under hypnosis, that's not true.*

Reich did preach that dysfunction was often a result of unremembered trauma, didn't he? That you only had to search for the source, to find it?

* for example, I clearly remember watching a game show contestant say "that'd be the butt, Bob," and I've never been hypnotized, that I know of.

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 05:36 PM
I understand your point, DA. I´m only saying that you don´t even need hipnosis if you are able to apropriately stimulate certain responses. Hypnosis is just another "interaction" tool.

The problem with therapists is that they go to extreme lengths to validate their points of view, including fooling themselves, besides the poor patient. Jung, for instance, was a master of self-deceiving. Because of this recurring trait, generally the scientific content of the early psychoanalists work is null.

And interesting and coheerent ideas can appear on BABBling now and then.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-10, 05:39 PM
well, there were those trance-like episodes in the... years ago, sometime...

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 05:57 PM
Reich did preach that dysfunction was often a result of unremembered trauma, didn't he? That you only had to search for the source, to find it?
So did Freud, before him.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Jan-10, 05:58 PM
but nothing ever showed up in the papers, so probably I was OK

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 06:05 PM
False memories show up in hypnosis. Reich did not use hypnosis. I can't make it any clearer than this.
If you are trying to say that false memories only show up under hypnosis, that's not true.
The cases of false memories acquired under therapy that I've heard about usually involved hypnosis.

I won't pretend to know much about this issue, but I felt that Argos's initial statement, which seemed to assign a large portion of the blame to Reich, was untenable. But I'm not an expert on Reich either. If someone can show me the line of causation that leads from Reich's psychoanalysis to the memory recovery case studies that spurted the belief in MPD, I will be convinced.

Irishman
2005-Jan-10, 09:00 PM
Psychoanalysis itself is full of quackery, straight from Freud himself. Things like Rorschach tests, dream analyzis, etc. This is distinct from more modern techniques of therapy and counseling.

I know nothing about the specifics of Reich, but I agree with Disfo Agent that it is inappropriate to blame him for False Memory Syndrome without understanding what, in fact, Reich was doing that was different, and how, if at all, that relates to False Memory Syndrome.

Doctor/patient interaction is a vital element of actual psychological counseling. False Memory Syndrome is based on hypnosis and the therapist leading the memories (intentionally or unintentionally).

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-10, 09:40 PM
Just one note: I don't think Freud had anything to do with the Rorschach test (http://www.rorschach.com/test.html), either. :)

(Here's (http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/rorschach.htm) a fascinating web page about it. Also, this (http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume3/j3_4_5.htm) article.)

captain swoop
2005-Jan-11, 10:07 AM
Kate Bush has a song based around reich on the Hounds of Love album.

mid
2005-Jan-11, 11:55 AM
There's a track called "Orgone Accumulator" on the first Pop Will Eat Itself album, too.

Seriously excited about seeing the Reformation in a fortnight!

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-11, 12:23 PM
Kate Bush has a song based around reich on the Hounds of Love album.
Cloudbusting. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002UA7/qid=1105446063/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-9989746-3087931) :)

More on Reich. (http://skepdic.com/orgone.html) All the links in that page are also worth reading.

Sammy
2005-Jan-12, 05:56 PM
When used by skilled practioners, projective tests (like the Rorschach) can offer useful insights into underlying thoughts and emotions and can be a useful adjunct to counsuling. Obviously, they don't have much use in dealing with psychiatric disorders caused by underlying biological problems.

The false memory debate is getting a bit tangled. I can tell you that there are many cases where false memories have been created without any use of hypnosis. The "therapist" unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) "leads" the patient into "recalling" event which never happened. Obviously a therapist who sticks to "classical" analaytic approaches would probably never be able to cause this.

RE Reich, he was initially a mainstream Freudian therapist, but drifted (perhaps because of his experiences fleeing the Nazis and the destruction of the culture in which he grew up) into pure nonsense.

Some comments from Quackwatch:
http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/reich.html


In the late 1930s, Reich left Germany in order to to escape the Nazis [2]. In 1940, after a short stay in Scandinavia, he established the Orgone Institute Research Laboratories in Oregon, Maine, where he designed and built "orgone accumulators." Most of them were boxes of wood, metal, and insulation board about the size of a telephone booth. But he claimed that disease could be cured by sitting inside the box and absorbing the "orgone energy" that the box supposedly trapped. Hundreds of the boxes were sold or leased to practitioners and laypersons for treatment of all kinds of diseases, including cancer. Rentals were around $250 per month. When the FDA sued in 1954 for an injunction to stop the hoax, Reich told the court that neither it nor the FDA would be capable of understanding his orgone science, and therefore he would not offer a defense. The injunction was then issued based on the Government's evidence. When Reich continued to promote the box for treating the sick, he was prosecuted for contempt of court. Found guilty, he was sent to federal prison, where he died in 1957 [.


and


From the beginning of his difficulties with the United States Government, Reich attempted to pose as a martyr and to make his case a cause célèbre. His followers have continued this effort. Destruction (by court order) of seized labeling material on the accumulator devices has produced accusations of "book burning." Actually, the only publication destroyed by the U.S. Government were those that accompanied the illegally marketed devices that the government seized
(emphasis added)

AGN Fuel
2005-Jan-13, 02:50 AM
Thank you all for your comments and information. A fascinating story - not just the life of the man (and flaws and all, it was clearly a remarkable life!), but also the aftermath.

Thank you all again! :D

Irishman
2005-Jan-13, 11:57 PM
Just one note: I don't think Freud had anything to do with the Rorschach test, either.

I didn't say that, and I didn't mean that.


Psychoanalysis itself is full of quackery, .... Things like Rorschach tests, dream analyzis, etc.

The "straight from Freud himself" was meant to show duration.


When used by skilled practioners, projective tests (like the Rorschach) can offer useful insights into underlying thoughts and emotions and can be a useful adjunct to counsuling. Obviously, they don't have much use in dealing with psychiatric disorders caused by underlying biological problems.

http://www.csicop.org/si/2003-07/rorschach.html


Psychologists have been quarreling over the Rorschach Inkblot Test for half a century. From 1950 to the present, most psychologists in clinical practice have treasured the test as one of their most precious tools. And for nearly that long, their scientific colleagues have been trying to persuade them that the test is well-nigh worthless, a pseudoscientific modern variant on tea leaf reading and Tarot cards.


http://www.skepdic.com/inkblot.html


What empirical tests have been done to demonstrate that any given interpretation of an inkblot is indicative of any past behavior or predictive of any future behavior? In short, interpreting the inkblot test is about as scientific as interpreting dreams.

Now all I need is a Quackwatch article to complete the trifecta. ;)

Sammy
2005-Jan-14, 06:31 AM
Nice quotes Irishman, but your sources are not addressing what I wrote. I said:


When used by skilled practioners, projective tests (like the Rorschach) can offer useful insights into underlying thoughts and emotions and can be a useful adjunct to counsuling. Obviously, they don't have much use in dealing with psychiatric disorders caused by underlying biological problems.

I did not say anything about predicting past or future behavior; projective tests are useful as anadjunct to therapy and counseling. They help the therapist gain insight into the personality dynamics of the client. I don't have the time to teach you the methodology of the Rorschach, but the interpretation is based in part on comparing specific responses/response types to specific images to responses given by large samples of people with differing conditions/pathologie. There is a statistical basis for some aspects of interpretation; other aspects are based on behavioral observations during the interview/test, which can be a quite intense experience.

Science uses double-blind studies. Why? Because we unconsciously project our thoughts, biases, and beliefs onto our perceptions of "reality." When a client looks at, and responds to, an essentially random object (an inkblot or an innoculous image), they project their underlying feelings, anxieties, etc. in the same manner a researcher may see "improvement" in a test subject after administering an experimental drug. One can dispute the interpretation of projective tests, but I don't think you can dispute the underlying concept. Comparison to Tarot cards, etc., is invidious.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-14, 02:37 PM
Just one note: I don't think Freud had anything to do with the Rorschach test, either.

I didn't say that, and I didn't mean that.


Psychoanalysis itself is full of quackery, .... Things like Rorschach tests, dream analyzis, etc.

The "straight from Freud himself" was meant to show duration.
Is the Rorschach test considered a part of psychoanalysis - Freud's or anyone else's?

Sammy
2005-Jan-14, 07:32 PM
Psychoanalysis is one form of psychotherapy, and its creation is (generally) credited to Freud. The Rorschach, and other projective tests were initially used by the analytic school, but were also adopted by practioners of other forms of psychotherapy as an investigative tool.