TOP-DOWN PROCESSING THEORIES.
REICH'S ORGONE/ORGONOMY THEORY. The Austrian-born American psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) formu lated a "dissident" psychoanalytic theory called the orgone theory, which is based on the assumption that a specific form of energy called orgone energy fills all space and accounts for all life (cf., bioenergetics theory - deals with the energy relationships in living organisms, and is a psychotherapeutic technique developed by the American psychiatrist Alexander Lowen (1910- ); and Reichenbach phenomenon - named after the German chemist Baron Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach (17881869) - refers to a force or emanation, called the "od," "odic," or "odylic" force that a "sensitive" person can, allegedly, see coming out of all matter; this and "N-rays" and "auras" proved to be cases of self-deception). Reich argued that not only are patients' symptoms evidence of neurosis but their character structure itself may be neurotic. Reich called his therapeutic approach character analysis and he often elicited intense emotions from patients with the result that changes occurred in their bodily attitudes, tonus, and posture. Reich attacked the problems of neurosis by attacking the somatic muscular "armor" of his patients. An individual's emotions, according to Reich, came to mean the manifestations of a tangible biological energy called orgone (from the terms organism and orgasm), and the function of the physiological act of the orgasm is to regulate the organism's energy. One of the problems with a concept such as orgone, and a theory of "being" such as or-gone theory, is the precise identification of the orgone. In order to demonstrate the existence of something (like orgone), one must be able to determine where it is not, so as to know, in turn, where it is. That is, if something exists uniformly everywhere, it might as well be nowhere. The issue of orgone identity led Reich to construct a device he called the orgone accumulator - a box composed of layers of different metals that collect orgones and concentrates them, allegedly, on the person sitting inside the box, much to the benefit of their sex lives; the box eventually led to some serious legal problems with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. The term orgonomy refers to Reich's personality theory and his associated therapeutic practices that involved elaborate physical massage programs involving manipulations, proddings, and probings, and encour agements to the patient/client to try to experience the ultimate orgastic release that Reich believed to be the evidence of therapeutic breakthrough. The current consensus of scientific opinion is that Reich's orgone theory is basically a psychoanalytic system gone awry and is an approach that represents some-thing most ludicrous and totally dismissible. See also PERSONALITY THEORIES. REFERENCES
Reich, W. (1933). Charakter analyse, Leipzig:
Sexpol Verlag. Reich, W. (1942). The function of the orgasm.
New York: Farrar, Straus. Reich, W. (1945). The masochistic character.
In W. Reich (Ed.), Character analysis. New York: Orgone Institute Press.
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