Critique of Reichian Psychotherapy

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Critique of Reichian Psychotherapy

Postby LD330 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:34 am

I'm reading the book Pleasure by Alexander Lowen, who was influenced by Wilhelm Reich. I was deep into Reich's ideas a few years ago but on rereading some of these ideas have found them wanting.

The worst presumption I've found in the book, which runs through Reich's work and is traced back to Freud, is the "genital ideal." This is the idea that after a certain point one finishes therapy and is approved and certified as a fully-functioning human being. Also they are allowed to have great orgasms.

Why is this idea insidious? Because, basically, it's not real. There is no point at which one is "done" until you're dead. The concept of a genital ideal leaves no room for further growth or desire. It feeds the mind an idea of completeness. The individual's aspiration stops here and a self is crystallized.

The genital ideal is the ascetic ideal in Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality: to be moved beyond.

The psychoanalyst Lacan notes three ideals that have crept into psychoanalysis: the ideal of genital sexuality, the ideal of authenticity, and the ideal of non-dependence. Whether any of these ideals are warranted is often left unquestioned.

I write this post because Reich pops up in Thelema once in a while, and I didn't realize how much this concept of the genital ideal screwed with me.

My take as of right now is that the genital ideal presumes there is something wrong with you. This was implicit in my thought from reading Reich-- if my Life isn't going the way I want it to, there must be Something Wrong With Me! This is a comforting myth. The less comforting myth is that there is Something Right With Me. And if the Whole Entire Universe is wrong, well, you better figure it the {****} out.

The book wasn't all bad, there are some good ideas in it, but this idea screwed with me and I think can be easily replaced by a higher aspiration. Even now you could say that this is my ego rejecting the idea of a "superior form" of complete genital sexuality, or whatever. But....

What is it To Have Done With the Judgment of God?
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