REMINISCENCE

Chain of referral

A personal account of the experience of a psychoanalytic treatment based upon the theories of Wilhelm Reich

By William Fried

When David Lichtenstein asked me to be the editor of the Reminiscence column for D/R, I thought of several psychoanalysts whose stature and indigenousness would justify their inclusion in a series devoted to recalling the lives and works of important contributors. I also thought of people in the profession with sufficient knowledge of them to write about them. My role, I assumed, would be to shepherd the projects in various ways, but not to be one of the writers. So, when David suggested I write something myself, I tried to pull together the threads of my past that would converge on the psychoanalysis of my youth.

Before I knew anything about Freud, I became excited about the theories of Wilhelm Reich and proceeded to read almost all of his works in print. This was in 1952. Reich was still alive and teaching at his enclave in Rangely, Maine. Among his students were many well-known psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. His influence had been strong among European analysts who had leftist leanings, and later, among a group of US psychiatrists and psychiatric residents, including Victor Sobey, Chester Raphael, Michael Silvert, and Ellsworth Baker, all of whom he taught the theory and method that he called Orgonomy. A. S. Neill, the English educator who founded the Summerhill School and published a widely read book about his work there, was also deeply affected by Reich's ideas. Others who evinced a more than passing interest in Reich's perspective were the artist/cartoonist William Steig, the entertainer Orson Bean, and the novelist, Norman Mailer.

My own introduction to Reich was by an artist friend who had undergone a short course of Reichian therapy and found it useful. I had just returned from a kind of gap year in Mexico after dropping out of high school, and was struggling to understand the turbulence of my inner life. As described in the few books by Reich that I had already read, the therapy seemed relevant to the problems I wanted to address.

Accordingly, I phoned the Orgone Institute and made an appointment for an initial evaluation there. It was located at 200 East End Avenue, a rather elegant apartment building. I'm not sure who conducted my consultation there, but it might have been Chester Raphael, Ellsworth Baker, or both. I do recall having blood taken for the Reich Blood Test, which, to the best of my understanding, was a way of determining the degree to which red blood cells were irradiated with orgone energy. I was then asked to lie on a couch, stripped to my underpants, and interviewed by one of the practitioners. The content of this interview has faded from my memory entirely, but afterward, the practitioner who conducted it told me that the evaluation had found me "healthier than one in a hundred people," and that I did not need treatment.

My response to this was decidedly ambivalent. Being given this seal of approval by the official representative of a belief system I had come to idealize was akin to being welcomed into an elite as a result of an arcane process that operated beyond my control. I was also disquieted by the suspicion that an error had been made, a misdiagnosis, for how could anyone as confused, flawed, and insecure as I be as healthy as they thought?

In retrospect, the experience echoed one that I'd had earlier. During the first week of a summer camp I attended as a child, the camp doctor, a model of German thoroughness, decided to examine every child to determine, I suppose, whether any of them had brought the seeds of an epidemic with them from home. After all, those were the World War II summers when poliomyelitis was the scourge for which Dr. Salk had not yet found a vaccine. The kids were ordered to line up by bunks and groups in front of the infirmary to wait their turns to be examined. Several bunkmates preceded me in the line and, after each was seen, the doctor would dictate a chart note to the nurse loudly enough that we could all hear him quite clearly, in an accent that carried associations that only magnified the dire implications. It seemed to us 9-year-olds that every boy in the camp was severely ill as we listened to the complicated and serious-sounding diagnoses, prescriptions, and on-the-spot treatments with which each successive camper emerged from the office.

My anxiety increased exponentially as I imagined what the doctor would discover examining me. To my astonishment, his Teutonic-inflected pronouncement to the nurse was, "General condition, excellent." As at the Orgone Institute, I had mixed feelings about the findings. Although it was clearly good to be found so hale, it had the effect of alienating me from my afflicted peers and, even at that stage of my life, I was almost certain that something had been missed. If so, not only was I suffering from a condition made more pernicious by its occult character, but, because of this, it could not be treated. It will be observed that guilt manifests itself in ingenious ways.

The evaluation at the Orgone Institute left me with no recourse but to struggle privately with the suspicions I harbored about my emotional equilibrium while getting on with my life. I did this for a few years with the help of a desultory smattering of analytically oriented psychotherapy. Some time in the late '50s, I sought another consultation with a Reichian, Dr. Victor Sobey, who, to my great relief, thought I could benefit from Orgonomy, and accepted me for treatment.

That first session was memorable in many ways. I lay supine, my knees slightly bent and raised, the rest of me flat on the couch. Dr. Sobey asked me to breathe out deeply as though my chest were a bellows that forced air down into the lower half of my body (the descriptive language here is my own). After several minutes of this, I experienced a tingling in my hands, and my wrists and fingers curled inward. My hands began to ache, and then became acutely painful. I could not open my palms or unbend my fingers. At the same time, I felt a sensation of warmth that radiated down my trunk toward my pelvis. My legs began to tremble. I tried to fight back the tears that filled my eyes and the sobs that came from my chest, but was helpless to control them. Before the session ended I barely had enough time to attain the degree of composure I thought I needed to leave the office and take the subway home.

Leaving the office with my hands still quite stiff, I wondered whether I'd be able to grasp the coin and insert it into the slot for the subway turnstile. It crossed my mind that allowing me to leave in this condition was at best irresponsible of Dr. Sobey, but, as it turned out, I was able to negotiate my way home despite my misgivings. In the interval before the next weekly session, I puzzled over many aspects of the experience. To begin with, I wondered what all of the sensorimotor occurrences signified. People to whom I later described them attributed them to hyperventilation effects, but it seemed to me that those would result from a kind of breathing involving deep inhalation and would manifest as dizziness or lightheadedness. I also wondered what the apparently inconsolable crying and sobbing was all about.

Over the next few sessions some of my questions were answered and replaced by new ones. I learned that the breathing was intended to mobilize energy in a cephalocaudal direction, perpendicular to the horizontal muscle segments that might be chronically tightened by spasm, the phenomenon that Reich had termed "armoring" (characterpan-zerung). That is, he posited that character armoring is literally the chronic spasm in any of the segmental muscle groups that compose the body. He enumerated and named these segments, and his system of diagnosis corresponded to which segment(s) were most blocked. Concomitantly, the treatment would attempt to dissolve the blockages by a combination of breathing, character analytic work, and the use of the orgone accumulator.

I had seen an orgone accumulator in Dr. Sobey's reception room and recognized it from photographs in Reich's books, but, apart from satisfying my curiosity by sitting in it a couple of times, I never used it, nor did Dr. Sobey ask me to. The device resembled a small closet in which there was a seat for the user. The door had an opening at the level of the person's face to facilitate breathing. The walls, ceiling, and floor were made of alternating layers of metal and organic material that were presumed to attract atmospheric orgone energy and concentrate it in the interior of the box, so that the person using it might benefit from the exposure.

I am assuming that the readers of D/R either have some acquaintance with Wilhelm Reich's position, story, and contributions both as a psychoanalyst, and as a practitioner and theoretician of his own system, orgonomy, or that they are able to avail themselves of the relevant materials on the Internet. Be aware, however, that the latter are of quite variable accuracy and quality. My point is that this essay is a personal reminiscence, not a systematic attempt to describe or elucidate Reich's thought. Nevertheless, I do intend to say something about Reich's ideas and life and how I think they relate to psychoanalysis, as well as to my own psychoanalytic development.

Returning to the description of my treatment, although I often had strong sensorimotor responses in subsequent sessions, they were never again as powerful or dramatic as on that first occasion. Frequently, Dr. Sobey would encourage me to beat the couch with my fists or kick it with my feet when he discerned that I was holding back anger. Just as often, he would suggest that I reach upward with my arms, open my eyes wide, and call out, "Mommy!" Early in the treatment I felt inhibited against these expressions, but later on, they came more easily. Occasionally, they would be accompanied by an early memory, but, contrary to theoretical expectations, this did not happen very often.

The discourse between Dr. Sobey and I would not be recognized as psychoanalytic in any sense of the term. My sessions were on Monday and we would as often discuss the Giant's football game of the previous day as quotidian problems in which my characteropathy might be reflected. Dr. Sobey had played tackle as an under-graduate on the Syracuse University varsity team and was an avid football fan. Year after year, he held season tickets to the Jets games and would sell me tickets to one or two that he could not attend himself. We also talked politics: he was quite doctrinaire and relatively conservative in his opinions. Never reluctant to offer advice, he was shamelessly directive and frequently bridled when I challenged his views. As a clinician, he was very attentive to my body language and to affective cues. He'd sit alongside the couch, closely observing as we spoke, and when I followed his injunction to "breathe through," he'd call my attention to ways in which I was holding back feeling and at times touch or prod me to help release the tension. He always spoke respectfully of "Dr. Reich," and was a source of much orgon omic lore. More than once, he asserted his belief that, of all the doctors trained by Reich, he was most like the master in clinical approach and general disposition.

In contradistinction to psychoanalytic practice, he accepted referrals from his patients and had no objections to treating their friends and relatives. At that period of my life, I was a flagrant proselytizer for the Reichian weltanschauung and persuasive enough to recruit my wife and several friends into therapy with Dr. Sobey. The obvious and highly significant transference implications of these acts were never discussed.

The question, then, is whether the treatment was at all useful, and if so, in what ways. My unequivocal answer is that it was indeed useful in the freeing of strangulated affect, as well as in increasing and deepening my capacity for sexual pleasure. In an important sense, its influence was more in the sensory than the emotional aspects of my experience, more of a drive-related than a relational treatment, to use our current nomenclature. And this is entirely consistent both with Reich's perspective on nature (human and cosmic), and my own multi-determined embrace of it.

If, as Reich maintained, the goal of the therapy was to establish orgastic potency, this was consistent with Freud's earliest formulation of the role of the "damming up of libido" in the nosogenesis of neurosis, or actual neurosis, as Freud called it. It should be added, however, that by orgastic potency Reich did not mean the mere ability to discharge tension and ejaculate or to experience genital sensations. The term referred, rather, to the establishment of what he named "the orgasm reflex," a wavelike, flowing motion of the entire body that was entirely involuntary, to which one would surrender. This was to be contrasted with the kind of deliberate and aggressive pelvic thrusting of phallic narcissistic characters or the rigid holding back of people in whom the impulse was inhibited for a variety of reasons. In any case, I seemed, eventually, to have met this critical outcome criterion.

Although the only one of Freud's followers to explore and exploit the economic point of view to a length that most psychoanalysts would consider indefensible and simply wrongheaded, he had in common with the so-called neo-Freudians a staunch utopianism. That is, unlike Freud himself, he was not a dialectical thinker. He saw nature as benign, and certain men and institutions as corrupt yet susceptible to correction and ultimate perfectibility. Given the heinous treatment he received from governments and officials throughout his career (his books were burned, he was prosecuted under a nuisance law and jailed, was deported from a number of countries as a persona non grata, and repudiated by the psychoanalytic establishment), his optimistic take on humanity was remarkable. Perhaps it was a remnant of his earlier Marxism.

It should also be recalled that of all Freud's disciples, he formulated the most ambitious and far-reaching application of psychoanalytic and psychoanalytically derived ideas to public and community health, regardless of how ultimately naïve or misguided these plans may have turned out to be. In Germany, Russia, Norway, and the US, he attempted to found clinics for the treatment of the working classes. At every stage of his career, he devoted a significant part of his energies to devising ways of placing analytic discoveries at the service of larger social entities. Although it may be argued that this inclination was an expression of his grandiosity, I do not think that accounts for all of it.

I saw Dr. Sobey for about eight years, terminating therapy around the time I finished the course work for my PhD. At that time, although I had aspirations to become an orgone therapist myself, I simply assumed that I could not because I lacked a medical degree. Years later, I was more surprised than regretful to learn that there were some orgone practitioners who held PhDs, as well as some with other credentials. Whether their training was obtained from one of the original cadre of orgonomists who had been Reich's students or by immersion in some other tributary of the Reichian stream, I do not know. It may be that there were developments among Reich's inheritors that were similar to those that resulted in the breaking of the medical monopoly on the training and practice of psychoanalysts, but I am not familiar with this aspect of their history. Given the somatic focus of orgone therapy, I should think it would be easier to justify the requirement of medical training for its practitioners than for psychoanalysts.

My own career trajectory took a different direction as a result of an invitation from a friend to join a study group conducted by a Kleinian analyst from Argentina. This was in 1967, long before Klein's work was known to the vast majority of US analysts, and certainly prior to the burgeoning of its influence a decade later. Were it not for my membership in this group, I probably would not have been motivated to apply for psychoanalytic training, which I did in 1971 when I was accepted to the postdoctoral program at NYU.

The laissez-faire attitude there in those days with regard to personal analysis supported the acceptance of any analytic or therapeutic experience that the candidate might consider an appropriate fulfillment of the requirement. It seemed to me that eight years of orgone therapy combined with five years of psychoanalytic group therapy, a few earlier years of individual therapy, alongside the occasional experiential events that the Kleinian analyst held for our study group, were a sufficient equivalent for a personal analysis. Under this assumption, I graduated from the postdoctoral program and did not undergo a conventional analysis until a few years later, when events in my personal life generated sufficient pain and conflict to impel me to seek a referral.

What may seem to be a digression here is not, really, because it leads to another encounter with the shadow of Wilhelm Reich. Obtaining a referral was a difficult problem. By this time I knew many psychoanalysts and was acquainted with many more, but there was none among them for whom I felt enough respect to ask that they be my analyst, or refer me to a trusted colleague. Help came serendipitously.

Every Tuesday afternoon, I would drive from Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center where I had a faculty appointment that entailed my teaching there for a couple of hours each week. On the way, I'd listen to my car radio. The station to which I was tuned on this occasion was WBAI. An interview was being conducted with a man who spoke of Freud as a radical and dialectical thinker. He challenged the idea that culturist analysts such as Sullivan, Fromm, Horney, and even the ego psychologists could be considered neo-Freudians because of their failure to take seriously the concept of the death instinct. He felt that it would be more accurate to call them neo-Adlerians, because it was Adler, not Freud, whose theory held that personality was largely the outcome of environmental influences and, therefore, amenable to radical change.

I reached my destination before the end of the interview and didn't catch the name of the speaker. After teaching my class, I called the radio station and was told that the speaker had been Dr. Joel Kovel, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst affiliated with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I called Dr. Kovel, told him I'd heard his talk on WBAI, and asked whether he'd agree to give it at a staff meeting at the Maimonides Community Mental Health Center. He agreed and, on the date we'd arranged, gave an expanded version of the lecture I'd heard on the radio. The staff, most of whom had progressive political leanings, responded to the talk with unanimous enthusiasm, a rare occurrence among us.

I neither saw nor spoke to Kovel for perhaps a year, but, when I was seeking an analyst for myself, I remembered the intelligence, clarity, and originality of his discourse and decided he would be a good choice. Accordingly, I called him for an appointment. He was surprised when I said I wanted to consult with him on a personal, clinical matter rather than on the collegial basis of our earlier contact. We met at his office in the Apthorp on West 79th Street. I told him my story, in brief, and asked whether he'd take me on. He declined because of our prior relationship and probably for reasons involving changes in his own career that I learned of later.

What was most interesting about the consultation, in the current context, was that when I described how orgone therapy had helped me and how it had not, his response reflected a thorough knowledge of the subject as well as the ability to conceptualize the differences between Reich's system and that of traditional psychoanalysis. His recommendation was that I have an analysis, and he referred me to the analyst with whom I worked for the ensuing 16 years. I had the distinct impression, later confirmed, that Kovel had undergone a course of orgone therapy himself before undergoing his analytic training, and was therefore better prepared to understand its limitations than just about anyone else I might have consulted.

Kovel helped me to clarify that the attainment of orgastic potency is an insufficient criterion of mental health or even for relief of psychological suffering. Whether it is necessary or merely adjunctive may be argued productively elsewhere. For the purposes of this essay, it is enough to say that the relations between Reichian and contemporary psychoanalytic concepts of treatment and mental health are difficult to specify. If, indeed, there is a way of combining the two approaches—and there may not be—Dr. Sobey was clearly not interested and perhaps unable to do so.

On a recent trip to Canada, I was surprised to find an article in one of the editions of the Globe and Mail, a newspaper that was delivered daily to my hotel room that critiqued the DSM-IV and supported long-term talk therapy. The first paragraph described Dr. Robert Spitzer, the father of the DSM-IV, as a psychiatrist who was twice disillusioned with bodies of theory before assuming the leadership of the massive project that led to the publication of the manual/bible of psychiatric diagnosis. The description is worth quoting:

It's possible, looking back on Robert Spitzer's life as one of the most influential psychiatrists of the 20th century, to conclude that he had a genius for turning grudges into career moves.

As a teen in the 1940's, he tried Reichian therapy to calm his feelings about girls, and liked it. But as a grad student, after Wilhelm Reich's orgone accumulator didn't work as well as Dr. Spitzer hoped, he wrote a critical paper that contributed to Reich's prosecution by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

He then became a psychoanalyst. And, when talk therapy didn't cure his patients fast enough, he created the modern Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bulky tome that revolutionized psychiatry and drove the last nail into Sigmund Freud's coffin.

Of interest in this connection is that Spitzer did his psychiatry residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital when I did my clinical psychology internship there. I knew him only as an acquaintance but never suspected that he, too, had once been a Reichian.

In 1968, I had another encounter with someone connected with Reich. At the APA meeting in San Francisco, I attended a very entertaining panel on psychotherapy at which the presenters were the pioneering Gestalt therapist Frederick ("Fritz") Perls, Jacob L. Moreno, the originator of psychodrama, and Eric Berne, the author of Games People Play, the widely read, best-selling book by which most people became familiar with transactional analysis. Each of the speakers was charismatic, competitive, and witty, although Berne was less flamboyant than the other two. Each spoke of his own approach with boundless zeal and aimed half-facetious barbs at those of his colleagues. Perls sported a great, untrimmed thicket of a beard that lent him the aspect of a secular rabbi. After Perls spoke, Moreno stood up and, in a German accent reminiscent of Sid Caesar, proclaimed, "Fritz Perls has a real beard, but I have an imaginary beard that is more powerful than the real beard!"

These antics and repartee amused the standing-room only crowd. When the panel ended, I approached Perls and asked, "How much of what you do comes from Wilhelm Reich?" Unabashedly, he replied, "Actually, quite a bit: if you take Reich, minus the paranoia, then you have me." As I noted earlier, Perls had actually studied with Reich, but there were many others who did not, but nevertheless used or adapted Reich's ideas in hybrid systems of their own. Among them was Arthur Janov whose book The Primal Scream enjoyed a vogue and resulted in the proliferation of various emotive therapies during the '60s and '70s. Another group was exemplified by Alexander Lowen, a psychiatrist who borrowed many of Reich's ideas for the approach he described as bioenergetics. Lowen had his own disciples, but there were a great variety of body therapies that arose, separate from his, that owed much to the concepts that Reich had originated.

The summer of 1961, the year I began my training as a clinical psychologist, I took a camping trip through New England. One of my destinations was the estate near the Rangely Lakes, in Maine, where Reich had lived and worked. He'd named it Orgonon, after the orgone (not to be confused with organon, the Greek word for tool, used as the title of Aristotle's works on logic). The main house was built of fieldstone, and its design bore a crude resemblance to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose personality had much in common with Reich's, down to the extreme valuation of sexuality and the flouting of conventional morality.

Reich died in 1957, a mere four years before my visit. I was greeted on the grounds by a caretaker named Tom Ross, who was a native of that area of Maine and had worked for Reich both as a handy-man and assistant. He was a tall, somewhat gaunt man who spoke easily and with obvious reverence for Reich. At the center of the house was a great room with a high ceiling that served as Reich's observatory and study. It contained many teeming bookcases and there were tables on which scientific instruments, a microscope, petri dishes, etc., lay abandoned in positions suggesting that the last hand to touch them had been Reich's. There was a large organ along one of the walls, on which Reich played Bach when the spirit moved him.

In front of the building, on Reich's tomb, there is an idealized bust of Reich by the sculptor Jo Jenks, who was a student of Reich's. Elsewhere on the grounds are buildings that served as classrooms and laboratories. Some of the devices that Reich called cloud busters, arrays of pipes pointing skyward resembling small antiaircraft batteries, could be seen rusting on their supports. Reich claimed that these were capable of drawing contaminated energy from clouds, freeing them to release their moisture in the form of rain.

I was not disappointed by my visit. Orgonon was very much as I'd imagined it, a pristine setting in which the green of the grass and foliage set off the blues of the sky and water, lending them an intensity that any believer, such as aI was then, could ascribe to their being deeply charged with orgone energy. Logging on to the websites that today are devoted to Orgonon (now called the Wilhelm Reich Museum and Foundation), I am somewhat appalled that the fiery revolutionary whose iconoclastic zeal led him to challenge so many establishments during his lifetime has himself been turned into an icon, his labile energy sclerotized into a bit of static matter. Although his need for adulation may have provided some of the impetus, it is still regrettable and ironic.

Years later, I made the acquaintance of a man whose training in scientific method seemed sufficient for us to attempt to replicate some of Reich's experiments. By this time, I wanted to be able to test the validity of his findings for myself. I recruited another friend who had also been a patient of Dr. Sobey's, and had a scholar's knowledge of Reich's writings. The three of us met a few times, but the project foundered when my friend impugned the eligibility of the scientist to conduct such experiments, on the grounds that his thinking was hopelessly mechanistic. I mention this episode because it provides an occasion to observe that Reich and his followers may justly be classed among the vitalists in the history of scientific thought, the inheritors of the tradition of Goethe, Steiner, Reichenbach, Bergson, and others whose concepts were eventually swept aside by the irresistible juggernaut of mechanistic and positivist thinking that became the canon of Western science.

My cathexis of the Reichian system had long since weakened when I came across a memoir by Peter, Reich's son, entitled A Book of Dreams. I can't say that I recall much of the content, but I was profoundly moved by this account of the experience of a preadolescent child whose father shared thoughts and apprehensions that, if not delusional, at least strained credibility. Reich told Peter about the persecution to which the government had subjected him for his beliefs and also about his contacts with extraterrestrial life. The book conveys, with heart-rending poignancy, the boy's valiant attempt to accept his father's reality in order to maintain their bond of love. The title reflects Peter's wish to follow his father into a realm that he must have known was not consonant with his veridical sense of the world. Reich remains an enigma to this day. It is still not clear whether he was a visionary who followed the thread of Freud's economic point of view to the point where it began to fray and lose coherence, or whether he became delusional and lost his own coherence. It is generally agreed that his work on the theory and technique of character analysis was a highly original and central contribution to psychoanalysis; that beyond that work, he deviated from psychoanalysis; and that he wrote and published many influential books apart from those in which he advanced the orgone theory. Many of the trained clinicians who knew him best were never convinced that he suffered from a psychosis. Those authors who have characterized him as psychotic were, for the most part, not personally acquainted with him.

That he was authentically charismatic is attested early on by the fact that he attracted many followers to the ideological position in which he tried to combine the views of Freud and Marx. Sandor Rado, Otto Fenichel, Annie Reich (whose maiden name was Pink), Siegfried Bernfeld, Erich Fromm, and Paul Federn, among others, rallied to that banner before becoming disillusioned with it. As I mentioned earlier, there were many important figures in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy who attended Reich's lectures in Rangely. At one time or another, these were said to include Frederick Perls, Paul Goodman, Ralph Hefferline, Erich Fromm, Erik Erikson, and Theodore P. Wolfe. I have already enumerated the psychiatrists and other physicians who worked and studied with Reich: Michael Silvert, Victor Sobey, Chester Raphael, and Ellsworth Baker. Others included Sidney Handleman, Oscar and Simeon Tropp, and Philip Gold. Add to these later adherents to Reich's ideas such as Joel Kovel and Robert Spitzer. To my knowledge, none of this entire group has written or spoken of Reich as psychotic. Perls, it will be recalled, said that he was paranoid, and Peter Reich's book implies that he may have been delusional, but the evidence for a radical break with reality is far from conclusive.

Let's recall, too, the inexplicable phenomenon that, of all the literature that might have been considered dangerous, anti-American, or subversive in the mid-20th century, it was Reich's books alone that were removed from the shelves of bookstores and libraries by the authority of the federal government and burned; not only the ones that concerned orgone theory, for which the FDA might have had a specious rationale, but instead all of Reich's books, with the possible exception of Character Analysis. To my knowledge, there was no other author whose works were seen as sufficiently dangerous in the US as to incur wholesale destruction, and this, I submit, is an as yet unexplained episode of major importance to understanding the political and social history of the nation.

There are many levels at which I have reconciled my Reichian experiences with other central influences in my life, among them psychoanalysis. Some, however, are still unresolved and will, no doubt, remain so. In one of my last sessions with Dr. Sobey, I remember telling him that my sense of what Reich was about had evolved to the point where I saw him not as a scientist but rather a poet, and his works as an epic attempt to encompass the universe in a single unifying vision akin to that of Blake or Lucretius. Dr. Sobey received this in silence: he did not disagree with me.

Of the myriad provisional and partial conclusions I drew about Reich earlier, this one seems to me most congruent with all that I have learned about him. It is, in any case, the one with which I am most satisfied, and I suspect it will endure.

About the Author

William Fried is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Manhattan. For 27 years, he served as Associate Director of Psychiatry Residency Training at Maimonides Medical Center and received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Association for Academic Psychiatry in 2000, the first non-physician to be so honored. Dr. Fried is on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and is past president of Section 1 Division 39. He is a contributing editor of DIVISION/ Review. Also a photographer, there have been one-man shows of his photographs in 2002, 2004, and 2010.