Book Review : Wilhelm Reich’s Character Analysis

Character Analysis was written by Wilhelm Reich in 1933.  Reich was a psychoanalyst and physician whose work today is of relevant significance in Psychotherapy. Reich had, already in the early days, discovered problems therapists face with some patients in the therapeutic work. This problems come in the form of resistance to the analysis itself, and these manifest as major hinderances to the treatment. I believe that it is because of these resistances (and the fact that many therapists today have not paid attention to the existence of these resistances), that some patients become rendered “un-therapieable” / or untreatable. In today’s world the danger in considering patients not treatable by psychotherapy not only does injustice to the profession, but also to the patient, who ultimately become dependent on psycho pharmaceuticals as their only sources of help. These drugs often come with side effects and do not help the patient return to full functionality.

Reich’s influence today can be seen in the work of Otto Kernberg, who explains to us about Transference Analysis.

Chapters in this book & pictorial notes:

ON THE TECHNIQUE OF INTERPRETATION AND OF RESISTANCE ANALYSIS 

1. Same typical errors in the technique of interpretation and their consequences

2. Systematic interpretation and resistance analysis

3. Consistency in resistance analysis

ON THE TECHNIQUE OF CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Character armoring and character resistance

a) The inability to follow the basic rule

b) Where do the character resistances come from?

c) On the technique of analyzing the character resistance

d) The technique of dealing with individual situations as derived from the structure of the character resistance

e) The breaking down of the narcissistic defense apparatus

f) On the optimal conditions for the analytic reduction to the infantile situation from the contemporary situation

g) Character analysis in the case of abundantly flowing material

3 A case of passive-feminine character

a) Anamnesis

b) The development and analysis of the character-resistance

c) Linking the analysis of the contemporary material to the infantile

 INDICATIONS AND DANGERS OF CHARACTER ANALYSIS ON THE HANDLING OF THE TRANSFERENCE

1 The distillation of the genital-object libido 127

2 Secondary narcissism, negative transference, and insight into illness

3 On the handling of the abstinence rule

4 On the question of the “dissolution” of the positive transference

5 A fe,v remarks about counter-transference

THEORY OF CHARACTER FORMATION CHARACTEROLOGICAL RESOLUTION OF THE INFANTILE SEXUAL CONFLICT

1 Content and form of psychic reactions

2 The function of character formation

3 Conditions of character differentiation

THE GENITAL CHARACTER AND THE NEUROTIC CHARACTER (THE SEX-ECONOMIC FUNCTION OF THE CHARACTER ARMOR)

1 Character and sexual stasis

2 The libido-economic difference between the genital character and the neurotic character

a) Structure of the id

b) Structure of the superego

c) Structure of the ego

3 Sublimation, reaction formation, and neurotic reaction basis

CHILDHOOD PHOBIA AND CHARACTER FORMATION

1 An “aristocratic” character

2 Overcoming of childhood phobia by the formation of character attitudes

SOME CIRCUMSCRIBED CHARACTER FORMS

1 The hysterical character

2 The compulsive character

3 The phallic-narcissistic character

THE MASOCHISTIC CHARACTER

1 Summary of views

2 The armoring of the masochistic character

3 Inhibited exhibitionism and the passion for self-deprecation

4 Unpleasurable perception of the increase of sexual excitation: the specific basis of the masochistic character

5 Observations on the therapy of masochism

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE BASIC CONFLICT BETWEEN NEED AND OUTER WORLD

FROM PSYCHOANALYSIS TO ORGONE BIOPHYSICS

PSYCHIC CONTACT AND VEGETATIVE CURRENT

1 More about the conflict between instinct and outer World

2 Same technical presuppositions

3 The change of function of the impulse

4 The intellect as defense function

5 The interlacing of the instinctual defenses

6 Contactlessness

7 Substitute contact

8 The psychic representation of the organic

a) The idea of “bursting”

b) On the idea of death

q Pleasure, anxiety, anger, and muscular armor

1 o The two great leaps in evolution

TIIE EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE OF THE LIVING

1 ‘”The function of en1otion in orgone therapy

2 Plasn1atir expressive n1ovement and en1otional expression

3 The segmental arrangement of the armor

4 The emotional expression of the orgasm reflex and sexual superimposition

THE SCHIZOPHRENIC SPLIT

1 The ”devil” in the schizophrenic process

2 The “forces”

3 The remote schizophrenic expression in the eyes

4 The breakthrough of the depersonalizationand first understanding of the schizophrenicsplit

5 The interdependence of consciousness andself-perception

6 The rational function of the “devilish evil”

7 Anorgonotic regions in the catatonic state

8 The function of self-damage in schizophrenia

9 Crisis and recovery

THE EMOTIONAL PLAGUE

References:

Reich, W. (1980/1933). Character analysis. Macmillan.

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