Sigmund Freud - Wilhelm Reich


Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm ReichBorn in Galicia, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) is one of the best known figures of Freudian dissidence. Continuing his studies of medicine in Vienna, Reich was quite early allowed at the Vienna Association of Psychoanalysis, in 1920, where he joined a group of brilliant young analysts.

After a bright start in his with the publication of Characterial Analysis, the first part of which always makes a classic on this subject, W. Reich radically moved away from psychoanalysis while being more and more directed towards a Marxist vision on society. He was then involved in the communist movement and worked out a line of thought giving rise to both dissension and regard from such analysts as Marxists.

One of the major problems of Reich's work lies in the fact that he takes repression for repression of sexuality. Repression is an intra psychic process, accomplishing defensive needs confronted by psychical conflicts, whereas repression of sexuality is an external social process aiming at controlling a population's sexual behaviors. We can therefore understand why Reich could urge to sexual revolution and greater sexual freedom to make neuroses disappear, while at the same time being aware that the absence of adequate external controls often increases rigidity of intra psychic defenses in place.

Because of his revolutionary ideas, Reich soon had to flee from the rise of Nazism. His settled in Maine, the United States, where he founded the Orgone Institute in 1942, in agreement with his theories based on the power of the orgasm. Towards the end of his career, Reich work out increasingly esoteric theories which had little impact in the analytical media, at least.

Following a lawsuit by the American Food and Drug Administration, Reich was imprisoned and he finally died in prison.

*Copyright René DesGroseillers
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