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Member driven blogs to spotlight solutions, share opinions, raise public awareness, and contribute to shaping our national mental health policy.  Stay current and up-to-date in the world of somatic psychology and practices.


  • 15 Apr 2019 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
    Summer Conference at the Wilhelm Reich Museum
    July 8-12 2019, Orgonon, Rangeley, Maine

    WILHELM REICH’S WORK DEMOCRACY

    Between the years 1938 and 1945, Wilhelm Reich wrote six important texts on work democracy:

    1939: The Natural Organization of Work in Work Democracy
    1941: Further Problems of Work Democracy
    1942: “The Biological Miscalculation in the Human Struggle for Freedom”
    1943: “Give Responsibility to Vitally Necessary Work!” and “Work Democracy versus Politics: The Natural Forces for the Mastery of the Emotional Pest.”
    1944: “Work Democracy in Action”

    Attendees are encouraged to read these ahead of time. When you register prior to the conference, three will be sent to you. The others are included as the final three chapters of The Mass Psychology of FascismWe will explore the development of Reich’s ideas but also how we can put them to use in our own lives, to get practical benefit and to help others.

    CONFERENCE SCHEDULE (subject to change):

    Monday 8 July
    9:00 am -10:30 am - Welcome, introduction to the topic: James Strick, PhD
    10:45 am – 1:00 pm - Reich’s articles on work democracy, part 1: Philip Bennett, PhD
    2:30 pm – 4:00 pm - Sit in closed Orgone Room for visual observations (weather permitting—we will do it on the first sunny, low humidity day)
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm - Lakeside Theatre, Rangeley, screening of “Love, Work and Knowledge: the Life and Trials of Wilhelm Reich”

    Tuesday 9 July
    9:00 am – 1:00 pm - Reich’s writings on work democracy, part 2: Philip Bennett, PhD
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm - Lakeside Theatre, Rangeley, screening of “Love, Work and Knowledge...”

    Wednesday 10 July
    9:00 am – 1:00 pm - Reich writings on work democracy, part 3: David Brahinsky, PhD
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm - International panel discussion from a variety of different perspectives about Reich’s ideas on work democracy (various participants from the US, Mexico, Germany, Norway) 

    Thursday 11 July
    9:00 am – 10:30 am - Patricia Estrada, MA, Using Reich’s Principles in a Current Organization
    10:45 am - 12 noon - Thomas Riepenhausen, MA, Work Democracy in Practice Today
    12 noon - 1:00 pm - Open discussion
    2:30 pm – 4:30 pm - Hike to Cascade Gorge (bring a bathing suit if you want to swim)
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm - 2009 video interview with Mary Boyd Higgins, 
    Trustee of WRITF 1959-2019

    Friday 12 July
    9:00 am – 10:30 am - Audio tape from the Reich archives on Reich’s use of work democratic ideas in his own organizations
    10:45 am - 12 noon - Discussion of tape
    12 noon – 1:00 pm - Panel discussion with all speakers

    Spanish translation will be provided.

    Saturday 13 July (optional)
    For those who can stay through Saturday night, a concert of standards from the great American songbook will be performed by renowned jazz pianist Andy Kahn on Saturday evening July 13th. 
    (see info at 
    www.rangeleymaine.com/calendar/event/4705)


    GENERAL INFORMATION

    EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION FEE (good though 20 May 2019)  - $275.00
    After 20 May, fee will be $325.00
    Includes tuition, information packet, daily homemade breakfast and refreshments.  A 25% discount is available for full-time college students who can document their status and for those traveling from outside the US and Canada. Registration may be made using  check Mastercard, Visa, or American Express.  Call (207) 864-3443, send check to Orgonon, PO Box 687, Rangeley, Maine 04970 USA, or e-mail wilhelmreichmuseum@gmail.com

    MEETING PLACE 
    Conference Building at Orgonon (Wilhelm Reich Museum) located on Dodge Pond Road in Rangeley, Maine

    TAX DEDUCTION
    IRS regulations permit an income tax deduction for educational expenses to maintain or improve professional skills.

    ACCOMMODATIONS
    Hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, lakefront cottages and other rentals, and campgrounds are available in and around Rangeley.   We encourage you to make reservations early as this is the busy season. Try https://www.vrbo.com/ or AirBNB, or for information, contact the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce: Tel. 1-800-685-2537o r email:  mtlakes@rangeley.org

    TWO SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
    To apply for the Mary Boyd Higgins and Chester M. Raphael Scholarships, please contact us at:  wilhelmreichmuseum@gmail.com
    All applications must be received by May 15, 2019.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION 
    Call us at (207) 864-3443, or e-mail:  wilhelmreichmuseum@gmail.com


    Passages from selected articles by Wilhelm Reich:


    • Work democracy implies the triumph of rational thinking, work, knowledge, and natural love over mysticism, serfdom, political chicanery, pornography, deception, disenfranchisement, and exploitation of the masses.

    • Whoever tells the people, “I can’t promise you anything, I can’t help you, you and you alone must bear the responsibility for your lives”–this is the one who doesn’t release them from their responsibility but rather enlightens them and charges them with it; this is the one who will have understood the true meaning of work democracy.

    • Work democracy is not an ideological system. Nor is it a “political” system, which could be imposed upon human society by the propaganda of a party, individual politicians, or any group sharing a common ideology. Natural work democracy is the sum total of all functions of life governed by the rational interpersonal relations that have come into being, grown and developed in a natural and organic way. What is new in work democracy is that for the first time in the history of sociology, a possible future regulation of human society is derived not from ideologies or conditions that must be created, but from natural processes that have been present and have been developing from the very beginning.

    • Work democracy consciously develops formal democracy, which is expressed in the mere election of political representatives and does not entail any further responsibility on the part of the electorate, into a genuine, factual, and practical democracy on an international scale. This democracy is borne by the functions of love, work and knowledge and is developed organically. It fights mysticism and the idea of the totalitarian state not through political attitudes but through practical functions of life, which obey their own laws. In short, natural work democracy is a newly discovered bio-sociologic, natural and basic function of society.


  • 8 Jan 2019 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    Complex PTSD is Now Recognized!

    In June 2018, nearly 40 years after the APA controversially yet officially recognized Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a mental disorder that required clinical treatment, the World Health Organization released the ICD-11 including a new diagnosis: Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

    This diagnosis has the potential to completely revolutionize the world of mental health.

    Understanding the long-term impact of unresolved early trauma is indeed a world health issue. Attachment, relational and developmental trauma – which crosses all cultures, religions and communities – impacts the neurobiological development of children and creates life-long patterns of disorganization within the body, mind and relationships. Perhaps a greater understanding of Complex Trauma can help us understand the underlying causes of the disorders our clients are struggling with, in addition to the increasing social challenges like substance abuse, systemic injustice and violence. A trauma-responsive perspective brings great hope.

    While PTSD evolved the field of psychology in a major way nearly 40 years ago, those of us that have worked in this field know that there are limitations to the diagnosis and the treatments addressing it. C-PTSD helps us evolve our understanding of trauma. Now that C-PSTD has been officially recognized, the next step is to finding treatments that are specifically geared to addressing Complex Trauma.

    Many of us have experienced frustration with clients dealing with complex trauma due to their lack of progress in therapy, as well as those clients who make good progress only to regress back to old, stuck patterns of self-sabotage, hopelessness and despair. These are usually the clients that therapists bring to consultation.

    The question we as NARM consultants get asked repeatedly – how can I most effectively help my client?

    To answer this, let’s revisit The ACEs Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences). The ACEs Study has a fascinating origin. Originally, it was designed as a weight-loss program until the head of the program, Dr. Vincent Felitti, observed that despite making successful gains toward their weight-loss goals, nearly 50% of the participants were dropping out. This did not make sense to Dr. Felitti at the time: why participants would leave the program as they were losing weight and coming close to meeting their weight-loss goals. He created a questionnaire to understand this phenomenon and discovered that a majority of those that dropped-out had experienced childhood trauma. Thus began the monumental research project we now refer to as the ACEs Study.

    One fascinating aspect here is the underlying mechanism of self-sabotage. One would think that the closer a participant got to their goals the more motivated they would be to complete their program. But whether it’s weight loss, or a student dropping out their senior year of college just a few credits shy of graduating, or someone who has been sober and returns to their substance use, we see so many examples of people getting closer to health, wellness and success turn to behaviors that are self-sabotaging and self-destructive.

    We are now unwinding this puzzle through recognizing the “survival” function of shame and self-hatred. As young children, everything revolves around staying connected to our caregivers via attachment – this is essential for our basic survival and well-being. When there has been failure, whether from our caregivers or from the environment, our basic survival is threatened. A child is unable to experience themselves as being a good person in a bad situation. Therefore, unconsciously, psychobiological mechanisms turn on to assure our basic survival. A main survival strategy is what we might refer to as shame and self-hatred; that children experience themselves as bad as a way to protect themselves from their failures of their caregivers and/or environment.

    One of the things we have observed in consulting many somatic-oriented therapists internationally is that despite very effective and powerful somatic work, therapeutic process still gets thwarted without recognizing and working directly with the survival-based developmental strategies. Clients begin to get better and then repeatedly have set-backs or sabotage it in a number of ways. Going back to the original weight-loss program, something is threatening about moving forward in life toward greater health and well-being. That something is the way we learned to protect our early caregivers and environment through foreclosing fundamental aspects of ourselves, even if those fundamental aspects are positive like growth, healing and aliveness.

    So what does this have to do with somatic therapy? What happens when a client is moving toward greater embodiment, self-regulation and empowerment (“bottom-up”), but we fail to recognize the underlying shame-based wounds that have led to the dysfunctional strategies, behaviors and symptoms? Or for traditional, talk-based therapists, what happens when we work with the psychodynamics of shame, self-hatred and self-sabotage (“top-down”) without shifting the physiological and emotional patterns that are fueling the self-limiting beliefs and behaviors? And, what happens when we are working with early attachment wounds and don’t recognize our own countertransference (our own unresolved trauma patterns and triggers) and how this impacts the therapeutic process?

    The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a therapeutic approach designed to work with the unresolved wounds and patterns leftover from early trauma. This integrated “top-down” (psychodynamic-based) and “bottom-up” (somatic-based) approach works with the psychobiological patterns of shame and self-hatred within a deeply mindful, relational context. With a framework that identifies the developmental wounds from early trauma, our clients have a possibility of moving forward unencumbered by these unconscious survival strategies that have come to dominate their lives. Freedom from childhood trauma is possible.

    While research on this is still in its infancy, we at the NARM Training Institute are buoyed by clinical reports and early research demonstrating how effective the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is in resolving attachment, relational and developmental trauma. We have trained thousands of mental health clinicians throughout North America and Europe, and are rapidly expanding our NARM training programs throughout the world and online.

    If you have clients that are struggling from unresolved early trauma and would like more information on how to provide more effective therapeutic support for your clients, we invite you to learn more about the NeuroAffective Relational Model in our online or live training formats.

    To learn more about this revolutionary method to treat this paradigm-shifting diagnosis, please visit our website at: www.narmtraining.com.


  • 15 Nov 2018 11:22 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Colleagues

    It is with great regret that I have just heard the news that Christa Ventling has died. She was a female pioneer in European Bioenergetic Analysis and - most importantly - in qualitative research in Body Psychotherapy. 

    She published several ‘research’ papers in various journals over a considerable time period, including a couple of excellent edited books: Body Psychotherapy in Progressive and Chronic Disorders (Karger, 2002), with 4 of her articles in it; and also Childhood Psychotherapy: A bioenergetic approach (Karger, 2001), which was translated into Italian by Livia Geloso & Vanessa Poloni, and published by FrancoAngeli. 

    Her ‘ResearchGate’ entry page lists 33 items; some of them very technical in cell biology and cancer research; some in English, some in German. Her somewhat seminal article: "Efficacy of Bioenergetic Therapies and Stability of the Therapeutic Result: A Retrospective Investigation" by Christa D. Ventling, DPhil. was published in the USABP Journal Vol. 1, No. 2, 2002 and reprinted in About the Science of Body Psychotherapy, Edited by Courtenay Young (Body Psychotherapy Publications, 2012). She was incredibly concerned about and supportive of women and women having babies: another of her papers: Sensitivity training of pregnant women: A possible prevention of neurosis of the child?  was presented at the 2002, 3rd National USABP Conference in Baltimore. 


    I last met with her - by arrangement - when I was going through Lausanne, in about 2015 and she had come down on the train from her home in Basel and we had lunch together in the station buffet. It was lovely, friendly and very animated. She said that she was still working with groups of women with certain issues.  

    She will be missed a lot from within the Body Psychotherapy community.
    Yours
    Courtenay Young

  • 29 Aug 2018 8:29 AM | Anonymous



    Stanley Keleman: In Memoriam
    November 1931 - August 2018

    Stanley Keleman  died  peacefully in his sleep on Aug.11th, 2018, just two months after completing his latest book: “Forming your Aging”.

    David Boadella encloses a personal tribute to Stanley, as a poem to celebrate a close friendship with him over sixty years:

    Soul Brother

    We were bonded together
    through our work, on teaching our trainees
    to listen to their bodies and create more ease
    so as not to get flooded by trauma.

    We swam in the same somatic sea together
    and kept truly meeting each other
    for sixty years of living our dying,
    in a friendship that felt like flying
    on parallel tracks, each of us founding
    in our own way, our understanding of grounding.

    Poems crossed the oceans between us,
    and built a presence
    for the essence
    of contact, which could appear
    in the letters which flowed
    between us as swimmers
    born in the same year.

    So far away yet so near
    the pain eventually came
    out of the blue,
    when death claimed you
    my soul brother.
    No other
    man can replace you as a life companion
    in creation:
    your aging has ended.
    Your soma could no longer be mended.

    I carry you with me in my heart
    as a pulse of remembered life, beyond the dark.
    I embody you still in my dreams, at night
    as you keep me company on my journey towards light.

     - By David Boadella
    (written August 19, 2018)

    Stanley Keleman was an American writer and therapist, who created the body psychotherapy approach known as Formative Psychology. He was one of the leaders of the body psychotherapy movement nationally and internationally.

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