Daniel Schiff PhD
Daniel Schiff PhD                


Studies in Somatic Psychology – Somatic Psychotherapy Training and Case Consultation Group


A training and case consultation group for therapists, health practitioners, and students in the health field who wish to incorporate an emotionally focused somatic approach into their work with their clients


October 2017 – June 2018


Facilitator: Daniel Schiff PhD



Course Description


As contemporary neuroscience confirms that the split between mind and body, psyche and soma is an artificial one and that effective psychotherapy must address and pay attention to all aspects of our total organism, there is an increasing desire among therapists to incorporate somatic approaches into their basic psychotherapeutic work. Yet what is missing for many therapists is a clear theoretical and technical understanding of how to understand their clients and the psychotherapeutic process from a somatic psychological perspective and how to incorporate such understanding into their therapeutic work.


Drawing upon the foundational work of Wilhelm Reich in his development of character analysis and vegetotherapy (Reich’s terminology at that time for what we would currently term as somatic psychotherapy), Gestalt therapy’s phenomenological and experimental approach to working with character defenses (contact-boundary disturbances), and including an integration of the more recent contributions from attachment and emotion theory and self-psychology, this course will provide the integrative and clear theoretical and technical understanding addressed above.


The theoretical and technical dimensions of somatic psychotherapy which this training will focus on will include: 



•           Contemporary Reichian Therapy – foundational principals

•           Orgonomic pulsation

•           Orgonomic functionalism

•           Emotion, armor and the expressive language of the living

•           The segmental armor

•           Basic principles of character analysis

•           Self-psychology and intersubjective theory

•           Contemporary emotion and attachment theory as applied in therapy.


Therapeutic Practice:

•           Use of contact and emotional attunement in therapy

•           The functional approach to working with armor: characterological and                                       somatic interventions

•           Working with transference and countertransference

•           Working with different presenting problems

•           Therapist’s use of self and finding his/her therapeutic style


Training will be offered within a small group and case consultation format, where therapists will be introduced to and learn how to apply these key theoretical and technical principles underlying somatic psychotherapy through lecture, dialogue, role-playing, demonstration, case consultation and discussion, and skill building via working with one another in the group setting. There will be a short article or book chapter (or parts of) to be read prior to each meeting.  These readings will be taken from some of Reich’s primary texts as well as articles and books on self-psychology, attachment and emotion, and gestalt therapy.


The group meets twice monthly on Wednesday mornings for 8 ½ months. There are two concurrent groups running from October 2017 through June 2018. There are up to seven participants allowed per group. Clock Hours: Per group session: 1.5 hours for a total of 25.5 hours for 17 group sessions. Tuition: $850 for 17 meetings.  Student rate: $750.






Within a small group training and case consultation format, each participant will:


  1. Develop an understanding of and ability to apply the key theoretical dimensions of a somatic psychological perspective within the context of individual therapy.
  2. Develop an increased capacity to use contact and emotional attunement as a ground from which to engage clients in individual therapy.
  3. Learn to apply characterological and somatic interventions with clients in individual therapy to help them address problems with estrangement from somatic experience and identify and lessen defenses against emotional contact, experience and expression.
  4. Learn to identify and work with transference and countertransference reactions as they emerge in the therapeutic process.

Location:  1033 SW Yamhill Street, suite 402, Portland, Oregon 97205


Continuing Education credit (25.5 hours) applied for thru the National Board of Certified Counselors.


Readings will be taken from the following texts:


Herskowitz, M. (2001). Emotional Armoring. New Brunswick:  Transaction Publishers.

Josephs, L. (1995). Balancing Empathy and Interpretation:  Relational Character Analysis. New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc.

Lessem, P.A. (2005). Self Psychology: An Introduction. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc.

Reich, W. (1949).  Character Analysis (third edition).  New York: Noonday Press

Reich, W. (1973).  The Function of the Orgasm. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

Reich, W. (1973).  Selected Writings. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

Schwendeman, D. (1988). "Considerations in the Treatment of Ocular Armoring."  Annals of the Institute for Orgonomic Science, 5(1): 40-51.

Schwendeman, D. (1986). "The Ocular Character."  Annals of the Institute for Orgonomic Science, 3(1): 35-42.

Sedgwick, E.K. & Frank, A. (1995). Shame and Its Sisters:  A Silvan Tomkins Reader. Duke University Press.



Contact information

Daniel Schiff PH.D.
1033 SW Yamhill Street

Suite 402

Portland, Oregon 97205

Phone: 503 290-4655

E-mail: dschiff@dschiffphd.com

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