Daniel Schiff PhD Somatic Psychotherapy Training
Daniel Schiff PhDSomatic Psychotherapy Training                

Prior Presentation Descriptions



"Moving toward Authenticity: Character analytic and biophysical interventions in Contemporary Reichian therapy."


All humanistic and existentially based therapies share the understanding that many of the symptoms that clients bring to therapy stem from their inability to live an authentic life.  The fostering of authenticity is therefore one of their primary goals.  Contemporary Reichian Therapy, a humanistic therapeutic approach based upon the integration of Wilhelm Reich’s character analytic and bioenergetic therapy, gestalt therapy, and  affect and attachment theory, approaches this endeavor through addressing the cognitive, emotional, behavioral and somatic defenses that prevent one from making full contact with their authenticity.  It is this interlacing of defenses which Reich termed armor.  Armor is a literal somatic and psychological wall which, though formed as a means of protection in the process of development, unfortunately prevents one from making direct contact with self and other and thus prevents one from living an authentic life.  In this talk I will present the basic theoretical and therapeutic principals which guide Contemporary Reichian Therapy practice and, through a series of clinical vignettes, portray some steps taken on the therapeutic road to authenticity. 


"Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Therapy: Further conversations with Harry Lewis, Ed.D."

Saturday, 6/14/2014
This workshop will be present opportunity to learn about the life and work of Wilhelm Reich MD and the theory and practice of orgone therapy from Harry Lewis, MSW, ED.D, one of the foremost authorities on the work on Wilhelm Reich in the US. A student of the work of Dr. Reich since 1970, Dr. Lewis received his training in Orgone therapy with Dr. Victor M. Sobey, M.D., who was trained by Dr. Reich and worked closely with him until Dr. Reich's death in 1957. Dr. Lewis worked as Dr. Sobey's close associate until his death in 1995. Dr. Daniel Schiff and Mitch Singer, MA will also participate as presenters and discussants.


"A sense of self:  The intersection between Embodied and Expressive practices in Psychotherapy."


Saturday, September 21, 2013, Lewis and Clark continuing education.

Presented with Peter Mortola, PHD


In this workshop we will explore the intersection of embodied and expressive practices in psychotherapeutic work with adults and children. We will particularly focus on how one engages a client’s senses in a manner that both enlivens the therapeutic process and helps clients to experience a richer sense of themselves. This better developed sense of contact with their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and intentions enables clients to more resourcefully and effectively address the challenges they face.


Workshop participants will leave with both an appreciation for the enormous utility of incorporating somatic and expressive interventions into one’s clinical practice and with an understanding of the theory that supports their use.


"Fostering the doctor-patient relationship:  Lessons from the psycho-therapeutic couch." 

Thursday, January 10, 2013.  Washington Pain Society
It has been said that psychotherapy is a process of 'healing through meeting'. What I take this to mean is that it is the relationship that is built between therapist and client, built through the nature and quality of the verbal and nonverbal communication between them, the form of their 'meeting', that is the basis of the art of psychotherapy.  In the time together I would like to speak a little about how one meets one's patient and then explore together how these 'lessons from the psycho-therapeutic couch' can be applied in your particular doctor - patient settings.

"Wilhelm Reich and the Development of Orgonomic-Bioenergetic Medicine"

Saturday Apr. 24, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. NCNM, Room 322

Presented with Luke Gonzales ND.


Over a 30-year period, from the late 1920s through the mid 1950s, Wilhelm Reich MD developed a functional bioenergetic method for the treatment of those somatic and psychological disorders that result from a disturbance in the natural pulsatory expression of life energy.  He called this therapy ‘orgone therapy’ – an approach that simultaneously addresses both the psychic (cognitive, attitudinal, interpersonal) and somatic (muscular, respiratory, postural) defensive behavioral patterns that lead to the stopping of the free movement and expression of life energy (orgone energy).  While currently Reich is often referenced as the father of ‘body-mind psychotherapy’ and much has been written about his work, the broad scope of his bioenergetic and emotionally-focused model and technique remains often either misrepresented or not fully understood.  In this day course, through a series of lectures and discussion, Reich’s orgonomic-bioenergetic model will be presented and its current application in the fields of psychotherapy, counseling, and naturopathic medicine will be discussed. 



Wilhelm Reich Lecture Series:


Sponsored by The Traditional Naturopathic Student Association:

National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM).


2010 Series:


Lecture 1: Self-Regulation and Attachment--Understanding the Emotional Life of Children

This lecture will be an exploration of two theories of emotional regulation that are both consistent with Naturopathic philosophy and also valuable in their further explication of the emotional life of children. The emotions of anger, frustration, sadness, and apathy, often felt and sometimes expressed by children, are important to understand in the context of attachment and self-regulation so that we as physicians can educate our patients and help to bring their family life into greater health. 

Attachment theory, born out of the observations and research of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, brought a tremendous amount of attention and respect to the mother-child relationship. The patterns of secure or insecure attachment and the various stages of detachment play a profound role in the development of children and adult life. The discoveries of Wilhelm Reich further elucidate the dynamics of the emotional regulation that occurs between parent and child and help ground attachment theory in a bio-energetic and functional basis consistent with the neo-vitalist tradition of Naturopathic medicine. Come join us as these two theoretical stances and their implications for medical practice are presented and discussed.


2008 Series:


Lecture 1:  Body Language


Patient non-verbal and extra-verbal communication can be a valuable source of information for assessment and a gateway into exploring the deepest layers of illness. Understanding the patients’ body language can help to build a greater psycho-emotional-physiologic picture of the patient, aiding in the naturopathic decree to treat the CAUSE and THE WHOLE PERSON.  This lecture will discuss basic concepts for interpreting patient body language, and Reich’s unique approach to understanding and treating this “character structure.”


Lecture 2:  Resistance to "Cure": Why some Patients Appear Unable and Unwilling to Get Better?


This lecture digs into the very roots of the Naturopathic Philosophy and Principles.All of our therapies depend not just on the biochemical interactions of the substances we give them, but on the emotional/physical/spiritual factors that make up the WHOLE PERSON.At the root of DOCERE is the idea that we must teach the patient how to take RESPONSIBILITY for their own health.But just as you can’t tell someone to JUST RELAX, taking RESPONSIBILITY requires that the patient have a level of connection with themselves and the world around them.This lecture will explore Reich’s theories about how/why psycho/emotional/physical factors can lead a patient to resist getting better.Whereas Freud attributed this phenomenon to a “death instinct”, Reich and Naturopathy share the view that nature can heal itself, given the opportunity and circumstances.


Lecture 3:  The Emotional Body (Mind)


In Naturopathic medicine, emotions are thought of as important aspects of optimal health.Unfortunately our training does not enable us to understand the process of an emotional experience and how that effects or is effected by tensions in the body or respiratory patterns.Reich understood emotions to be functionally identical to the movement of energy (Bioenergy) within an organism.The ability of an organism to tolerate and express emotion (bioenergetic movement and excitation) has profound implications for the circulation of blood, the storage of toxins, the function of organs, and the presence of chronic musculoskeletal pain and tension.This is in addition to the classic symptoms that we are familiar with such as anxiety, depression, and other so called psychological disorders.In the third lecture in this series, we will conclude our discussion of body language, resistance, and the doctor-patient relationship by exploring the anatomy of emotional experience and its implications for Naturopathic practice.


2009 Series:


Lecture I: The Function of the Orgasm: An Exploration of Sexuality and Health

During his lifetime, Wilhelm Reich's scientific explanation of the natural function of sexuality in human life led to him being chased out of two countries, and eventually jailed and his books burned in a third. Fifty-one years later sexuality continues to be taboo, even within our medical education where it is not given any serious attention. How could something so essential to life and health be ignored? 

We speak of the function of breathing, of peristalsis, or other physiological aspects of our life. What is the function of an orgasm? What expressive movements are seen in an orgasm, and what is being expressed in these movements? How is the orgasm expressed in other species, or in other living and non-living natural phenomenon? How are the life function and the sexual function related? What is sexuality? These and other questions will be explored, and discussion encouraged. 


V. Other Presentations:


"The Body in Psychotherapy:  Integrating Gestalt and Reichian therapy with contemporary Affect and Attachment Theory"


Sponsered by the Gestalt Therapy Training Center Northwest

June 2007-09


One cannot read the work of Perls, Reich, and many others who identify themselves as Gestalt or Reichian therapists without being struck by their depiction of the central role somatic (bodily) processes play in the organization of one’s experience and expression of emotions.  Current affect and attachment theorists, such as Tomkins, Ekman, and Schore paint a similar picture, stressing the intimate relationship between emotion, cognition, and physiological processes. If in psychotherapy one wants to help clients reach their deep emotions, it is crucial to understand the role of the body in emotional experience and expression.

This workshop will present an integration of Gestalt and Reichian psychotherapy and current affect and attachment theory. The focus will be on providing an understanding of the somatic underpinnings of emotion and patterns of emotional experience and expression (character structure), and the process whereby dysfunctional emotional patterns are activated and changed in psychotherapy, thus allowing clients to regain their capacity for pleasure and emotional intimacy. 




"Contemporary Reichian Psychotherapy: A body-mind psychotherapeutic approach"


Date:  Sunday, January 28, 2007


The goal of psychotherapy is to help people who are suffering from distressing emotions, feelings, and/or interpersonal relationships develop the capacity to find pleasure, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives.  Contrary to some current psychological theories, though well understood in the practice of yoga, emotional distress is not just the result of difficulties in how we think, or due to a misbalance of chemicals in our brain, but is equally rooted in how we breathe, move, speak, see - the functioning of our body-mind.   In our 2 hours together I will discuss how distressing emotions become lodged in one’s body-mind, and introduce to you a psychotherapeutic approach that integrates work with one’s ‘psyche’ with work with one’s ‘body’ to more directly help people move from a place of contraction and emotional pain to expansion and growth.  




The Bioenergetic Basis of Somatic and Psychological Disorders:  A Reichian Perspective


Date:  Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In the early 1940’s Wilhelm Reich, MD coined the term biopathy to characterize those disease processes that result from an underlying disturbance of bioenergetic pulsation.  According to Reich biopathies can present themselves as both psychological/behavioral disorders and somatic disorders, both which have at their root chronic patterns of emotional defenses - or armor.  In this presentation I will present and discuss Reich’s concept of biopathy and his bioenergetic approach to treatment (orgone (Reichian) therapy), and, if time permits, give a demonstration of his characterological and somatic approach to undoing armor.

"The Cycle of Experience: An Affective/Bioenergetic Developmental View"

AAGT 8th International Conference August 11, 2006 Vancouver, CANADA


We are in a period of tremendous growth in our knowledge of human functioning, growth that both expands upon and confirms the organismic self-regulatory processes first articulated in Reichian and Gestalt theory and therapy, and depicted by the Cycle of Experience (COE).  In this presentation I will enlarge upon the theoretical and clinical understanding of the COE, incorporating Stanley Greenspan’s model of functional emotional development, Allan Schore’s research on the developmental neurobiology of attachment, and Wilhelm Reich’s research and writings on life energetic functioning, and discuss its application in the framing and execution of clinical interventions.



"The Cycle of Experience: A Gestalt/Reichian understanding of character structure and the facilitation of character change in psychotherapy."


The Wellness Project, March 15, 2006, Vancouver, WA.


The Cycle of Experience is a model of organismic self-regulation developed out of the early work of Perls and Goodman (Gestalt therapy) and Wilhelm Reich.  It essentially depicts the process via which individuals engage the environment to fulfill their basic needs and desires, and how disruptions to this organismic process contributes to psychopathology.  It provides a template that can help therapists to both understand and engage the character issues clients bring to therapy – issues which often must be addressed in some manner if therapy is going to be successful.  

In this workshop I will present an overview of the Cycle of Experience as a model of organismic self regulation, look at the relationship between patterns of self regulatory disruption and character structure, and provide an orientation to how this model can be used in clinical practice. The presentation will be both didactic and experiential, and questions and discussion well received and encouraged.




Contact information

Daniel Schiff PH.D.
945 NE Hazelfern Place

Portland, Oregon 97232

Phone: 503 290-4655

E-mail: dschiff@dschiffphd.com

Special Facebook Promotion

Like us on Facebook and get 10% off your next order.

Print | Sitemap
© dschiffphd.com