Daniel Schiff PhD Somatic Psychotherapy Training
Daniel Schiff PhDSomatic Psychotherapy Training                

New Sections begin each Fall and run September thru June 


Studies in Somatic Psychology

Contemporary Orgone (Reichian) Therapy Four-Year On-Line Training 


An in depth training program for psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and other health professionals who desire to become fully grounded in the theoretical and procedural fundamentals which are used in somatic psychotherapy and contemporary Orgone (Reichian) therapy practice. These fundamentals embody an integration of classical Orgone (Reichian) therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Person-Centered therapy along with contemporary developments in the fields of psychodynamic psychotherapy and attachment and affect theory.  


Course of study: The program of study consists of four 10-month modules (descriptions below) spread over four years with twenty 2-hour video meetings per year; two meetings per month for 10 months (September through June). Forty hours per year total. Each module builds upon the previous one and modules need to be taken in sequence. Additional clinical supervision strongly encouraged but not required.


Format: Meetings include instructor presentations, discussion of assigned readings, participant presentation of clinical case material, analysis of videotaped therapy sessions, clinical demonstrations and group experiential work. 


Class size limited to 10 participants. 


Continuing education: 40 CEU's per module –NASW.



Learning objectives:


1. Develop a thorough understanding of and ability to apply Reich’s functional conceptualization of the relationship between psyche and soma in the process of individual counseling.

2. Develop a thorough understanding of the evolution of contemporary Reichian therapeutic practice from its origins in psychoanalysis to its current form.

3. Develop the ability to use contact and emotional attunement as a ground from which to engage clients in individual counseling from a somatic perspective.

4. 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.

5. Learn to work in the ‘here and now’ and track and respond to clients’ moment by moment responses to changes in their emotional state by observing somatic changes evidenced by body movement and gestures, changes in respiration and facial expression, and changes in vocal tone and prosody.


Topics covered:


 A. Theory:

  • Contemporary Orgone (Reichian) Therapy – foundational principals
  • Gestalt therapy theory and technique
  • Person-centered therapy theory and technique 
  • Orgonomic functionalism
  • Emotion, armor and the expressive language of the living
  • The biophysical segmental armor
  • Character structure and function
  • Contemporary character analytic theory
  • Self-psychology and intersubjective theory
  • Contemporary emotion and attachment theory as applied in therapy


B. Therapeutic Practice:

  • Use of contact and emotional attunement in therapy
  • The orgonomic functional approach to working with armor:  characterological and somatic interventions
  • Process oriented character analysis
  • Working with transference and countertransference
  • Working in and with the 'here and now'
  • Addressing varying presenting problems
  • Therapist's use of self and finding one's therapeutic style


Prerequisites:  a. A graduate degree in the field of mental health or other heath profession or current enrollment in such a graduate program. b. Prior or concurrent somatic psychotherapy, preferably from a Reichian perspective strongly suggested.


Fee: $2400/year; $2200 for students enrolled full time in a graduate program who have financial constraints.  Payment options available. Some scholarships available.


Further information: contact me at my e-mail address:  dschiff@dschiffphd.com. 



Four year program outline:


I. Module One: Relational and somatically focused character analysis   


A. Theoretical Underpinnings

  • Somatic Psychotherapy and Contemporary Reichian Therapy – an overview
  • The life and work of Wilhelm Reich
  • Character, Character Formation, and Character Analysis: as originally laid out by Reich
  • Character, Character Formation, and Character Analysis: contemporary psychodynamic viewpoints and approaches– self psychology and intersubjectivity
  • Character, Character Formation and Character Analysis: humanistic/existential viewpoints and approaches - gestalt therapy, person-centered psychotherapy  
  • The Biophysical (somatic) Armor: 
  •        The Biophysical Armor: Its nature and development
  •        Biophysical Armor and the Primary and Secondary Drives 
  •        Functional Antithesis of Sexuality and Anxiety
  •        Biological Pulsation and Autonomic Function 
  •  The Orgasm Theory
  •        Orgonotic Pulsation 
  •  Contact and its Disturbances: Contactlessness and Substitute Contact 
  •  Orgonotic Pulsation and the Cycle of Experience 
  • The Expressive Language of the Living - Emotion and the Armor 

B. Practical Underpinnings

  • Making/facilitating contact:  The heart of relational and somatically focused character analysis
    • Listening styles and forms of contact - a self psychological and intersubjective perspective
    • Empathic contact - a person-centered viewpoint
    • Contact thru relationship and experimentation - a gestalt therapy perspective
    • Facilitation of contact through awareness, movement, and breath
  • Present centered therapeutic techniques for working with the character armor
  • The body and emotions:  observing emotional changes in the biophysical realm
  • Working with awareness, movement, and breath


II. Module Two:   Addressing the biophysical (somatic) armor 


A. Theoretical Underpinnings
  • Contemporary Orgone (Reichian) Therapy – key concepts
  • Character Structure and the Segmental Armor
  • Orgonomic Functionalism
  • The Orgasm Theory, Orgonotic Pulsation and the Cycle of Experience
  • The Expressive Language of the Living - the Biophysical Armor
  • The Segmental Arrangement of the Biophysical Armor
  • Respiration: Mechanics, Physiology, Bioenergetics
  • The Ocular Segment: Characterological and Biophysical presentation
  • Emotion and the Body 
  • Attachment theory and Emotional Regulation
B. Practical Underpinnings
  • The body and emotions: observing emotional changes in the biophysical realm
  • The beginning phase of therapy: 
  •      a. the biophysical exam
  •      b. the characterological evaluation
  •      c. forming a tentative road map
  • Therapeutic techniques for working with the ocular segment
  • Therapeutic techniques for working with respiration
  • Therapeutic techniques for working with the armor as a whole – relational character analysis in the somatic rea
  • Tracking Biological Pulsation (T-C-D-R) during the session
  • Dimensions of touch


III. Modules Three and Four:  Theory and Therapeutic Technique - Intermediate studies


Yearly syllabi developed based upon the needs of each particular cohort group. 




Contact information

Daniel Schiff PH.D.

Portland, Oregon 

Phone: 503 290-4655

E-mail: dschiff@dschiffphd.com

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