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Gurevich, P. S. Wilhelm Reich’s Three-Element Personality Model

Published in journal "Psychology and Psychotechnics", 2014-11 in rubric "Editor-in-Chief's column", pages 1137-1141.

Resume: Much is written about psychoanalytical heritage of Wilhelm Reich. His views on unconsciousness have been analyzed and his concepts of body psychotherapy and body psychoanalysis have been underlined. Researchers have also pointed out Reich’s contribution to the character analysis. Reich saw a great health potential in spontaneous manifestations of psyche. However, Pavel Gurevich believes that the social meaning of Reich’s teaching has not been discovered yet. In the years when Reich started to become famous, classical psychoanalysis already began to give place to Neo Freudianism. Karen Horney and Erich Fromm focused on the role of social factors in diagnostics and treatment of patients. They criticized Freudianism for ignoring the role of social and cultural factors in personality development. In response, adherents of classical psychoanalysis blamed Neo Freudians for underestimating the role of intrapsychic and biological factors in individual development. Wilhelm Reich managed to stay uninvolved in those discussions. However , he created an interesting three-element personality model. In his research Pavel Gurevich applies methods of social psychology allowing to define the role of the social environment in diagnosing symptoms of neurosis. At the same time, the author of the article has also use the methods of historical analysis of the problem. In particular, Reich’s teaching is viewed in terms of that period in the psychoanalysis development when classical psychoanalysis was gradually giving place to Neo Freudianism. The novelty of the research is in the analysis of the three-element personality model offered by Reich. This model demonstrates that Reich gave the priority to the social and cultural topics. Being an orthodox adherent of Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich nevertheless approached to understanding the doubtless significance of politics and culture in the personality development. According to Pavel Gurevich, in this respect Wilhelm Reich even preceded Karen Horney and Erich Fromm although Reich did not manage that deep social and cultural analysis that Neo Freudianism offered. Wilhelm Reich changed the concept of personality structure offered by Freud. In fact, Freud created the model of psyche without giving focusing on the cultural factor. Freud’s general provisions about the role of super ego, parental prohibitions and moral self-condemnation were later developed in Wilhelm Reich’s model.

Keywords: psychology, psychoanalysis, Neo-Freudianism, personality, personality model, unconsciousness, human health, reality, sexuality, sociality.

DOI: 10.7256/2070-8955.2014.11.13437

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