The television show Lie To Me is another variation on the ever-popular genre of the police detective drama. It is based on the body of scientific work by Dr. Paul Ekman, who has mapped out specific facial expressions universal to every culture. More specifically, he has identified the phenomenon of ‘microexpressions’ which occur for extremely short periods of time, even fractions of a second, and reveal an underlying hidden emotion which is momentarily bursting through on a person’s face. Usually, these microexpressions are not visible to the untrained eye, and need to be revealed on frame-by-frame videotape analysis. A contradiction between a person’s apparent expression, and a momentary microexpression which flashes across their faces may reveal a lie, depending on the overall context.
This form of knowledge is the core of Lie To Me, which is set in the offices of an agency who uses this form of emotional analysis to aid police officers in unravelling the true emotions and motivations of the witnesses and suspects in a given case. Some very high stakes, and dramatic situations are scripted around this basic premise, where the main characters use a combination of Dr Ekman’s work, and a generalized cultural knowledge to assess and ultimately resolve some very entangled murder cases.
Ally and I have been watching this series, and enjoying it very much in terms of its parallels with Heilkunst diagnosis and case taking. The unravelling of all of the disease layers of a patient, including emotional or physical shocks and traumas, will take us through territory containing many instances of these kinds of contradictions between what the patient says, and what remains hidden. This act of concealment may be driven by conscious, or unconscious motivations by the patient. In either case, the attentive Heilkünstler will pick up on such clues, and factor them into the overall impression they are taking of the case.
At a more specific level, when we are applying therapeutic techniques based on Dr. Reich’s medical Orgonomy, we will systematically confront the patient layer by layer with feedback about what we are observing in them, and the apparent contradiction which they are displaying. The facial ‘armoring’ which Dr. Reich identified in great detail matches precisely with Dr. Ekman’s concept around the universal expression of certain emotions. Particularly when the patient is ready to be liberated from the unconscious content which is blocking them from achieving the goals which they hold within their conscious minds. This becomes more and more of the focus as the patient enters the third jurisdiction of treatment, Therapeutic Education.
One of the ultimate goals in health is to harmonize and consciously integrate the motivations of our “upper” and “nether” beings, representing, roughly speaking, our central nervous system, and our autonomic nervous system. Our upper, waking conscious mind is generally subject to conflict or disease to the degree that it has not fully realized and connected to some of the ‘darker’ content of the nether being. The purpose of this aspect of therapy is to gradually increase the level of conscious awareness of the upper being to integrate more and more the content of the nether being, creating as fully expanded and unfolded version of ourself as possible.
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