by Michael J. Gelb**
On the recommendation of a friend whose advice I heeded due to the searing accuracy of her critical feedback, I went to see a psychotherapist. This was a stretch since, having been raised by a therapist, going to therapy as a child, and studying psychology for years both academically and practically, I was skeptical, and probably arrogant, about the prospect of finding someone I’d respect.
The minute I walked into Dr. Mort Herskowitz’s office, my skepticism and arrogance vanished. There was something about his penetrating gaze, purity of attention, and ease within himself that made it clear, as soon as he looked at me, that I couldn’t fool him, and I soon discovered that in his presence I couldn’t fool myself. He wasn’t interested in anything that wasn’t authentic. Mort was an uncompromising mirror of the self.
An osteopathic physician and psychiatrist, Mort trained for nine years with Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957), the legendary pioneer of depth psychology. I had studied Reich’s theory of character armor, the idea that our stresses and traumas stay locked in our muscles and viscera, but believed I had sorted all that out through years of various mind and body practices. Wrong!