Home Concepts Managing Stress & Challenges Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart II: Reich’s and Feldenkrais’s Preparation for Treatment

Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart II: Reich’s and Feldenkrais’s Preparation for Treatment

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We return in this series of essays to the story of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. In the first essay (Bergquist, 2023) we focused on diagnosis. We are ready to prepare for treatment. The author of this wonderful multi-book tale (and musical), Frank Baum, seems to have decided that this mission-quest was “just what the doctor ordered” (Baum himself being the authorial doctor).

Like Baum, we can send the Tin Man on the mission with Dorothy, Toto, the scarecrow (and later the Cowardly Lion). It is a twofold mission. They are not only on a perilous journey to the Emerald City (where Oz resides) but are also confronting at every turn the Evil Witch (and her flying monkeys). The witch is trying to thwart their efforts, obtain the ruby slippers from Dorothy, and revenge the death of her sister (who was hit by Dorothy’s falling house).

As we all know, the story and movie produced by Baum and MGM has a happy ending (which is very important given the trying times of 1939 when the movie was released). The Wizard able to assist the Tin Man in acknowledging that he has a heart by awarding him a philanthropic award – in the shape of a heart. Furthermore, it should be noted that the weapon used (inadvertently) to kill the Witch was Water! Thus, any trauma regarding rain and water would have been abrogated for the Tin Man (who had a name by the way. It was “Hickory” – but we don’t really ever use his name).

Thus ends our story. Perhaps we were not needed in addressing the requests made by the Tin Man? Or might we have done a better job than Frank Baum or MGM. Did the Tin Man really need to go to the Emerald City and discover that the Wizard was actually a huckster. If nothing else, our treatment team might be needed to address the ills of real people rather than those created on sets of the MGM studio.

I propose that our treatment team has much to do in the real world—for there are many Tin Men and Tin Women to be treated and Frank Baum isn’t around to provide the happy ending. Today, many of us are stuck in our own personal armament. We are defending against the often-traumatizing challenges of mid-21st Century life. Psychological rain is falling on us. Our armor is quickly rusting. Our hearts are wounded and encased in the rusted armor. We need some oil and some healing of our heart.

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