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IOTM – Dr. Richard Schwartzman

MARCH 2013: In recent years, thanks to the intactivist movement, men have begun to talk publicly about how circumcision has affected them—emotionally as well as sexually. Some of these men recall the pain and trauma of the surgery, which took place when they were infants.

RicRichard Schwartzmanhard Schwartzman, D.O., is a board-certified psychiatrist who maintains a private clinical practice in Solebury, Pennsylvania, between Philadelphia and New York City. In his practice, Dr. Schwartzman treats patients with the same mind-body approach and method developed by psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Dr. Schwartzman also has been training physicians and psychologists here and abroad for more than 25 years. He has authored numerous articles in the field, lectured extensively in the United States and in Europe, and is considered to be a leading training therapist. In addition to his private practice, he served from 1978-2000 as an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Hahnemann University. He is presently affiliated with the Institute of Orgonomic Science in Philadelphia. Dr. Schwartzman is also host of the popular blog Wilhelm Reich Today.

Dr. Reich, more than sixty years ago, said “Circumcision is one of the worst treatments of children.” Reich recognized that trauma during early childhood, especially in the newborn period, was the cause of lasting emotional disturbances.

Through Reich’s therapeutic techniques, Dr. Schwartzman helps patients to re-experience traumas buried since infancy. “I have seen firsthand the damage caused by circumcision and have had patients successfully overcome its traumatic effects. “

Dr. Schwartzman describes this work in a recent essay The Emotional Consequences of Circumcision, published on BeyondtheBris.com. He has described patients reliving their circumcisions as being “wide-eyed with terror and shrieking pitifully as they attempt to
break loose from the straps holding their limbs down. After the experience, the men describe, as best they can with words, the suffering they went through, and some have even reported seeing the face of the person doing the cutting.”
Speaking of the approach he has used to help such men, Dr. Schwartzman says, “We owe a debt to Reich for being the pioneer in pointing out how important the first days of life are for emotional health—and for creating a unique and wonderful method of therapy.”

“Today’s debate over circumcision,” he says, “touches on so many issues—medical, legal, ethical, moral, social, religious, cultural and sexual. But awareness of the most important factor has been almost lost: the lasting psychological and emotional consequences of circumcision.”

“That babies who are circumcised can experience lasting trauma comes as no surprise to those of us who work in the intactivist movement,” says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America. “That healers such as Richard Schwartzman are there to help the men these babies become is gratifying. That Dr. Schwartzman has linked arms with Intact America to call for an end to this needless barbarity that is infant circumcision is nothing short of fantastic.”

Intact America applauds Dr. Schwartzman, and is proud to welcome him to our Board of Health Professionals and honor him as Intactivist of the Month for March 2013.

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Marilyn Fayre Milos, multiple award winner for her humanitarian work to end routine infant circumcision in the United States and advocating for the rights of infants and children to genital autonomy, has written a warm and compelling memoir of her path to becoming “the founding mother of the intactivist movement.” Needing to support her family as a single mother in the early sixties, Milos taught banjo—having learned to play from Jerry Garcia (later of The Grateful Dead)—and worked as an assistant to comedian and social critic Lenny Bruce, typing out the content of his shows and transcribing court proceedings of his trials for obscenity. After Lenny’s death, she found her voice as an activist as part of the counterculture revolution, living in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love, and honed her organizational skills by creating an alternative education open classroom (still operating) in Marin County. 

After witnessing the pain and trauma of the circumcision of a newborn baby boy when she was a nursing student at Marin College, Milos learned everything she could about why infants were subjected to such brutal surgery. The more she read and discovered, the more convinced she became that circumcision had no medical benefits. As a nurse on the obstetrical unit at Marin General Hospital, she committed to making sure parents understood what circumcision entailed before signing a consent form. Considered an agitator and forced to resign in 1985, she co-founded NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers) and began organizing international symposia on circumcision, genital autonomy, and human rights. Milos edited and published the proceedings from the above-mentioned symposia and has written numerous articles in her quest to end circumcision and protect children’s bodily integrity. She currently serves on the board of directors of Intact America.


Georganne Chapin is a healthcare expert, attorney, social justice advocate, and founding executive director of Intact America, the nation’s most influential organization opposing the U.S. medical industry’s penchant for surgically altering the genitals of male children (“circumcision”). Under her leadership, Intact America has definitively documented tactics used by U.S. doctors and healthcare facilities to pathologize the male foreskin, pressure parents into circumcising their sons, and forcibly retract the foreskins of intact boys, creating potentially lifelong, iatrogenic harm. 

Chapin holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College, and a Master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. For 25 years, she served as president and chief executive officer of Hudson Health Plan, a nonprofit Medicaid insurer in New York’s Hudson Valley. Mid-career, she enrolled in an evening law program, where she explored the legal and ethical issues underlying routine male circumcision, a subject that had interested her since witnessing the aftermath of the surgery conducted on her younger brother. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in 2003, and was subsequently admitted to the New York Bar. As an adjunct professor, she taught Bioethics and Medicaid and Disability Law at Pace, and Bioethics in Dominican College’s doctoral program for advanced practice nurses.

In 2004, Chapin founded the nonprofit Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality, a company that designs software and provides consulting services designed to reduce administrative complexities, streamline and integrate data collection and reporting, and enhance access to care for those in need. In 2008, she co-founded Intact America.

Chapin has published many articles and op-ed essays, and has been interviewed on local, national and international television, radio and podcasts about ways the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes profits over people’s basic needs. She cites routine (nontherapeutic) infant circumcision as a prime example of a practice that wastes money and harms boys and the men they will become. This Penis Business: A Memoir is her first book.