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HISTORY OF THE
INSTITUTE FOR ORGONOMIC SCIENCE

The Institute for Orgonomic Science (IOS) was incorporated in September 1982 as a non-profit organization.  It serves as an educational and scientific organization to conduct regular seminars by psychiatric orgone therapists to discuss and teach clinical and scientific matters.  It is responsible for the publication of the Annals of the Institute for Orgonomic Science. This journal has functioned to bring the public information concerning relevant clinical issues as well as the careful reproduction of the experiments conducted by Wilhelm Reich in his discovery of orgone energy, its factual scientific basis and its eventual practical use.  The IOS is also involved in the training of qualified physicians and other qualified therapists who are interested in becoming psychiatric orgone therapists.

  OFFICERS
Morton Herskowitz, D.O.,  Conny Huthsteiner, M.D.,            
President Vice President

Marie Rajcan, MS,     

Irmgard Bertelsen, M.D.,   

Secretary Treasurer

   

HISTORY OF THE
DEVELOPMENT OF ORGONE THERAPY

In order to acquaint the readers of this website with orgone therapy, we begin with a brief review of its development.  Orgone therapy was developed by Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957).  Dr. Reich was educated as a physician in Austria and studied classical psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud in Vienna.  He was in Dr. Freud's inner circle of students and was a personal friend of Dr. Freud.  Dr. Reich ran numerous psychoanalytic clinics, making psychoanalysis available to a large number of people.  Because of its roots in psychoanalysis, orgone therapy as it is practiced today has a psychoanalytic foundation.  Orgone therapists are skilled in the psychodynamic understanding of patients and appropriate psychodynamic therapy techniques.  All of Dr. Reich's discoveries followed directly from clinical observation of his patients and later from laboratory study.

As Dr. Reich gained experience in psychoanalysis he found that it often did not work.  People were not able to follow the basic rule of psychoanalysis which was to free associate - to say what immediately came to their mind without inhibiting themselves.  He developed another approach called character analysis.  Character analysis is the analysis and pursuit of one's characteristic behaviors and mannerisms.  For example, someone may have a pervasive stubbornness; the stubborn attitude affects the person's life in many situations.  These characteristic patterns of response become the person's character structure.  The patient may not be aware of the stubbornness or it may be rationalized.  For example, a stubborn attitude may be perceived by the person as having strong opinions rather than being stubborn.  The purpose of the analysis would be to show the patient how his strong opinions are stubbornness, how the stubbornness negatively impacts on the patient's current life, and where it comes from in his past.

Dr. Reich began to analyze these characteristic responses and found it to be an effective method that could create meaningful changes in a patient.  He then discovered that the characteristic response pattern that a patient demonstrated - their character - was not only represented psychologically but also in their physical structure.  For example, the stubborn patient usually had a stiff neck.  The stiff neck is the physical manifestation of the psychic stubbornness that is the characteristic attitude, or character.  Dr. Reich found that he could be even more effective if he also analyzed the physical manifestation of the psychic attitude.  He called this physical component armor.  Dr. Reich realized that the armor was emotional as well as physical.  The purpose of the armor is to protect the patient emotionally from powerful or forbidden feelings.  At the time of the painful event, the armor is needed as protection from the trauma.  Later, if the armor persists when it is not needed, it becomes chronic and interferes with the patient's ability to enjoy life, love, and work.

Physical armor develops from the chronic tightening of the muscles of the body to prevent the expression of the emotion that is being prohibited.  For example, the stiff neck is due to the tightening of the neck muscles that prevent the patient from freely expressing the words or sounds (such as crying) that he may need to express.  Another example of the armoring process would be "biting back one's words," or "holding one's tongue."  If the muscles become chronically contracted, this holding back of feelings becomes characteristic of the person's armoring pattern.  The patient now has an armored character, both physically and emotionally.

In combination with character analysis, Dr. Reich then began to ss the physical armor by working directly on the musculature to loosen the armor and found that the emotion that was held there was then released and clearly felt by the patient.  The patient understood spontaneously what he was feeling and the analysis became easier and made change possible.

The combination of character analysis and the direct work on the muscular armor of the body (referred to as orgone therapy) is a very powerful tool of therapeutic change.  It also creates intense psychic strain and powerful feelings between the patient and the therapist.  As part of orgone therapy training, the therapist is required to undergo orgone therapy himself/herself  so he/she may have enough personal health to tolerate the intensity of the powerful feelings that develop between patient and therapist.  The orgone therapist is required to have clinical psychotherapy and must be certified in his/her field of psychotherapy.  The clinician also has available to him/her supervision by colleagues that will help him/her to maintain a professional distance and appropriate boundaries in a highly charged emotional relationship.  Dr. Reich was very clear about these issues.

As orgonomic work on the tense muscles caused them to relax, patients described "streaming" sensations, "tingling" sensations, and sensations of "aliveness" in their bodies.  Dr. Reich investigated the source of these sensations and discovered an energy that he called orgone energy.  Through clinical and laboratory investigation of the physical and biological properties of this energy, which he called the science of orgonomy, he was able to determine that it is a unique form of energy that has specific effects on the biology of living systems.  One important property of orgone energy is that it moves and moves specifically through the body's tissues.  The study of orgone energy - its movement, behavior, and measurement - is ongoing and continues to be performed by clinicians and physical scientists in various locations throughout the world.              
           

Institute for Orgonomic Science
 P.O. Box 2069
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2069
Telephone: (610) 324-8490 Email:
annals [at] orgonomicscience.org