A Reflection on Dr. Karl Fossum

Article by Stephan Simonian M.D.

A Reflection on Dr. Karl Fossum

Dr. Karl Fossum, psychiatrist and longtime member of IOS, passed away in February, 2017. He was a good-natured man with an exultant smile and a wisdom that commanded respect. With the exception of this last year, Dr. Fossum regularly participated in IOS meetings, which were held in Dr. Morton Herskowitz’s house in Philadelphia. I enjoyed talking with Dr. Fossum because of his pleasant demeanor, his wisdom, and his knowledge of Orgonomy. After our IOS meetings, I usually gave him a ride back to New York City where he resided. We often talked about issues related to Orgonomy such as Orgonomic institutes, the future of Orgonomy, as well as the history of Orgonomy, in which he was well versed. Once during our trip from Philadelphia to New York, I asked him how he was introduced to and became involved in Orgonomy. He replied that in his younger years while he was living in Norway, there was an outbreak of poliomyelitis. Many people had become inflicted with polio, including him, and he consequently suffered paralysis and was unable to walk. He explained that he was given the usual treatments that were customary for polio patients at that time in Norway, but in addition, one of his physicians, a student of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, introduced physical Orgone treatment. Although he specified the physician’s name, I unfortunately do not recall it. Dr. Fossum was treated with an Orgone accumulator several times each week and stated that his treatment was faster and the results, stronger than those of other polio survivors who were treated by conventional means. He was able to recover from the polio with almost no noticeable sequelae. This incident made him believe in the power and effectiveness of Orgone treatment. He spoke with high admiration and appreciation of the doctor who had treated and introduced him to Orgone therapy. His story is yet another testimony of the efficacy of Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s Orgonomic approach and treatment of his patients, a memory that I believe is worth sharing.

Following is the obituary for Dr. Karl Fossum:

Dr. Karl Georg Fossum; Psychiatrist, 85, passed away peacefully on February 1st, surrounded by loving family and friends in the beautiful home he loved, and that he and his wife, Martina, had had built in the lovely Hudson Valley. The area reminded Karl of Norway, where he was born to parents, Georg and Ragnhild (Saeby) Fossum in 1931. Karl graduated from Grorud Hoyere Skole (1950) with plans to attend medical school in the U.S. He graduated Wagner College, then SUNY College of Medicine at Syracuse, where he earned his M.D. in 1958. Karl continued post-graduate work in psychiatry at Meadowbrook Hospital (’58-59), Payne-Whitney Clinic of New York Hospital (’59-60), Albert Einstein College of Medicine (’60-63). He was Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Bronx Municipal Hospital (’63-65), and went into private practice in Manhattan in 1963 until retirement in 2011. Karl was founder and president of Park Madison Laboratories, and of women’s health services clinics in Boston, MA, Overland Park, KS, and two in New York City, including Eastern Women’s Center. He was a conscientious board member of organizations whose missions he was passionate about: The Rainforest Alliance, the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for War/Peace Studies, Citizens for Global Solutions, Avanta/IHLRN (an organization of mental health professionals), The National Abortion Federation, NARAL, and The American College of Orgonomy. Karl loved living in Manhattan and on Tyson Lane in Amagansett for 55 years before retiring to the Hudson Valley. He enjoyed occasional winter vacations in the Caribbean, where he would bask in the sun’s energy. But, he particularly looked forward to frequent trips home to Norway to reconnect with family and to be reenergized by hikes in the beautiful mountains of Valdres, where he and Martina built a lovely "hytte" or cabin. When not reading, reading, reading, Karl could be found jogging around Central Park or down the beach in Amagansett, or swimming. The building of their home began with the indoor pool; the rest of the home was built around it. Karl’s intellect, kindness, generosity, and joy of life touched the hearts of all who knew him from loving family, loyal friends, appreciative patients, to his excellent doctors and caregivers. All were captivated by an infectious smile that was as broad as Karl was tall, and he will live forever in their hearts. He is especially missed in Norway by his sister, Gunhild Lauritzsen, her children Lars, Grete, Halvor and Even and their families; and his sister, Grethe Dorum and her daughters Sissel, Anne and Bente and their families. Karl took special joy and pride in the accomplishments of his sisters and each of his nieces and nephews, and they were all devoted to him. Beloved wife and best friend Martina (Leonard) will be ever grateful for the gift of the 47 beautiful, loving years they were able to share together. Karl also is sadly missed by Martina’s siblings, Brian, Michael (and Christy) of New Jersey, Ada Thom Thompson (and Mark) of Florida, and Hilary Oak (and Tem Noon) of New York, and their families. All did love him dearly. Memorial celebrations of Karl’s life will be held in New York in the spring, and in Norway in the summer. Gifts to The Rainforest Alliance, The Center for War/ Peace Studies, The American College of Orgonomy, or The Virginia Satir Archive Fund are appreciated.

This post was written by:

- who has written 50 posts on Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.

Dr. Simonian is a general and child and adolescent psychiatrist. He completed medical school in Shiraz University, Shiraz Iran. He completed his general psychiatric residency training and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York Medical College, Metropolitan Hospital Center. Concomitant with his psychiatry and child psychiatry training, Dr. Simonian completed the New York Medical College Psychoanalytic School Didactic Courses, including his own required personal psychoanalysis. In 1990, Dr. Simonian started his personal psychiatric orgone therapy, Reichian therapy, with Dr. Morton Herskowitz and in 1991 became a member of the Institute of Orgonomic Sciences (IOS), an Institute which is dedicated to promote and preserve Dr. Wilhelm Reich's work. Dr. Simonian started his private psychiatric practice in Milford, Massachusetts in 1984 and he was a chief of psychiatry department of Milford Regional Hospital for several years. He started his practice in Glendale, California since 2003. Dr. Simonian is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

One Response to “A Reflection on Dr. Karl Fossum”

  1. Steven Katz says:

    Dr. Karl Fossum radiated kindness, and was very open to considering spirituality. He was not dogmatic about orgonomy. I once asked him what he thought of the concept of reincarnation. He replied that there was a germ of truth in it. As to God, he said he was agnostic (a very honest and scientific attitude). When I asked him about Dr.Ola Raknes, a fellow Norwegian, and the only practicing non-medical orgonomist of Reich’s original students (he had a PhD and wrote on orgonomy and religion), Dr. Fossum said Raknes was “in a class by himself.” The same can be said of Karl Fossum. I wish him peace as he floats in the infinite and eternal ocean of cosmic energy.

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