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Transcription of the speech given on November 17, 2018 by Dr. Stephan Simonian


The followings are the transcription of the speech given on November 17, 2018 by Dr. Stephan Simonian at an Orgonomy conference in Glendale, CA.

"Evolution of psychiatric orgone therapy from psychoanalysis and its medical, psychiatric and social consequences."
By: Stephan Simonian M.D.

Thank you all for coming. The part that is now on my shoulder in this conference is to describe how from psychoanalysis Reich developed into this Orgonomy. So it is rather a tall order since I only have 45 minutes to describe all this. I am going to put up on a slideshow and walk you through it. This process is described in the book "Function of Orgasm" which is about 400 pages and I’m going to walk you through this slideshow but I have to go a little fast and hopefully I’ll be able to describe it all. The title of my talk is "Evolution of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy from Psychoanalysis and its Medical Psychiatric and Social Consequences" so it ends up from psychoanalysis to all these different aspects that affects our lives.

Orgonomy grew in the womb of psychoanalysis.

Orgonomy grew in the womb of psychoanalysis, the founder of psychoanalysis was Sigmund Freud, Reich was a student of Freud and in the book "Function of orgasm" Reich praises Freud and says: "I spent 14 years of intensive work in and for psychoanalysis but in the end I was extremely disappointed in Freud. Fortunately this disappointment did not lead to hatred and rejection. Quite contrary today I can appreciate Freud’s achievement in a far better and deeper way then I could in those days of youthful enthusiasm I am happy to have been his student for such a long time without having to criticize him prematurely and with complete devotion to his cause". Freud gave a picture of himself as a remembrance to Reich, under the picture he  inscribed " to Dr. Wilhelm Reich as a kind remembrance from Sigmund Freud dated 1925". This picture is at the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley Maine.

Sigmund Freud. The photograph is in inscribed (in German): "To Dr. Wilhelm Reich as a kind remembrance of Sigm Freud. March 1925."

To talk about how Orgonomy developed from psychoanalysis I’m quickly going to go over some of the psychoanalytic major theories.

Freud developed 3 major theories throughout his life.

Freud’s major theories
Libido theory (the theory of psycho-sexual energy)
Topographic theory (theory of Conscious and Unconscious)
Structural theory, (theory of Id, Ego and Superego).

 

The first theory is the libido theory which is the theory of energy. The second theory is the Topographic theory or theory of conscious and unconscious and the third theory is the Structural theory so called the theory of Id, Ego and Super ego. Freud had to assume an existence of an energy that operates in the newborn which is the source of propagation of life and neurosis develops when this energy is blocked. Instincts get their power from this energy.

 

Libido theory
Hypothetical psychosexual energy operating in newborn
Is the source of propagation of life
Neurosis develops when this energy is blocked
Instincts get their power from this energy source.

 

Topographic theory is a theory of conscious and unconscious. Freud stated that under the conscious mind there is a large segment hidden which is unconscious and it affects our lives.  Neurotic symptoms are manifestation of conflict rooted in the unconscious and Freud postulated that by psychoanalytic technique, when the unconscious becomes conscious, neurotic symptoms should improve.

Topographic theory
Under the conscious mind there is a larger hidden segment of unconscious
Psychoneurotic symptoms are manifestations of conflict rooted in a person’s unconscious
Freud postulated that by psychoanalytic technique when the unconscious becomes conscious neurotic symptoms should improve.

The structural theory which is the last theory of Freud divides human psychological structure to three components: Id, which is the component that is composed of instinctual strivings, Ego which is the part which faces the word and negotiates with the word and Superego which is the internalized social parental and religious values which causes approval or disapproval and creates guilt and demands punitive measures.

Structural theory
Freud divided human psychological structure to 3 components
Id – Which are instinctual strivings
Ego – Face and interact with the world
Superego – Which is internalized social, parental and religious values, causes approval & disapproval, creates guilt and demands punitive measures.

Freud also proposed two types of neurosis, first type he called it stasis neurosis. This is caused by disturbance of the sexual life when there is damming up of the libido energy, because of poor sexual life or poor discharge of sexual energy and accumulation of the libido energy which causes toxic reaction such as palpitation, hyperventilation, high level of anxiety and that can be cured by counseling and by helping the patient not to be abstinent. Freud also proposed the second type of neurosis which he called it psychoneurosis which develops because of an unconscious conflict that needs psychoanalysis to resolve the conflict. However Freud agreed that underneath of each psychoneurosis there is a core of stasis neurosis and then with each stasis neurosis there is a component of psychoneurosis, so really there is no need for differentiation since each has part of the other one.

Freud suggested 2 types of neurosis
Stasis neurosis or actual neurosis, which is caused by disturbance of sexual life, damming up of libido energy (psychosexual energy) which causes toxic reaction in the body such as palpitation, hyperventilation and high level of anxiety and can be cured by counseling and helping the patient not to be abstinent
Psychoneurosis which develops because of unconscious conflict and can be cured by psychoanalysis.

However Freud agreed that underneath of each psychoneurosis there is a core of Stasis neurosis and with each Stasis neurosis there is a component of psychoneurosis. By this consideration no differentiation between neurosis and psychoneurosis seems necessary.

 Freud’s technique, how we can go into unconscious and make the unconscious conflict conscious is the psychoanalysis. The technique that Freud proposed is that patient lies on the couch and the patient is encouraged to talk and say whatever comes to his mind, so called free associate. By free association one though brings another though like links of chain and eventually leads to the unconscious conflict. Freud suggested that when unconscious conflict of the neurotic symptoms becomes conscious, the patient should improve.

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Technique
Patient lies on couch and is encouraged to say whatever comes to his mind
By free association ideas and thoughts like links of chain will lead to unconscious conflict
Dream interpretation
This technique is to make unconscious roots of the conflict conscious and according to Freud patient should improve. 

Freud also suggested dream interpretation because he says that there is some component of unconscious in a symbolic way in a dream and by the interpretation of the dream if we can decode the dream we will be able to help make the unconscious conscious. According to Freud when the unconscious conflict becomes conscious, patient will improve.

In psychoanalytic setting, the psychoanalyst sits on the top of the couch and the patient lies on the couch. Freud suggested by lying on the couch the free association happens more easily and patients are able to talk more easily. However psychoanalytic theory and technique does not always work. There is resistances and sometimes patients don’t free associate, they talk about irrelevant things and this process gets halted in the middle or even when the unconscious conflicts becomes conscious patient don’t always improve. In other words patient cognitively, intellectually understands why he/she feels miserable but he/she still feels miserable and things does not improve. Reich was following Freud’s technique; he realized that some patients do not get better when their unconscious becomes conscious.

Psychoanalytic theory and technique does not always work
Reich gives 2 examples of treatment of patients with conflicting results.

Reich gives two examples of many cases that he had seen. In the first example, the patient, was a student that Freud referred to him. He was suffering from obsessive thoughts and was constantly counting numbers. Reich followed the exact suggestions of Freud and did the analysis as Freud suggested. After a period of treatment, an incest fantasy broke through and after that patient was able to have a healthier sexual life and was able to have a gratifying sexual relation after which the symptoms improved. This was a proof that Freud’s theory and technique was correct. He was concomitantly analyzing a waiter. I’m going read this case because it illustrates what we want to say and how Reich started to depart from Freud. Reich was analyzing a waiter who was totally incapable of having an erection. Reich says:  "During the third year of psychoanalysis we arrived at a perfect reconstruction of primal scene [means the scene that caused initial trauma to the patient]. He was 2 years old when this occurred. His mother gave birth to a child and from the adjacent room he had been able to observe every detail of the delivery. The impression of a large bloody hole between the mother’s legs became firmly ingrained in his mind. On a conscious level they remained only the sensation of emptiness in his own genitals. Based on psychoanalytic knowledge of that time, I mearly connected his inability to have erection to his severely traumatic impression of castrated female genitalia. This analysis was no doubt correct, at that time I incorrectly assessed the total personality of my patient. He was a very quiet, well mannered, well behaved person and did everything that he was asked to do. In a course of three years of treatment he never once became angry or exercised criticism, thus according to prevailing thought he was fully integrated adjusted character with only one acute symptom, monosymptomatic neurosis". Reich presented this case to the older analysts and was praised for his precise analytical work and they considered the analysis to be successful. However Reich wondered that if the treatment had in fact been successful then why had the patient not improved? Reich says: "It did not occur to anyone of us that it was precisely this emotional tranquility and unshakable calmness which formed the pathological characterological basis to which erectile impotence could be maintained. I terminated the analysis several months later and the patient had not been cured. The patient accepted the termination of treatment as he accepted everything else in his life with politeness, placidity and passivity".

From here on Reich moves to character analysis vs. symptom analysis
Patient’s whole character resists the treatment
It is not important "what patient says", It is important "how he says it".

From here on Reich moved into character analysis versus symptoms analysis. He realized that the sickness was the patient’s character that everyone thought it was an asset. In fact that was what was preventing him from getting better, so he moved from the symptoms analysis to character analysis. In another word Reich realized that it was not important "what the patient says", it is important "how he says it". If the character is intact then even if the patient discovers the unconscious reasons of his neurosis, the patient will only gain an intellectual insight to his problem, but the problem will persist. The first case proved correctness of Freud; the second case indicated that this technique does not always work.

The first case reflects correctness of Freud’s theory of neurosis and psychoneurosis (patient improved after having satisfactory sexual release) and after unconscious conflict became conscious
The 2nd patient, the waiter did not improve.

Hence Reich developed two major theories: Theory of armoring and Theory of orgasm. Both theories developed concomitantly and at the end they converge and become part of each other.

Hence Reich developed 2 major theories
A. Theory of Armoring
B. Theory of Orgasm

In other words armoring of the body, the character armoring, prevents the flow of energy and prevents the possibility of orgastic potency so these two theories they become integratal part of each other. The theory of armoring developed in the process of Reich’s work with the patient’s resistance to treatment. The treatment was sometimes successful and sometimes the patients were resisting the process of treatment. Reich realized that the character of the patient was what blocked the process.

The theory of armoring
The theory of armoring developed in the process of Reich’s work for psychoanalytic society in the process of dealing with patient’s resistances to treatment.

Reich discovered that the patient’s whole character resists the process of psychoanalysis, it resists the change like that aforementioned waiter who was able to discover the unconscious reason but his symptoms persisted.

Reich discovered that the patient’s whole character resists the process of psychoanalysis. It resists the change like aforementioned polite and agreeable waiter.

Reich discovered that to bring a fundamental and meaningful improvement to the patient the character resistance should be dissolved first. He developed a technique for character analysis to break that character resistance and bring the movement of emotions. He defined the character resistance as the character armor.

Reich discovered that to bring a fundamental and meaningful improvement to the patient, the character resistance should be dissolved first. He developed a technique of character analysis and called character resistance as character armor.

He defined character armor as sum total of character attitudes which an individual develops as a defense against his emotional excitements resulting in rigidity of the body and lack of genuine emotional contact.

Character armor is defined as the sum total of character attitudes which an individual develops as defense against his emotional excitations resulting in rigidity of the body and lack of genuine emotional contact.

As you may realize, Reich now is moving away from Freud by not doing symptom analysis but doing character analysis first. Although he is moving away from Freud, he is still working in the realm of psychology.

However the character of the patient has a physical counterpart, character armor has a physical and muscular counterpart which is functionally identical but works in the physical realm.

Character armor has a physical and muscular counterpart which is functionally identical with it but works in the physical realm.

In another word a patient who has learned to assume a pleasant attitude by constantly smiling, will develop muscular rigidity in his or her fascial muscles, the cheeks will become stiff, or a person who is constantly defensive and keeps the neck uptight, there will be a muscular contraction in his neck muscles and as time goes on the muscular contraction will become chronic and will becomes part of his personality. Reich gives an example of a muscular and physical armor in the book of Function of Orgasm,

Reich gives an example of muscular and physical armor in the book of "Functional Orgasm":
I treated a man who offered a considerable resistance to the uncovering of his passive homosexual fantasies…..

Reich says: "I treated a man who offered a considerable resistance to the uncovering of his passive homosexual fantasies. This resistance was overtly expressed in the extreme stiffness in his throat and stiff neck. A concentrated attack on his defense finally caused him to yield though in an alarming way. For three days he was shaken by acute manifestation of vegetative shock the paler of his face changed rapidly from white to yellow to blue, his skin was spotted and mottled, he experienced violent pains in the neck and back of the head, his heartbeat was rapid and pounding and had diarrhea. He felt tired and seemed to have lost control. I was uneasy, true. I had often seen similar symptoms but never in such a violent form. Something had happened here that while somehow a legitimate part of the work was not immediately intelligible. Affects or emotions had broken through somatically and physically after the patient had relinquished his attitude of psychic defense. Apparently the stiff neck which emphasized austere masculinity had bond vegetative energies, biosexual energy which now broke loose in an uncontrollable and chaotic manner. A person with an ordered sexual economy, healthy and natural sexual function, is not capable of such reaction only continues inhibition of damming up of biological energy can produce it. The musculature has served the function of inhibition when the neck muscle is relaxed powerful impulses as if unleashed from a taut coil had broken through".

Emotional armor and physical and muscular armor are counterpart of each other and are functionally identical with each other, one in the realm of psyche and the other in the realm of body.

From here on Reich is moving into muscular realm, he is moving from psychology into biology, into body. Emotional and physical armor are counterpart of each other and functionally are identical with each other. One in realm of psyche the other one in the realm of body but as you see he is moving away from Freud more and more, he is going into the physical biological realm..

This is a schematic depiction of how we see in the Orgonomy the relation between the body and psyche. There is a source of biological energy and psychosomatic identity but it divides, into Psche and Soma, but in the depth they are both merge together and are one. Dr. Reich developed and described a technique to dissolve the character armor and its counterpart physical armor. He developed a technique to break the character armor but for physical armor he also developed a technique and the technique is described in the book Function of Orgasm and Character Analysis and also Dr. Herskowitz who was his last student and recently passed away at age 100 had a book called Emotional Armoring that he described the technique in that book as well.

Dr. Reich developed and describes a technique to dissolve the character armor and its counterpart physical armor in the books of "Character Analysis" & "The Function of Orgasm" and Dr. Herskowitz described it in the book of "Emotional Armoring".

Armoring hinders the orderly flow of psychosexual energy (orgone energy, feeling and emotions) in the body and hinders orgastic potency armor should be dissolved. Therefore the theory of orgasm and the theory of armoring are inseparable from each other and are integral part of each other.

Reich says that in the cases that he was able successfully dissolve the armor and restore healthy sexuality, patients significantly changed and they changed unexpectedly, he gives some example of the changes that happens in the patients.

Reich says in the cases that he was able to successfully dissolve the armor and restore healthy sexuality changes in the patients were intense and unexpected. He gives the following examples:

Dr. Reich stated" quit spontaneously patients began to experience the moralistic attitude of the world around them as something alien and peculiar, no matter how tenaciously they might have defended premarital chastity beforehand now they experience this demand as grotesque. Such demands no longer had any relevance for them, they became indifferent to them. Their attitude towards their work changed. If they had previously worked mechanically not demonstrating a real interest now they became discriminating. The change in the sexual sphere was just as pronounced. Patients who had felt no qualms about going to prostitutes became incapable of doing so… wives who have patiently endured living with unloving husband and had submitted to the sexual act out of marital obligation could no longer do so and they simply refused, they had had enough". Reich says that when the armor is resolved and the sexual potency is restored the people developed characters like "Jesus Christ character".

Reich also developed the theory of orgasm. This theory corresponds with theory of neurosis of Freud. Freud said that when the libido energy is blocked neurotic symptoms develop. So the theory of orgasm also corresponds with theory of neurosis of Freud.  Reich says that the orgastic impotence is not just one of many symptoms of neurosis but it is the most significant symptom as well as the cause of neurosis.

The Theory of Orgasm
This theory corresponds with Freud’s theory of neurosis
Reich says: That orgastic impotence is not just one of many symptoms of neurosis but it is the most significant symptom as well as the cause of neurosis.

In other words Reich said that every neurotic patient is sexually disturbed. Reich’s contemporary psychiatrists and psychoanalysts disagreed with him saying that they have many patients that are sexually very potent but they have neurotic symptoms. However that sexual potency when analyzed and probed little bit deeper, showed not a genuine potency. True they were capable of having sex but they either couldn’t reach orgasm or there were pre mature ejaculation or they had all types of strange fantasies. In Orgonomy healthy orgastic potency is defined as person’s ability to surrender to the flow of biological energy free of any inhibition or fantasy and its capacity to discharge completely the dammed up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable convulsions.

In Orgonomy healthy orgastic potency is defined as person’s ability to surrender to the flow of biological energy free of any inhibition or fantasy and its capacity to discharge completely the dammed up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable convulsions.

Orgasm theory is a rich theory and it encompasses concepts of expansion and contraction of living protoplasm and its psychological expression of pleasure and displeasure as well as its relation to autonomic nervous system. While the autonomic nervous system in the body that is responsible for pulsation and is involuntary and is causing expansion and contraction of the body.

Orgasm theory is a rich theory and encompasses concepts of expansion and contraction of living protoplasm and its psychological expression of pleasure and displeasure as well as its relation to autonomic nervous system.

So as you see, we are going from the psychology which is the highest order to character analysis then to the muscular attitude and body and then even deeper into the nervous system into the autonomic nervous system, so you see how deep and basic is Reich’s theories in the psychiatric treatment. It does not stop on psychology, it goes into the body and brings changes which are much deeper and therefore the changes in the patients are much basic and fundamental changes.

Sexual potency and the process of armoring both in deeper level are connected to function of autonomic nervous system which governs the involuntary process of contraction and expansion of the body by sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous branches.

Sexual potency and the process of armoring both in deeper level are connected to function of autonomic nervous system which governs the involuntary process of contraction and expansion of the body by sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous branches.

Now that we recognize the physical armoring by contraction of the muscles of the body tissues and its relation to autonomic nervous system, it is logical to conclude that many of the physical illnesses also arise from the armoring of the body. In other words, I want to show how logically Reich’s theories are progressing, how logically and scientifically it is progressing. Now if there is physical armoring, if there is a contraction in the muscular of the body as a result of armoring then there must be some changes in the physical domain in the physical area, in the body tissues.

Now that we recognize the physical armoring by contractions of muscles and body tissues and its relation to autonomic nervous system, it is logical to conclude that many physical illnesses can also arise because of the armoring of the body.
Reich in the book of cancer biopathy used the term biopathy for such physical conditions.
Reich says:

In the book of Cancer Biopathy Reich used the term biopathy for such physical conditions. Reich says: "The term biopathy refers to all disease processes caused by basic dysfunction in the autonomic or vegetative nervous system of life apparatus. Once started, this dysfunction can manifest itself in variety of symptomatic disease pattern. A biopathy can result in carcinomatous biopathy, but it can just as easily lead to angina pectoris, asthma, cardio vascular hypertension, epilepsy, catatonic or paranoid schizophrenia, anxiety neurosis, multiple schorosis, choria and chronic alcoholism etc. We are still ignorant of the function that determines the direction in which biopathy will develop". In another word why in someone biopathy causes angina pectoris and in other person cancer still needs to be understood. "Of prime importance to us however is the common denominator of all these diseases as disturbance in the natural function of pulsation".

Now if armoring of the organism is detrimental to its health then why does it happen?

Now, if armoring of the organism is such a detrimental thing to our health, if it’s such a bad thing then why does it happen? From here on we are entering into sociological sphere of Orgonomy, where Mr. Howard will talk about how Orgonomy enters into sociology. Armoring happens in the process of child’s interaction with his environment. The anti-sexual and authoritarian upbringings of the children which are prevalent in most cultures are the main cause of armoring. Schematically the process of armoring is as follows:

Armoring happens in the process of a child’s interactions with his environment.
The antisexual and authoritarian upbringings of children prevalent in most cultures are the main cause of armoring.
Schematically the process of armoring is as follows:

Schematically there is the drive of the child "D" and there is the inhibition that is exerted from the world "W". Initially the child protests, cries a bit, throws a temper tantrum but eventually submits to it. Part of the drive splits from the main drive and turns against it, so after a while there is no need for outer inhibitory force. The child’s organism itself does the work of inhibition. In some ways this is the schematic depiction of it. Many times patients tell me "doctor I hated when my mother or father was doing this to me but I find myself doing the same thing to my children". 

Orgonomic model for a healthy organism is composed of core, middle layer and periphery. 

The psychoanalytic theory has a model for the human psychiatric structure. Their model is based on, Id, Ego and Superego of Freud’s structural theory. Our model the orgonomic model, of human

psychological structure is based on core, middle layer and periphery. In a healthy organism where there is no armoring the impulses originates from the core and can manifest itself in the surface without distortion. An unarmored person is able to show the love, pleasure or the anger in an undistorted way if he wants to.

Diagram depicting basic function in armored organism. The inhibition of primary impulses produces secondary impulses and anxiety.

This is the depiction of the armored organism. In the armored organism however the person is unable to show what initial primary drive is. The armor prevents and distorts the feelings and changes them to something different. On the surface the person shows an exaggerated politeness like the waiter we talked about and manifests character traits but inside there is a distorted feelings and secondary drives that are different from the original impulse.

Once the organism becomes armored the primary impulses that are natural, rational love, natural sexuality, rational anger and rational hate becomes distorted.

Once the organism becomes armored the primary impulses that are natural, rational love, natural sexuality, rational anger and rational hate becomes distorted and it can show in a different ways. From here on sociological branch of Orgonomy develops which deals with sociocultural norms that causes armoring. Reich in the book of "Function of Orgasm: says:
"The patriarchal authoritarian era of human history has attempted to hold the asocial impulses in check by means of compulsive moralistic prohibitions. It is in this way that civilized man if he can be called civilized developed a psychic structure consisting of three layers. On the surface he wears an artificial mask of self-control compulsive insincere politeness and pseudosociality. This mask conceals the second layer the Freudian unconscious in which sadism, greed, lewdness, envy, perversions of all kinds etc. are held in check without however being deprived of the slightest amount of energy. This second layer is the artificial product of sex negating, culture and is usually experienced consciously as a gaping inner emptiness and desolation. Beneath it in the depth natural sociality, sexuality, spontaneous joy in work and capacity for love exist and operates. This third and deeper layer which represents the biological core of the human structure is the unconscious and it is feared. It is in variance with every aspect of authoritarian education and control. At the same time it is the only real hope man has of one day mastering social misery".

From here on sociological branch of Orgonomy starts which deals with socio-cultural norms that causes armoring.
Reich in the book of "Reich Speak of Freud" says that following:

 But I assure you that there is no solution to this world’s problems unless this point is cleared up sociologically, politically, economically, psychologically, structurally, character logically, in every single respect. I don’t believe that there will be any solution of any social problem as long as children and adolescents grow up with a stasis of biological energy.

The biological energy that operates in the human organism in a pulsating manner originates and propagates throughout the body from autonomic ganglions and by autonomic nervous system.
Reich identified same energy, orgone energy in the atmosphere and tried to harvest it by different devices and use it medically.
From here on the biophysical branch of Orgonomy develops.

The biological energy that operates in the human organism in a pulsating manner originates and propagates through the body from the autonomic ganglions and autonomic nervous systems. Reich identified the same energy, orgone energy, in the atmosphere and tried to harvest it by different devices and used it medically. From here on biophysical branch of Orgonomy develops.

This is depiction of the function of the autonomic nervous system that originates and propagates biological energy in the human body. There is the core and the ganglions which are mostly prevalent in the hypogastric area and solar plexus in the lower abdomen and emittes the pulsating energy through the autonomic nervous system and causes expansion and contraction in the body.

Reich says: the basic theory belongs to Freud but I furthered it so much that he himself could not recognize it anymore.

 Reich said "The basic theory belonged to Freud but I furthered it so much that he himself could not recognize it anymore".

Thank you and I hope I was able to present the content as it is promised in the title of this talk.

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Orgonomy Conference November 17, 2018 in Glendale California


On November 17, 2018 an Orgonomy conference was held in Glendale, California titled, "Wilhelm Reich and the Science of Life Energy – Orgonomy".

Dr. Conny Huthsteiner gave welcoming and introductory remarks. She stated:

I want to welcome everybody here. If there is any problem with the sound please let me know. My name is Conny Huthsteiner. I am psychiatrist. I want to welcome you all. I am very happy so many people are interested in coming to hear our conference here today. I want to start thanking people who are central to this organization, the main person being Dr. Simonian, who was the driving force and really made this conference happen in all ways, shapes and forms. And I want to thank our speakers. One has come from Oslo, Norway, and the other has come from the country side near Milan, Italy. I very much appreciate them both taking the time and the trouble to take a long flight to participate. I wanted to just start by saying I had hoped that in some way this conference would be sort of a celebration. Wilhelm Reich is known to most of you in some way. He was an incredibly prolific thinker, writer, inventor and unfortunately tragically died in a terrible situation in a United States prison after his books were burned multiple times. And yet, despite much public disparagement of his work and his character, and many lies about his work, it has persisted.

I was hoping today we would be able to talk about some of the ways we are actually moving his work forward. His work seems to be surviving all the various and sundry developments in multiple fields of science with a great degree of strength. In other words, this man was writing his ideas in the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, and yet they’re all holding up under scrutiny. As our own concepts in science have advanced since his death in 1957, I can’t think of one idea that he had that is not still legitimate, which I think is extraordinary. I don’t know many thinkers who are able to cut so sharply with a knife conceptually that they get so many things right even with very few tools at his disposal to work with. And so as a consequence I really hope that this conference would be more of a celebration of what he has done and where we see this potentially moving forward in the future. In many ways I feel Reich’s work and life represent the ultimate revolution. And certainly he wrote very famous book, although he effectively never receives credit for that phrase, called "The Sexual Revolution", even though that defined cultures in Europe and United States in an extraordinary way since the 1940’s 50’s and 60’s. I think that’s maybe because he addressed the core issue that all humans grapple with, and that is how to find true love, how to be capable of true deep satisfaction and find love that we all find fulfilling. Now you might obviously ask a question, well how we go from talking about love to talking about atmospheric physics? It does not appear as if there is a logical direct connection between the two, and yet there is; and that’s what’s so remarkable and revolutionary about his thinking. His thinking was able to really introduce revolutions not just in the field of human relationships but also in psychotherapy approaches. In many aspects of healthcare, he has introduced things that could be potentially truly completely altering of our healthcare landscape. He really developed a concept of energy that would allow us to use an unlimited source of energy without destroying our environment through its utilization, which, in of itself, at this time, when we are having so many problems with our energy utilization, it’s obviously of absolute importance. There is also the issue that he had ideas for how actually influence weather events so as to lead to a healing of our atmosphere, and a resetting of our atmosphere to a status that would be still conducive to living here on the planet longer. Ultimately in some ways Reich did toward the end of his life speak more even just about issues of consciousness. Scientist are often put in pigeon holes or pockets, the same with psychologists or psychiatrists, and same with philosophers. One of the things I think he was quite extra ordinary at was spanning so many fields of inquiry, successfully. So, it’s very hard to pigeon hole him in some ways. But as I said at the beginning his life ended pretty tragically, very tragically by anybody’s standards. I think that has left an impact on his legacy. I know in the years following his passing many physicians who worked with him were quite intimidated or frightened about the possibility themselves of coming under professional scrutiny or harassment. I think the question often remains for many people, why would he be so aggressively attacked? And, who would be behind it? What are the factors at play on our planet that would lead to this? I think that has held people back. But as I said, today I was hoping we could try to focus instead more on what he did create and what we could do with it. Will we be able to bring it back into the foreground successfully enough to use it going to the future? I feel it’s our responsibility to try to do that, to try to either teach more about it, influence people in some way, try to show people what he really did. But I realize also, if there is going to be a change happening in human consciousness or in our understandings of science, and the relationship between our emotions and our physical world and our happiness in general, that’s a revolution that’s going to have to happen on its own time. Unfortunately, none of us are going to be able to force it but certainly it’s worth an effort. So, we have kind of mixed program today and we are trying to address some issues of research going on right now. I wanted to show a little bit of a film: "A Man’s Right to Know". It was created by the Wilhelm Reich Museum. It gives a more general biographical history of Reich, maybe more detailed than I’m giving right now. I wanted to also introduce a little bit of our speakers just so people know who they are. Dr. Simonian is a psychiatrist here in Los Angeles. He grew up in Iran and he has translated "The Function of Orgasm" from English into Persian and in that way really came to know some of the fundamentals of Reich’s theories very well. He practices Orgone therapy here in Los Angeles and also has lectured at different conferences about Reich and psychiatry. We have Roberto Maglione is a colleague from Italy. Roberto is quite an interesting person and very sweet person and has an interesting background. He actually is a mining engineer but he got very interested in Reich’s work in the 1990’s and has since written 10 books on Reich which most of them are in Italian but there are four books in English that he has here, all of which I think are very very interesting books and they are for sale out in the lobby. He has worked extensively in the field of weather research but also has studied issues of physical tests and issues that Reich discussed toward the end of his life: the inter play of orgone energy with nuclear material, the "Oranur experiment" as we call it; and also some of Reich’s experiments on biogenesis or the evolution of life. His books are also available out there in the lobby to look at. We also have Havard Neilson from Oslo. He is an associate professor at the Norwegian University in Oslo area. He has a PHD in political science history and also is a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge for several years. He is going to be speaking on the political history of Reich in the period in the interwar years. My name is Conny Huthsteiner I’m a psychiatrist. I can say when I first got interested in Reich I was actually working as a singer and in film. I remember I had enrolled in a theater class. In that theater seminar the leader used some Orgone therapy techniques that were very, very intense. They elicited a lot of emotion in me and I was interested in what he had done. I had known Reich’s name as a child as growing up because my father was a psychiatrist so I basically started doing research into his life. and that was back in 1980. I ended up then enrolling in medical school and became a psychiatrist. So, it’s been a long road getting here but it’s an issue that’s never let me go. In other words, the study of the knowledge that Reich brought forth is that important that I would continue on this path. I’m not sure about everybody’s background in Reich. I have often hoped that we can put together a project in which we can talk about Reich’s major theoretical developments. Although it is hard to get into it right now, he really was the father of body-integrated psychotherapy which is now manifested in many forms, many different schools of body oriented psychotherapy. It’s a psychotherapy form that works much more intensively often than normal talk therapy. Through that work he really came to understand what energy in the body is, and was able to see the connection between the energy in the body and the energy in the atmosphere at large. These are just a few of some of his basic trends of thinking. Maybe I could start the Man’s Right to Know film.

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From Freud’s Psychoanalysis to Orgone Therapy:


The Psychiatric, Medical, and Social Consequences

Orgone therapy originated from Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and evolved into the body of knowledge that Freud himself no longer recognized as his own. Reich described the evolution of this body of knowledge in his book, Function of Orgasm. This book provides a synopsis of the development of Orgonomy from psychoanalysis so that the interested reader will recognize its scientific basis, logical development, and its importance in people’s lives.

Reich became involved with psychoanalysis in 1919 as a student at the University of Vienna. He recounted a time during an anatomy lecture when students passed around a leaflet requesting the creation of a seminar on sexology for medical students. He attended the meeting and by fall of 1919, he was elected as chairman of the seminar. In this role, it was Reich’s job to produce literature, so he interviewed a variety of well-known professors and specialists in the field. “Freud was different,” Reich wrote. “Whereas the others all played some kind of a role, Freud did not put on any airs. He spoke with me like a completely ordinary person. . . . [Although] I had been apprehensive about going to him, I went away, cheerful and happy. From that day on, I spent 14 years of intensive work in and for psychoanalysis. In the end, I was extremely disappointed in Freud. Fortunately, this disappointment did not lead to hatred and rejection. Quite the contrary,” Reich wrote. “Today I can appreciate Freud’s achievement in a far better and deeper way than I could in those days of youthful enthusiasm. I am happy to have been his student for such a long time, without having to criticize him prematurely and with complete devotion to his cause” (#1). Reich’s statement reflects his deep involvement in and devotion to the psychoanalytic movement, as well as his knowledge of the theory and techniques of psychoanalysis. His statement also reflects his devotion to and respect for Freud, its founder.

Freud’s theory and technique in psychoanalysis was based on making the unconscious roots of symptoms conscious through free association. He contended that by free associating one idea triggers another, eventually unearthing the unconscious roots of the symptoms. Freud suggested free association connect ideas to each other like links in a chain; one link connects to the next and eventually will lead to the unconscious roots of the patient’s neurotic symptoms. By unearthing these unconscious roots, he stated that the patient would improve. The technique of psychoanalysis requires that the patient lie on a couch with the analyst sitting behind the patient’s head, preferably out of the his/her sight. The analyst then gives hints or suggestions to guide the patient to a deeper level of the unconscious and provide a timely interpretation of the patient’s verbal associations. Difficulties in this process were many, most importantly, the patient’s resistance of free associating and revealing unconscious material. Freud suggested strategies to overcome this resistance; however, they did not always work.

The seeds of orgonomy and consequent departure of Reich from Freud date back to 1920 when Freud sent a student to Reich for psychoanalysis. The young man was suffering from a compulsion to ruminate and compulsion to count numbers. Reich treated this patient for several months and eventually an incest fantasy burst into his consciousness, and for the first time the patient masturbated with gratification. All of his symptoms vanished at once, but within 8 days they gradually returned. He masturbated again and the symptoms disappeared again only to return few days later. This went on for several weeks and finally Reich and his patient succeeded in identifying the root of his patient’s guilt about masturbation and by alleviating some of these irrational feelings, his condition visibly improved. After a total of 9 months, Reich terminated the treatment and the patient’s condition had significantly improved; thus, he was capable of working again. The patient remained free of symptoms over a period of 6 years during which Reich had minimal contact with him (#2).

Simultaneously, Reich was analyzing a waiter who was totally incapable of having an erection. During the third year of the patient’s analysis, Reich stated, “We arrived at the perfect reconstruction of ‘primal scene.’ He was about 2 years old when this occurred. His mother gave birth to a child and from the adjacent room, he had been able to observe every detail of the delivery. The impression of a large bloody hole between the mother’s legs became firmly ingrained in his mind. On a conscious level, there remained only the sensation of “emptiness” in his own genitals. Based on psychoanalytic knowledge of that time, I merely connected his inability to have an erection with his severely traumatic impression of the castrated female genitalia. This analysis was no doubt correct”(#3). Reich stated, “At that time I incorrectly assessed the total personality of my patient. He was a very quiet, well-mannered and well-behaved person and did everything that was asked of him. He never got excited. In the course of three years of treatment, he never once became angry or exercised criticism. Thus, according to prevailing thought, he was a fully ‘integrated, adjusted’ character with only one acute symptom (monosypmtomatic neurosis)” (#3). Reich presented this case to the older analysts and he was praised for his precise analytical work, and they considered the analysis to be successful. However, Reich wondered that if the treatment had, in fact, been successful, then why had the patient not improved? “It did not occur to any of us that it was precisely this emotional tranquility and unshakable equanimity which formed the pathological characterological basis on which erectile impotence could be maintained . . . . I terminated the analysis several months later and the patient had not been cured” (#3). Reich stated that the patient accepted the termination of treatment as he had accepted everything else in his life: with placidity, politeness, and passivity.

These contrasting cases formed the premises of two main orgonomic theories: the theory of orgasm and the theory of armoring. The theory of orgasm is illustrated in the first patient who was able to achieve orgasm and was ultimately cured. In contrast, the theory of armoring is evident in the second patient, who was unable to have an orgasm due to the makeup of his character—resistant to and armored against the flow of biological energy which energizes manifestations of rage, anger, love and sexuality. In order for a person to have orgastic potency, he must surrender to this flow, free of inhibition, and completely discharge the dammed-up sexual energy, allowing the involuntary, pleasurable convulsions of the body. These two theories, then, are inextricably bound: if one does not resolve this armoring, then one cannot develop orgastic potency.

The concept of sexual-biological energy that Freud called it libido energy and Reich named it orgone energy, has a central importance in orgonomy and will be talked about later in this article. For now however, let’s go back to describing the theory of orgasm and the theory of armoring,- the two main theories of psychiatric orgone therapy.

Reich reported several other cases and concluded that orgastic impotence is not simply one of many symptoms of neurosis; it is, in fact, the most significant symptom as well as the cause of neurosis. Reich argued, “Not a single neurotic individual possesses orgastic potency, and the majority of men and women are neurotic” (#4). However, some of Reich’s colleagues asserted that they knew a number of patients who had completely healthy sexual lives. Nonetheless, Reich claimed that if one looked more deeply at this proclaimed sexual potency, one would find it ingenuine or insincere because although these patients were capable of having erections and sexual intercourse, these sexual relations were contaminated with strange fantasies, reflecting a pathology, and these patients often could not reach orgasm or struggled with premature ejaculation, or at the time of ejaculation they would experience no pleasure and at times opposite of it disgust and discontent. Reich further elaborates on the orgastic potency of neurotic patients and states “The more precisely my patients described their sexual behaviors and experiences, the more convinced I became that all patients without exception are severely disturbed in their genital functioning. . . . It became quite clear that although they were sexually potent, such men experienced very little pleasure at the moment of ejaculation, or they experienced the exact opposite, disgust and displeasure” (#5). This reflects the fact that although these patients were erectively potent, but they were orgastic impotent. An orgastic potent person will experience the sexual orgasm as defined by Reich “Orgastic potency is the capacity to surrender to the flow of biological energy, free of any inhibitions: the capacity to discharge completely the dammed up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable convulsions of the body.”(#4)

While Reich’s theory of orgasm evolved from Freud’s theory of stasis neurosis (P-1), Reich’s own clinical observation and investigation and patients’ discussions of their sexual activity, his theory of “armor” grew as a result of working on patients’ resistances to treatment. He stated that all of his data and experiences with patients led him to conclude that a patient’s “personality” or “character” creates the chief obstacle in the curing of the patient.

(P-1) Stasis Neurosis: Freud’s initial theory of neurosis indicating that development of neurosis is a consequence of unrelieved sexual energy.

Discovery of the concept of the emotional and physical armoring is one of the most important discoveries in psychiatry. This claim was supported by Dr. Morton Herskowitz in a speech at the IOS spring conference in 2015 . (#6)

Dr. Morton Herskowitz

Herskowitz stated: “I think that the discovery of emotional armoring is one of the most important discoveries in the history of psychiatry. I think that it reaches places that have never been reached by therapy before. I think it does things to people that have never been done before. I don’t think it’s a cure-all for all psychiatric problems. It doesn’t help psychosis unless you work the way Reich did, which most of us can’t, and it doesn’t help Alzheimer’s and lots of disorders in psychiatry that it doesn’t deal with, but in the matters that it does deal with, it has an effect like no other therapy”. (#6)

The theory of armoring and the need to resolve it for successful treatment of the patient is evident in the aforementioned case of the waiter who did not improve even though the unconscious roots of his neurotic symptoms became conscious. As the reader may recall, the waiter discovered the unconscious root of his impotence, but he maintained his rigid attitude and passive demeanor. Consequently, he did not allow his feelings to surface. After 3 years of psychoanalysis, he accepted the results of the analysis without any protest as he had accepted everything else in his life. His character armor was intact and actively functioning throughout his psychoanalytic sessions without his or his analyst’s awareness. His character structure thus caused and maintained his neurotic symptoms.

In orgonomy, armor is defined as the organism’s defense mechanism, consisting of emotional and physical rigidity, sometimes expressed by chronic muscle spasms, and functioning as a defense against the expression of emotions, primarily anxiety, rage, and sexual excitation. (#7) Armoring develops while a child interacts with his or her environment. The anti-sexual mores and authoritarian upbringing of children, prevalent in most cultures around the word, are the main cause of armoring and thus restrict the character in children and adolescents, inhibiting
natural drives and impulses.

Schematically, the process of armoring is as follows:

From the book, “Character Analysis” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. (#8)

The primary and natural drives are prohibited by the outer world. Under prolonged prohibition of these natural drives, the primary drive force dissociates and part of it turns against itself; consequently, psychological and physical armoring sets in. Schematically, it is depicted below.

Id = Defense and change of function

C = Armoring and structural lack of contact

From the book, “Character Analysis” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. (#8)

Children initially protest the inhibitions that are imposed on them by crying and throwing temper tantrums, but eventually they submit to the pressure for their survival and adjust. Part of them identifies with the oppressor and eventually they become the oppressor themselves and an enemy of anyone who expresses the wishes for which they had once longed. The orgonomic model of a healthy unarmored organism is the depicted as below.

Schematic depiction of psychological structure based on orgonomic theories (core, middle layer, and outer layer). (#9)

Diagram depicting basic functions in an armored organism. The inhabitation of primary impulses produces secondary impulses and anxiety.(#10)

Once the organism becomes armored, the primary impulses that are natural—rational love, natural sexuality, rational anger and rational hate—become distorted. Armoring thus changes a person’s behavior and demeanor, compelling the person to act involuntarily, a behavior that was unfamiliar to him as a child, before the armoring had set in. He does things that he had once hated when he was still healthy and unarmored. Many of my patients have told me, “Doctor, I hated it when my parents were doing this, and I never thought that I would do the same, but I am surprised that I am now doing it to my children.”

Herskowitz (1993) discussed the changes that armoring causes in human behavior:

Armoring converts free laughter into a chuckle or twitter; it may cause a woman to speak in a little girl’s voice. It does not merely change a function by degree but by a kind. It renders behavior more predictable, more stereotyped. Armoring puts life in constraint. Armoring is most often revealed in muscular tension but it is also revealed in eyes that are glazed, in excessive body fat, etc. [Armoring] is a dynamic event and it entails the consumption of energy. It constrains us physically, emotionally, and ideationally. It is a cocoon to which we gradually become accustomed. (#11)

While the human psychological structure model in psychoanalysis is based on the psychoanalytic theories of “conscious” and “unconscious” or “id, ego, and superego”, the model in orgonomy is based on the core, middle layer, and outer layer. Reich described this model as follows:

On the surface layer of his personality, the average man is reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible, and conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were directly connected with the deep, natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case. The surface layer of social cooperation is not connected with the deep biological core of one’s selfhood: It is borne of a second, intermediate layer, consisting exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious and envious impulses. It represents the Freudian “unconscious” or “what is repressed.” To put it in the language of sex-economy 2, it represents the sum total of all so-called “secondary drives”. (#12)

Secondary drives, as mentioned earlier, are distorted and perverted byproducts of natural drives that develops as a consequence of armoring. The concept of secondary drives is specific to Orgonomy (See diagram depicting basic function in armored organism).

While psychoanalytic treatment of neurosis is based on free association and its goal is making the unconscious conscious, in psychiatric orgone therapy, the treatment is designed to dissolve the armor, liberate the energy encrusted in it, and restore the natural flow of biological energy. Dissolution of the armor brings about fundamental changes in the patient’s behavior that are quite impressive. The elimination of the armor restores the natural flow of energy throughout the body from the center to the periphery and restores the orgastic potency. The treatment technique for dissolution of character armor is thus called “character analysis”.

In character analytic technique, the most important considerations are the patient’s demeanor and behavior; whereas in psychoanalysis the focus is on the content of the patient’s statements, i.e., what the patient is saying. Once the patient becomes aware of his idiosyncratic behaviors, he will likely recognize the defensive function of that behavior. For instance, one of my patients’ was unable to open his eyes without squinting. When confronted with this specific behavior, he stated, “Doctor, I feel a great deal of shame, and that is why I am unable to open my eyes.” Another patient maintained a constant smile during most of our sessions. After I pointed out that she was smiling while describing an emotionally painful event in her life, she understood the significance of her facial expression and explained, “Doctor, I’ve hidden my feelings all my life by maintaining a constant smile.” Her smile immediately faded into sadness, tears began falling and she soon broke into sobs. (P-2)

(P-2) Sex-economy is the body of knowledge within the orgonomy which deals with the economy of the biological energy (orgone energy) in the organism

A distinction between character analytic technique and psychoanalysis is the emphasis on how a patient says something rather than what he says. Words can lie, but behaviors and attitudes do not. In psychoanalysis, for example, it is common to interpret the verbal material as the patient speaks; however, in character analysis, we do not necessarily follow that pattern because by experience we know that as long as the patient’s demeanor, behavior, and attitude remain untouched and intact (i.e., as long as the armor is in place), the therapist’s interpretation will, at best, give the patient an intellectual understanding of his symptoms but no relief from them. Thus, the symptoms will persist, as described earlier in the case of the waiter. In contrast, character analysis brings unexpected, intense changes in patients. Reich provided the following examples:

Quite spontaneously, the patients began to experience the moralistic attitude of the world around them as something alien and peculiar. No matter how tenaciously they might have defended premarital chastity beforehand, now they experience this demand as grotesque. Such demands no longer had any relevance for them; they became indifferent to them. Their attitudes toward their work changed. If they had previously worked mechanically, not demonstrating any real interest, and had considered their work a necessary evil which one takes upon oneself without giving it much thought, now they became discriminating ….

The change in the sexual sphere was just as pronounced. Patients who had felt no qualms about going to prostitutes became incapable of doing so….Wives who had patiently endured living with unloving husbands and had submitted to the sexual act out of “marital obligation” could no longer do so. They simply refused; they had had enough. (#13)

Discovery of character armor and its treatment technique character analysis has a deeper biological base. The demeanor and the behavior, the tone of speech and muscular attitude of the patient, muscular contractions etc. reflect a physical state which its manifestations are the character of the patient that we are able to observe on the surface, in the realm of psychology. Chronic muscular and physical attitude of the body inevitably brings changes to the tissues. Body and psyche in the depth are connected with each other and in orgonomy their relationship is depicted as the following schema.

From the book, “Function of Orgasm” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. (#14)

Currently, neither medical nor psychiatric professionals deeply understand the relationship between psyche and soma partly due to their lack of familiarity with orgonomic theories. Therefore, they are unable to treat psychosomatic illnesses. Psychiatry textbooks that discuss these topics usually start with the promising idea that psyche and soma are inseparable entities, but as one continues to read, he soon discovers that the author is, in fact, discussing two distinct entities, psyche here and soma there. Consequently, current psychiatric suggestions for treating psychosomatic illnesses are vague and ultimately confusing and ineffective.

In treating psychiatric patients, doctors often encounter patients with psychological symptoms who are also suffering from physical symptoms without any detectable medical reason. For instance, patients with high levels of anxiety often suffer from shortness of breath, pressure on the chest, contraction of the throat, feeling of suffocation, gastrointestinal symptoms, and skin disorders such as rashes or itching and so on. These somatic sensations can, at times, reach delusional proportions. Because of this experience, a patient might see a number of physicians, and he may subject himself to many unnecessary tests to no avail.

One instance of psychosomatic response is describe in detail by Reich in 1933:

I treated a man who offered considerable resistance to the uncovering of his passive homosexual fantasies. This resistance was overtly expressed in the extreme stiffness in his throat and neck (“stiff neck”). A concentrated attack on his defense finally caused him to yield, though in an alarming way. For three days he was shaken by acute manifestations of vegetative shock. The pallor of his face changed rapidly from white to yellow to blue. His skin was spotted and mottled. He experienced violent pains in the neck and back of the head. His heartbeat was rapid and pounding. He had diarrhea, felt tired, and seemed to have lost control. I was uneasy. True, I had often seen similar symptoms, but never in such a violent form. Something had happened here that, while somehow a legitimate part of the work, was not immediately intelligible. Affects [emotions] had broken through somatically after the patient had relinquished his attitude of psychic defense. Apparently the stiff neck, which emphasized austere masculinity, had bound vegetative energies [bio-sexual energy] which now broke loose in an uncontrolled and chaotic manner. A person with an ordered sexual economy [healthy and natural sexual function] is not capable of such a reaction. Only continuous inhibition and damming-up of biological energy can produce it. The musculature has served the function of inhibition. When the neck muscles relaxed, powerful impulses, as if unleashed from a taut coil, broke through. (#15)

Treating a patient’s psychological symptoms by recognizing and treating corresponding somatic manifestations has been an advancement in psychiatry and psychology. This connection between the psyche and soma in humans and higher animals is controlled by the vegetative nervous system, also referred to as the autonomic nervous system, which functions automatically , involuntarily. For instance, the pulse or heartbeat in higher animals as well as in humans is controlled by the vegetative nervous system. Understanding this connection prompted Reich to transcend treating physical and psychological symptoms separately. Instead, he began to treat patients by considering both psychological and physical symptoms as an interrelated entity, an approach that he referred to as vegetotherapy. By comprehending emotional armoring and its connection to physiological conditions, orgonomists comprehend the depth of psychological symptoms that are anchored in the body. Psychological symptoms can only be fundamentally changed if the physical roots in the somatic realm are also changed. Otherwise, the changes are superficial and often only provide a patient with an intellectual understanding of symptoms that continue to persist.

The combination of character analysis and vegetotherapy is referred to as psychiatric orgone therapy. The application of vegetotherapy, described by both Reich and Herskowitz in the book of emotional armoring, brings about impressive, observable changes. Clinicians may become inclined to use a vegetotherapeutic approach more often than character-analytic approach . However, Reich advised that both be used alternately depending on the patient’s response since s/he may respond better to one approach at one point in therapy and the other at another point. (#16)

The dissolution of character armor and its corresponding muscular, physical armor, releases emotions embedded in the armor. Consequently, doctors may observe patients expressing intense emotions such as sadness, crying, anger, or fear. At times, doctors may also see unexpected episodes of laughter, often resulting from patient’s sense of relief from the armor that had constricted the patient with painful feelings of irrational fear and anxiety throughout their lives. In such episodes, one can observe a period of elation in patients whose laughter may last for an unexpected period of time. Dissolution of the armor often is accompanied with revival of distant and forgotten memories that are attached to these feelings. Dissolution of the armor ultimately improves the flow of biological energy that has otherwise been blocked or distorted. Often, these distorted impulses manifest themselves as secondary motives which were described earlier. At times, patients are aware of these strange, irrational impulses. Secondary motives evaporate and disappear by dissolution of the armor. For example, a distorted sexual impulses contaminated with sadistic impulses evaporates and disappears not because the patient continues to suppress the expression of these impulses but because the energy source of it cease to exist and consequently the impulses disappear altogether. Everyone knows that it is far superior not to have a sadistic impulse than to have one and suppress it. In essence, dissolving one’s armor enables patients to function well by expressing primary impulses without distortion. As such, these patients attain a sense of morality that is self-regulated.

While Reich provided some explanation and description of the technique psychiatric orgone therapy in The Function of Orgasm and Character Analysis, Herskowitz, Reich’s last student, describes this therapeutic approach in detail in his book Emotional Armoring. (#17)

The biological energy which often was mentioned in this article has a central importance in orgonomy. Its source is considered to be autonomic ganglions, mostly concentrated in the lower abdominal area, solar plexus, and hypogastric and lumbosacral plexus. This assumption was supported in the experiment done in 1961. (#18)

The initiation and propagation of this energy is depicted in the following diagram. (#19)

The basic functions of the vegetative nervous system. From book, “Function of Orgasm” by Wilhelm Reich. (#19)

The concept of biological energy was first postulated by Freud, who had observed human psychological functioning and could explain certain phenomena only by acknowledging the existence of an energy, which he termed libido energy. While Freud’s followers and students began to dilute or ultimately abandon this concept, Reich recognized its fundamental importance and began to expand on it; he called it orgone energy and demonstrated its’ function in the living organism. Thereafter, he designed instruments that physically accumulated this energy and manifested its effect. (P-3)

(P-3) For further knowledge in this subject the reader is referred to the books by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, “Function of Orgasm, “Cancer Biopathy”, “Ether, God, Devil”, “Bion Experiments” and so on.

The discovery of emotional and physical armoring and the theory of orgasm has far-reaching effects in medicine, psychiatry, biology and sociology, for if psychological symptoms are rooted in the body and one’s psychological state corresponds to changes and distortions in the body tissues, then one can assume that some physical illnesses are a consequence of armoring as well. In fact, contemporary physicians and psychiatrists acknowledge the relationship between the psyche and the soma, evidenced in physical disorders such as cancer, asthma, gastrointestinal and dermatological illnesses as well as immunological deficiencies. And Reich discussed this psychosomatic relationship in the book “Cancer Biopathy”.

The term biopathies refers to all disease processes caused by a basic dysfunction in the autonomic [vegetative] life apparatus. Once started, this dysfunction can manifest itself in a variety of symptomatic disease patterns. A biopathy can result in carcinoma (carcinomatous biobathy), but it can just as easily lead to angina pectoris, asthma, cardiovascular hypertension, epilepsy, catatonic or paranoid schizophrenia, anxiety neurosis, multiple sclerosis, chorea, chronic alcoholism, etc. We are still ignorant of the function that determines the direction in which a biopathy will develop. Of prime importance to us, however, is the common denominator of all these diseases: a disturbance in the natural function of the pulsation”. (#20)

Understanding emotional and physical armoring has illuminated the concept of psychosomatic illnesses, transcending the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry and entering the spheres of physiology and biology. Once the concept of emotional armoring is fully understood, we will understand its causes as well as its social and cultural ramifications. If children are to be raised as healthy individuals as ordained by nature or God, then social and cultural institutions that cause emotional armoring should ultimately be changed, for these institutions cause armoring and emotional and physical illnesses en masse.

Neurosis in the individual is not always manifested in disturbing, torturous symptoms that torments the patient inflicted with it. These individuals may live less productive lives due to anxiety, depression, obsession and compulsions, or phobias. However, distorted impulses caused by armoring can also manifest themselves as sadistic impulses that harm others. In ogonomy such impulses are referred to as an emotional plague, and those afflicted create leaders who cause catastrophes like war and genocide. Thus, recognizing and ceasing the epidemy of armoring will inevitably create social and cultural change. Preventing armoring therefore becomes an important goal of orgonomy, transcending the spheres of psychology and medicine and impacting the social and cultural domains.

Like any other institution that combats armoring and emotional plague, institutions promoting orgonomy are vulnerable to destructive attacks from both outside and from within. But this vulnerability should not dissuade us from teaching and promoting Reich’s scientific foundation of orgonomy. I end this article with Reich’s advice to his students to persist in the discovery of scientific truth without compromise:

The scientist is duty-bound to preserve the right of freely expressing his opinions under all circumstances, and not to abandon this privilege to the advocates of the suppression of life. There is so much talk about the soldier’s duty to give his life for his country and there is too little mention of the scientist’s duty to defend, under all circumstances, what has been recognized to be true, no matter the cost” (#21).

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References

  1. Reich, W. (1973). Function of orgasm, 2nd Edition, translated by Vincent R. Carfagno (Page 35) – Original edition was published in 1942.
  2. Ibid (Page 84).
  3. Ibid (Page 85).
  4. Ibid (Page 102).
  5. Ibid (Page 100).
  6. Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy
  7. Orgonomy Glossary Selected Writings, and Introduction of Orgonomy Chester M. Raphael M.D. 1973.
  8. Reich, Wilhelm Character Analysis 1972.Third and Enlarged Edition (Page 299) – original edition was published in 1945.
  9. Reich, Wilhelm Ether, God, and Devil (Page 120) – original edition was published in 1949.
  10. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Second Edition (Page 294) – original edition was published in 1942.
  11. Excerpts from Dr. Herskowitz lecture in Germany December 1993. Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. https://www.psychorgone.com.
  12. Reich, Wilhelm Mass Psychology of Fascism 1970. Third Edition Revised and Enlarged (Page XI) – original edition was published in 1946.
  13. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Second Edition (Page 175) – original edition was published in 1942.
  14. Ibid (Page 266).
  15. Ibid (Page 269).
  16. Ibid (Page 330).
  17. Morton Herskowitz D.O. 1997 Emotion armoring, and introduction to psychiatric orgone therapy.
  18. Zamiatine, N. (1961). Electrophysiological analysis of excitation conduction through ganglia of the solar plexus. Journal of physiology of USSR. 47(6), 1-8.
  19. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Second Edition (Page 293).
  20. Reich, Wilhelm Cancer Biopathy the Carcinomatous Shrinking “Definition of Biopathies”. 1973, (Page 151) – original edition was published in 1947.
  21. Reich, Wilhelm 1973 Function of Orgasm Introductory Survey (Page 16) – original edition was published in 1942.

 

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