Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a number of questions frequently asked by clients and readers, with answers from our therapists. If you have a question that is not listed that you would like to have answered, please address it to the Institute of Orgonomic Science at the address listed below and we will consider it for inclusion in this section, which will be updated every few weeks .
Q: What age is appropriate for orgone therapy?
A: Orgone therapy is appropriate for all ages. Wilhelm Reich provided orgonomic treatment to adults, but also used orgonomic techniques in the treatment of newborns, children, and adolescents. Orgone therapists continue to work with adolescents and adults, and those orgonomists with suitable experience and knowledge provide therapy to children as well.
Q: How long does therapy last?
A: In simple terms, therapy ends when the client is satisfied with his/her ability to find enjoyment and fulfillment, or when the therapist thinks the client has made as much progress as could be expected within the framework of their mutual work. This can take months for a lightly armored individual, or for others many years. There is no set amount of time or number of sessions. However, one way to provide some structure to the work is to set specific goals. For example, if the patient is looking for relief of certain symptoms and those symptoms are alleviated, then therapy could be terminated. Alternately, the client and therapist can periodically reassess goals and targets, and make decisions based on those assessments. Therapy tends to progress in sudden leaps, interspersed with “plateaus” which are periods of integration. Some people take therapeutic breaks for months or years, during which they restructure their lives to minimize distress and conflict and maximize work enjoyment and personal pleasure.
Reich spoke of establishment of the orgasm reflex as being a goal of therapy, but for most people it is an unrealistically difficult and expensive endpoint. From an energetic standpoint one would like to see the client generally capable of free expansion and contraction. This in reflected in the ability to love deeply, work hard, laugh with children, obtain a good degree of sexual satisfaction, be able to defend themselves, and be internally quiet enough to sit and soak in a sunset. Therapy is not something that starts and stops at your therapist’s door. How you live your life is your most powerful therapeutic tool, and this never ends. Furthermore, orgone therapy is not the only helpful tool to promote personal growth. Ultimately it is up to the individual (and therapist) to decide when they have gotten the most out of the therapeutic relationship.
Q: What is the difference between “body-oriented” psychotherapy, “Reichian therapy,” and orgonomy?
A: As this is a complex subject, it will have to be addressed at length in an article or book format. We will simplify this question by changing it to, “I’m confused. How do I find a good therapist?”
It is a very important question, especially in states that have no restriction on who can call themselves a psychotherapist (such as Pennsylvania). Body-oriented psychotherapies are such powerful techniques that it is easy to harm a client. We cannot stress this enough. Let us start by saying that there are plenty of therapists of all stripes who can be of great therapeutic help. Furthermore, an otherwise excellent therapist may “click” with one person and not another. Nevertheless, there are some general guidelines one can utilize. I would make sure your therapist is state-licensed and board-certified. The individual should have gone through their own therapy, and been trained by an organization that utilizes a screening process to assure the therapist has a sufficient degree of emotional health to conduct therapy They should belong to a professional organization that has a concrete code of ethics that you can refer to. You should talk to others to get personal recommendations. Any therapist that has had sexual relations with clients or has otherwise exhibited unprofessional conduct should be ruled out. Once a therapist candidate has been selected, you should meet them and possibly try them out for a few sessions. If your gut tells you it is not a good match, move on. At this time there is no therapist involved in the Institute of Orgonomic Science who does not meet all of the professional criteria, nor is there any one of them we would not highly recommend. That does not mean that you will necessarily “click” with any one therapist. Trust your gut.
Q: Why do we do so much work on breathing?
A: Breathing is the motor force of our energy and emotionality. When breathing ceases life ends. When breathing is diminished so is the life force. To stop the pain of heartfelt sobbing, to quiet our rage, to temper the excitement of our passion we hold our breath. Contrariwise, in therapy we employ full deep breaths to nudge repressed emotions toward expression.
Q: Will orgone therapy alleviate medical conditions?
A: There is a host of varieties of medical conditions. Some have a genetic, infectious, parasitic, traumatic, pharmacologic origin, etc. These can only be treated in respect to their origins. But a host of medical disorders involve the subtle interplay of emotions and somatic disarray. There is an abundance of recent experimental evidence of how emotions affect our bodies. The discovery of the fact that depression affects the immune system is a good example. The medical disorders that fall within this category are those which can be benefited with orgone therapy.
Q: What are the frequency of sessions and cost of orgone therapy?
A: Most patients come for orgone therapy on a weekly basis, some have sessions every other week, and then there are a few who are seen twice a week. Hence, like orgone therapy itself, it is individualized to meet the patient’s needs. Fees may vary slightly among orgone therapists, but are comparable in range to fee scales in other psychiatric settings. Most patients combine some insurance reimbursement with out-of-pocket payments, whereas other pay for therapy entirely on their own.
Q: How is breathing in Yoga different from breathing in orgone therapy?
A: In Yoga both inspiration and expiration are a slow and controlled process; i.e., one is “holding on” to the breath. In orgone therapy, on the other hand, after deep inspiration the chest collapses passively as the air is expelled, i.e., it is a “letting go” process.
Q: What is the difference between regular exercise and the physical “exercise” done in orgone therapy?
A: Regular exercise benefits the cardiovascular system, reduces anxiety by discharging excess energy, increases muscle tone, and builds a stronger body. In orgone therapy we are after the expression of repressed emotions, and our entire body is involved in that process. For example, we use our extremities when we hit and kick with real anger. As long a a patient refers to any physical involvement as “exercise,” it is only “mechanical” movement. But as soon as emotions are accessed and fully expressed, that patient knows he/she has left the world of “exercise” behind.