Historical development of orgone therapy

Historically, the development of Wilhelm Reich’s therapeutic technique can be thought of as comprising of four quite distinct time periods, based on the progress of his clinical and experimental findings:

1 1919-1923: During this period, Reich considers himself as is working within the framework of classical Freudian psychoanalysis. He discovers, through clinical observations, the sexual stasis of the organism and correlates it with the anxiety accompanying neuroses, i.e. stasis anxiety, which actually is the cause and the effect of sexual stasis. In 1922 he formulates his theory of orgasm and the clinical entity of orgastic impotence.

2 1923-1930: During this period he develops his character analytic technique. More concretely:

i) Formulation the formula of life or orgasm formula (mechanical tension → bioelectric charge → bioelectric discharge → mechanical relaxation – 1923), which governs all living functions and he introduces the concept of the sexual economy of the organism.

ii) Definition of the concept of orgastic potency.

iii) Formulation the theory of character formation and introduction of his character analytic technique.

iv) Discovery of armoring and its segmental arrangement, as well as the discovery of his technique for character analysis.

v) Discovery of the negative transference and of a technique for its treatment.

vi) Resolution of the bioenergetic problem of masochism (1928).

From this point on, Wilhelm Reich begins to distance himself from the classical psychoanalytic context. At the Conference held by the International Psychoanalytic Association in Lucerne, in 1934, his differentiation from psychoanalysis becomes official and he is expelled from the Association.

3 1930-1939: This is the period of characteranalytic vegetotherapy (Oslo, 1934). He investigates experimentally the bioelectric nature of sexuality and the emotions, formulates the concept of psychosomatic identity and antithesis of the autonomic nervous system, and discovers the orgasm reflex and its importance in man’s psychic health (1935).

4 The period after 1939: Discovery of the atmospheric orgone and renaming of his complete therapeutic technique into orgonetherapy.