March 6, 2015

Upcoming Orgonomy Conference: University of Pennsylvania

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, a one day conference titled "Science, Love, and Society: An Introduction to Orgonomy, the Work of Wilhelm Reich" will be held at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The conference is being sponsored by the Institute of Orgonomic Science (IOS). These conferences for the public are rare, and it's an excellent opportunity to learn more about Wilhelm Reich and his legacy. I will be attending the conference and look forward to meeting friends old and new.


249 S 36th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 – Claudia Cohen Hall, room G17


$40, students $15. No one will be turned away due to financial hardship. Early registrants receive a discount. For more information, map to the location, pre-payment option, etc., click here


9:30 AM – 10:00 AM: Registration

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Welcoming: An introduction to the IOS, the speakers, the format of the day.

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM: Who was Wilhelm Reich and what is Orgonomy? An Overview.

(Presenter: Harry Lewis, Ed.D, LCSW)

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: What is Psychiatric Orgone Therapy?

(Presenter: Hugh Brenner, MSN, CRNP)

12:30 AM – 1:30 PM: Lunch Break (on own)

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Wilhelm Reich’s Social and Political Insights.

(Presenter: Philip W. Bennett, PhD)

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Orgone Energy: Theoretical and Practical Implications.

(Presenter: Kevin Hinchey, MFA)

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM: Break

3:45 PM – 4:15 PM: Round table discussion with presenters: Current and past misrepresentations of Reich’s life and work and its influence on the current teaching of orgonomy.
4:15 PM – 4:30 PM: Closing


Philip W. Bennett, PhD: Philip W. Bennett has a PhD in philosophy from New York University. He has published a number of articles about aspects of Reich’s life, including recent ones in The International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalysis and History. He has lectured about Reich here in Philadelphia, in New York City, at the Reich Museum center in Maine, and in Germany, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, and most recently in Finland. When not traveling and lecturing, he continues to work on his book, From Communism to Work Democracy: the Development of Wilhelm Reich’s Social and Political Thought.

Hugh Brenner, MSN, CRNP: Hugh Brenner was born into the Orgonomic Infant Research Center. He started Nursing School in 1980 and spent over 15 years working in various psychiatric settings. In 1994 he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with a MSN in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing and soon started a private practice, combining traditional psychiatric modalities with psychiatric orgone therapy. In 2010 he graduated from Rutgers University with a post-graduate certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner. He holds three Board Certifications. He has been involved in The Institute for Orgonomic Science for 15 years and is the current President.

Morton Herskowitz, DO: Dr. Morton Herskowitz, DO, graduated Temple University in with a BA in 1938. He attained his D.O. from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1943. After his internship at Harbor Hospital in Brooklyn, NY he worked as a General Practitioner for 3 years. In 1945 he began formal supervision in psychiatry. He began his personal therapy and training with Wilhelm Reich, MD in 1947, continuing until Dr. Reich imprisonment. Board Certified in Psychiatry, Dr. Herskowitz has been practicing psychiatric orgone therapy for more than 60 years. Currently he has a practice consistent with his age and energy. He is the author of the book Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.

Kevin Hinchey, MFA: Since 2002, Kevin Hinchey has been one of the directors of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust which administers Reich’s archives at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University; works with New York publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux to publish Reich’s books; and operates the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley, Maine. He has an M.F.A. in Film from the New York University Graduate Film School and over the past ten years has been a film professor in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Mr. Hinchey is now involved in the production of a full-length documentary on the life and work of Wilhelm Reich with location filming and on-camera interviews in the United States and Europe.

Harry Lewis, Ed.D, LCSW: Harry Lewis is an orgone therapist in private practice and the co-director of The Institute for the Study of the Work of Wilhelm Reich. He has been a member of the faculty at the New School for Social Research for the past twenty-six years.

Psychiatric Orgone Therapy

One of Wilhelm Reich’s most important and lasting contributions is a unique treatment for emotional disorders called psychiatric orgone therapy. Reich began as a psychoanalyst and was a member of Freud’s inner circle, but moved away from Freud’s method of free association when he developed a more effective verbal approach he called character analysis. Later he came to recognize the existence of a specific biologic energy in living organisms that he called “orgone,” which was coined from the word “organism.” With this discovery Reich was able to combine his verbal method with a technique that could normalize a person’s energy. The result was an entirely new approach to treating emotional disorders that he named orgone therapy.

Reich’s work with patients convinced him the disturbance in an individual’s energy state is caused by contractions in the body, especially in the musculature. He called these contractions “armor,” and established that they begin to develop in infancy as a way to block out emotionally painful events.

Past traumatic experiences are locked in the body--and they remain throughout life. How this happens is not fully understood, but there is no question that anxiety, anger and sadness, as well as the other upsetting feelings and emotions from childhood are not forgotten. Armor not only holds the disturbing past, causing it to remain alive but out of consciousness awareness, but it also affects how one feels and functions. Because living a natural healthy life depends upon whether a person’s energy flows freely or is blocked, the aim of psychiatric orgone therapy is to free up energy by breaking down armor. As these areas of holding dissolve, patients release their long buried feelings and emotions in the safety of the therapist’s office. They most usually surface spontaneously with the specific method Reich innovated, without the need of urging or any intervention on the part of the treating psychiatrist. However, occasionally, pressure needs to be applied to spastic muscles, or other techniques used to normalize the body. Because this treatment combines a verbal approach with a physical technique, it addresses both the mind and the body to bring about profound changes in how one thinks, feels and functions.

Today almost all people seeking treatment from a psychiatrist are given medications to reduce their symptoms. However, with psychiatric orgone therapy it is usual that patients, over time, find themselves able to wean themselves off medication and function without pharmacologic treatment. Reich’s therapy is unique in that it not only relieves distressing symptoms, but also does much more. It enables individuals to expand and feel pleasure, and better enjoy the many satisfactions life has to offer.

There are people who claim to practice some form of “Reichian” or “orgone” therapy, even though they have had no formal training in medicine or psychology. Often the techniques used by these self-proclaimed therapists have little or nothing to do with the very specific methods Reich developed and taught. The value of such therapies is questionable and may even harm those who get involved in them.

Qualified psychiatric orgone therapists have extensive training. They are physicians who have gone on to specialize in psychiatry and then in the very unique subspecialty of orgone therapy. They practice in much the same way as Reich did more than a half century ago. Ph.D. Psychologists who have had proper training can practice a form of orgone therapy safely and effectively. However, it is crucial they have supervision by a qualified psychiatric orgone therapist.