I was recently asked by a prospective student of orgone therapy if the Institute of Orgonomic Science (IOS) has as its mission to preserve Wilhelm Reich’s work or to build upon it. For those who are not aware, the IOS was founded in the early 1980s and I've been an honorary member of this organization for some years.
This is such an important issue for any organization dedicated to the study of Wilhelm Reich’s findings, and especially for those that train orgone therapists.
Orgonomy is the study of what Reich termed "orgone energy"—the life energy he scientifically proved to exist. He found it first in living things, then later in the atmosphere, and finally theorized that it extended through the cosmos. Reich felt his discovery of orgone energy was his principal finding and all his other work flowed from this.
An analogy can be made to Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, whose work led to the development of the laser, transistor, MRI, and so much more. Just as the field of quantum mechanics has grown and developed over time, and will continue to do so, its foundation, quantum theory, remains essentially unchanged.
Here is where the question of whether an organization is—or should be—preserving Reich's work or building upon it has relevancy. The theory governing the practice of orgone therapy needs no modification. The central element of treatment is the removal of the body’s chronic muscular contractions that Reich called “armor.” This process re-establishes the free flow of the body’s energy and moves patients forward to living a more natural, satisfying life.
Methods to make orgone therapy more effective are welcomed, and certainly needed, but they should only be in the service of advancing the therapy more quickly to its goal and end point as outlined by Reich.
There is a line between preserving and furthering Reich’s work—and distorting it. This is the challenge. It's been my experience that those groups that will preserve and further his findings have as their focus a rigorous study of the body of his work. This includes the scientific experiments that test the validity of his observations and his assertion that the effects of orgone energy are real and measurable.