American College of Orgonomy

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The American College of Orgonomy (ACO) is a college with the purpose of advancing research in the study of orgonomy, a field originally developed by the erstwhile psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. The ACO was founded as a nonprofit institution by Dr. Elsworth F. Baker in 1968.[1]

Reich was a prominent, though intensely controversial, psychiatrist from the circle around Sigmund Freud in Vienna. He fell from grace with Freud when he claimed a criterion for psychical health (orgastic potency) and advanced psychoanalysis to "character analysis". Finally, in 1934, Freud engineered Reich's expulsion from the International Psychoanalytical Association. Reich advanced from character analysis to vegetotherapy, the prototype of later body psychotherapy. Simultaneously Reich did some experimentation into the "electrical function of sexuality and anxiety" and the origin of life.

In 1940, he claimed to have discovered orgone energy, the basis of orgonomy, which is widely dismissed[2] as pseudoscience[3][4][5] by both mainstream academics and fringe researchers such as Henry Bauer, who accused the college of perpetuating Reich's "latter-day megalomania".[6]

Baker was a student and co-worker of Reich in the United States. In her book, Orgone and You, Reich’s assistant, Lois Wyvell, explains how Reich asked Baker to carry the science of orgonomy forward in 1949. Baker’s response to this challenge was to form the ACO and to publish the Journal of Orgonomy in 1967 – a scientific publication devoted to advancing orgone science. The ACO continues to publish the journal semiannually.[7] Baker also wrote a major textbook on orgone therapy, Man In the Trap [8] — wherein the word "orgone" does not appear.

The field of orgonomic studies encompasses several established disciplines, including biological,[citation needed] social,[9] and environmental[citation needed] sciences.

The American College of Orgonomy is based in Princeton, NJ. They offer a major orgonomic conference every fall, and hold regional talks on various scientific topics. The ACO trains therapists and offers courses in the field of social orgonomy for teachers, social workers, as well as other fields of interest. Standards in the field of orgonomy are created and maintained by the college as well. Members of the college teach related college courses and also present laboratory courses. The College conducts a postgraduate medical orgonomy training program for qualified physicians and psychiatrists. Physicians who meet preset requirements can receive instruction in becoming orgone therapists. There are also courses offered for those interested in "social orgonomy". Besides the Journal of Orgonomy, the ACO publishes books of orgonomic interest including Baker’s Man In the Trap, Me and the Orgone by Orson Bean and recently also Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy by Ola Raknes. The ACO has also produced films about orgonomy, most notably, Room For Happiness - an introduction to orgonomic therapy.[10]


  1. ^ Sharaf, Myron (1994). Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Da Capo Press. pp. 480–481. ISBN 0-306-80575-8. 
  2. ^ Isaacs, K. (1999). "Searching for Science in Psychoanalysis". Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy 29 (3): 235–252. doi:10.1023/A:1021973219022. [orgone is] a useless fiction with faulty basic premises, thin partial theory, and unsubstantiated application results. It was quickly discredited and cast away. 
  3. ^ Jon E. Roeckelein (2006). Elsevier's dictionary of psychological theories. Elsevier. pp. 493, 517–518. ISBN 978-0-444-51750-0. 
  4. ^ Robert E. Butts (1993). "Sciences and Pseudosciences. An attempt at a new form of demarcation". In John Earman. Philosophical problems of the internal and external worlds: essays on the philosophy of Adolf Grünbaum. Pittsburgh-Konstanz series in the philosophy and history of science 1. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-8229-3738-8. 
  5. ^ Arthur Wrobel (1987). Pseudo-science and society in nineteenth-century America (illustrated ed.). University Press of Kentucky. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-8131-1632-7. 
  6. ^ Bauer, Henry H. (2001). Science or Pseudoscience: Magnetic Healing, Psychic Phenomena, and Other Heterodoxies. University of Illinois Press. p. 160. ISBN 0-252-02601-2. 
  7. ^ Morgan, Clifford Thomas (1986). Introduction to Psychology. McGraw-Hill. p. 715. ISBN 0-07-043210-4. 
  8. ^ Smith, Edward W. L. (2000). The Body in Psychotherapy. McFarland. p. 14. ISBN 0-7864-0966-5. 
  9. ^ Hochberg, Louis (June 1997). "Wilhelm Reich in the alternative therapies and clinical social work". Clinical Social Work Journal 5 (2): 99–107. doi:10.1007/BF02144235. ISSN 1573-3343. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  10. ^ "Room for Happiness (53-minutes)". The ACO Store. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 

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