Charles Konia, M.D.
Reprinted from the Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 37 No. 2
The American College of Orgonomy
Three cases of medical orgone therapy of children are presented. They illustrate the rapid improvement that can be made with this form of treatment if it is instituted at the early stages of armor formation, that is, before the armor becomes rigidified and fixed. As a result, therapy is straightforward and uncomplicated.
A Clinging Child
B, a one-year-old girl, was brought to therapy because of difficulty falling asleep at night, night terrors, and breath-holding. Past history revealed that the mother had a difficult labor with B and that the newborn was physically bruised during the delivery. Shortly after the birth, the mother was counseled by her own mother, “Don’t feed the baby too much, it will spoil her.” B’s mother became anxious and upset fearing she was feeding the baby excessively. The effect of this damaging advice was that she lost contact with herself and her innate sense of when to nurse her baby; she began feeding B when she herself felt anxious. The infant, in turn, became upset, demanding the breast not only for milk but also in an attempt to obtain the natural maternal contact that was missing. As a result, B required a great deal of attention from her mother both day and night throughout her first year. The parents brought B for treatment concerned about the effects that the traumatic birth and grandmother’s advice might have on their child’s ability to develop normally and become independent.
In her first session, B appeared frightened, held tightly to her mother and wanted to nurse. I instructed the mother to place her on the treatment couch and sit on a chair across from her. The baby immediately began to cry, wanting to go to her mother. I kept her on the couch for a few minutes and allowed her to cry and face her anxiety of being separated. Then I gave B back to her mother.
It was clear that there were distinct qualities to B’s crying. On the one hand, genuine fear and sadness was being expressed. On the other hand, there was a demand to her cry that had the effect of drawing B’s mother to her because of the mother’s anxiety, guilt, and uncertainty regarding the situation.
I felt that there must be an emotional “stickiness” to the relationship between mother and daughter even when the mother was able to resist holding her. The mother was aware of the different qualities of her baby’s cry but had difficulty responding appropriately. Her uncertainty made it easy for the baby to tug on her emotions. It was clear that at so young an age B knew just how to play on her mother’s anxiety and uncertainty.
In the following five sessions, with mother remaining in the room, I continued effecting a separation between the two, gradually increasing the separation time. B’s fuller crying, by itself, mobilized her diaphragm.1
In the seventh session I instructed the mother to leave the treatment room. This produced even more intense crying. From this time on the mother routinely left at the beginning of each session. In subsequent sessions there was less and less crying and more periods of quiet time during which B lay on her back, looked around the room, and pointed to various objects. She would then resume crying again, casting a glance at me to see if I was looking at her. Seeing that I was, she cried more forcefully in a demanding manner for her mother. During these times I simply let her cry.
Following the seventh session, the mother reported that B had slept through the night during the preceding week. If she did cry at bedtime, the mother was able to stand firm and the baby fell asleep after several minutes.
B is currently sleeping through the night in her own bed and the relationship between mother and child has lost its sticky quality. The child is outgoing and sociable and plays with peers in an age-appropriate manner. She is able to spend several hours with baby- sitters apart from her mother. In the last session, she entered the treatment room, reached out to me, and was curious and inquisitive about objects in the room. She showed no desire to cling to her mother when the mother left the room. This child was seen for fifteen sessions.
A “Held Back” Child
D, a two-year-old child, was brought to therapy because he had recently begun to habitually avoid looking at people. As soon as eye contact was established, he pointed his finger at an inanimate object in the room and looked in that direction in an attempt to distract the person from looking at him. He continually frustrated any attempt to make eye contact. This manner of effecting control had an angry and provocative quality.
D was also provocative in other ways. At home he deliberately spilled his juice on the floor and when reprimanded, pointed and looked away. He seemed quite pleased by his ability to frustrate his parents. In addition to these behaviors, he clung to his mother.
Past history was noncontributory except that D was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. His head was bluish-purple for the first few days of life.
Initial biophysical examination revealed a bright-eyed, lively youngster who went on the treatment couch of his own accord. Despite his outgoing appearance, however, he avoided making eye contact with me and exhibited the above-mentioned, distracting behavior. Considering that he was only two-years-old, the development of muscular armor was extensive and generalized. There was a “held back” expression to his movements.
Gentle pressure on the masseter and occipital muscles produced crying, but D continued to avoid making contact with me. When I attempted to play peek-a-boo he looked at me for only a fraction of a second. When I held his head so that he faced me, he looked briefly afraid, then looked away. There was a willful quality to his refusal to look. Significantly, his eyes were lively and mobile, not dull and vacant like those of an autistic child.
In subsequent sessions the parents reported that D looked forward to seeing me but became frightened when about to enter the treatment room. I continued to mobilize the muscles that were involved in his holding back. To address his eyes, I played peek-a- boo. When he clenched his mouth I worked posteriorly on the muscles of the oral segment and on the masseters. I also worked on his throat when he whined and on his paraspinal and flank muscles which were very armored. Although he did not express anger, he was able to express misery with progressively greater emotional intensity. During this period of treatment he had a total of seven- teen sessions.
I saw D again eight months later when he was three years-three months of age. At this time, his speech development had become impaired. There were long periods of silence in the presence of others and he had begun speaking in a halting manner, breaking up each word into separate syllables. In addition, he had developed constipation, holding back his bowel movements for almost a week at a time. There was also an arrest of social development; his nursery school teacher reported that he was not participating with the other children in activities. Both his parents and the nursery school staff were concerned about his development and psychological testing was performed. Information contained in the report was non- contributory. These symptoms had developed following the birth of a younger sibling when D was two-and-a-half years of age. They indicated that his entire organism was in a state of severe holding.
On observation, although the volume of his voice was full and strong, it seemed as if all his musculature and not just his vocal apparatus was involved in the motor aspect of speaking. I continued mobilizing the muscles of the neck and back, including the buttocks and legs. Surprisingly, these were remarkably soft and not tender on palpation. His major holding was in the jaw and in the muscles of the upper four segments posteriorly. With the expression of deep misery and the clonic movements associated with crying, his speech gradually became freer and more fluent. In addition, I imitated his speech pattern and told him that he was speaking like a baby. I asked him if he wanted to be one. Although he did not respond, he seemed to understand what I meant.
As D’s speech became more fluent, his father reported that D was becoming a “motor mouth.” His bowel habits also reverted to normal. Last to clear was his avoidance of eye contact.
D looked forward to sessions and told me what part of his body needed work. He is now almost four and is speaking fluently and developing normally. Duration of therapy was forty-one sessions.
In the following report, D’s mother describes him before and after therapy:
“Before therapy he seemed frozen, there was a wall of silence around him. He wouldn’t talk. I would spend long periods of time with him in total silence, to the point where I was beginning to stop making an effort to communicate. He was slowly becoming invisible.
“Now he answers questions rather than just repeating the questions asked him. He also asks questions. He had never done this before therapy started. He plays with other children at school. He had never or rarely done this before. He engages in pretend play. He had never done this before. He plays with and takes care of stuffed animals and shows concern or interest in other people. He had never done this before. He makes spontaneous comments about things. He had only rarely done this before. He’s not behaving obsessively (sharpening pencils or washing his hands for long periods of time). His speech is more fluid. He’s speaking in sentences and his vocabulary is improving. He’s lively and outgoing. He makes demands on me. He had never done this before.”
A Child With Asthma
G, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, had recurrent bouts of asthma since he was eighteen months old. The attacks, which typically followed an autumn upper respiratory tract infection, had progressed in severity to the point that inhalant medications were ineffective in relieving his respiratory distress, and on several occasions he had to be hospitalized and given intravenous and oral steroids. The effect of this medication was to turn an ordinarily happy, lively, and good- natured youngster into an angry, irritable monster.
Past history revealed that G was breast-fed until eighteen months of age. He then developed a Coxsackie viral infection in his mouth which prevented him from nursing. He began wheezing at this time. Although weaned, he developed a tactile attachment to his mother’s breasts and wanted to touch them when anxious. For reassurance, his mother allowed him to do this.
On G’s initial visit he was medication-free. I told his mother that I would see him for six sessions to determine if I could help him.
Biophysical examination revealed a chest that was held in inspiration with restricted respiratory excursions. There was marked tenderness over the pectoral, intercostal, and paraspinal muscles. He had a slight cough.
I gently applied pressure to the muscles of the chest wall which produced brief crying. Significantly, G’s mother stated that he rarely, if ever, cried.
On his second visit he appeared more lively. There had been no cough during the previous week and no symptoms of asthma. I began mobilizing the oral segment and continued to work on the thoracic and paraspinal muscles to which he responded with deeper crying. I continued until his voice became high-pitched, which indicated that his throat muscles were becoming spastic. At the end of the session he went to his mother and touched her breasts for comfort.
G was asymptomatic over the summer months, but again had an autumnal asthmatic attack following a bout of bronchitis. This episode was treated with inhalant medication and he did not require steroids.
In the next session G had a productive cough and his chest was held in inspiration. He was unable to cry because of his cough, and I instructed the mother to return with him when the bronchitis subsided.
When I saw him again three weeks later, his cough had resolved and his chest was clear to auscultation. Mobilization of his chest produced strong, angry crying and with this his respiratory excursions became fuller.
He was symptom-free for eleven months when, following an upper respiratory tract infection, he had a bout of asthma which was successfully treated with a single dose of steroids and an inhaler.
In the session following this episode G appeared visibly angry. His jaw was clenched and he held on tightly to his mother. Mobilization of his jaw produced angry crying accompanied by clonisms of his entire body. In one of his last sessions, although appearing angry at his mother, he clung to her. Mobilizing his jaw and paraspinal muscles again produced angry crying.
G is now four-and-a-half-years-old and in the oedipal phase. He is currently not in need of medication, and pulmonary function tests done one year after termination of therapy were within normal limits. This child was seen for sixteen sessions.
Three cases of medical orgone therapy of children are presented to illustrate how armor formation in young children can be effectively treated and eliminated. In all three cases the development of symptoms was the result of an interference in the child’s develop- ment. In the first case a disturbance occurred in the process of separation and individuation during the oral phase. In the second case the child reacted to an interference in the gratification of his oral needs and impulses by holding back to the point of almost complete developmental arrest. The third case illustrates the treatment of a somatic biopathy in a child, the symptoms of which appeared after sudden cessation of breast-feeding. As a result of early, effective therapeutic intervention, the beneficial effects of medical orgone therapy in these cases were both rapid and dramatic.