Charles Konia, M.D.
Reprinted from the Journal of Orgomomy Vol. 39 No. 1
The American College of Orgonomy
During the 1960s, the psychiatric profession began to breakdown. Three contributing factors were responsible:
• The failure to understand the underlying cause of psychiatric illness and from this lack of knowledge a resultant nosology that was inconsistent and often inaccurate. Psychiatrists from different schools of thought often came away with different diagnostic conclusions for the same patient.
• Insufficient understanding of the therapeutic technique necessary to psychiatric practice, combined with a lack of diagnostic reliability, led to confusion and doubt as to the correct course and very goal of therapy.
• Uncertainty as to an objective standard of emotional health allowed homosexual activists to argue that homosexuality is not a pathological condition. As a result, political correctness prevailed and homosexuality was removed from the official listing of mental disorders.
This crisis forty years ago has degraded psychiatry. It was but part of a wider social phenomenon, the transformation of society from authoritarian to antiauthoritarian. The transformation was accomplished by the widespread breakthrough of impulses of hatred toward all father figures. Every social institution—the Establishment—was challenged, from the government, military, and police to schools and universities. Under relentless assault, many parents lost the will to exert their natural and legitimate authority.
In psychiatry this hatred was directed most strongly against the authority of the father of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud, his teachings and his followers. In the intervening decades one book after another appeared attacking Freud and his theories. The central psychoanalytic premise consistently rejected was that conflicts originate from within the individual and these unresolved conflicts, not the authorities in society, are responsible for psychiatric illness. Nothing productive, certainly no advance in understanding the cause and treatment of psychiatric illness, ever came out of these attacks. In the absence of a coherent, unifying understanding of the origin of psychiatric illness, the psychiatric profession turned its attention to symptoms, to the multitude of manifestations that human emotional disorders exhibit, to establish a diagnosis. This resulted in the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) which remains the official listing of all mental diseases recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
It was believed that with this new descriptive way of classifying mental illness the problem of diagnostic reliability would be solved. By standardizing definitions and providing a clear set of criteria for each and every psychiatric disorder and condition it was believed that psychiatrists would be able to arrive at the same diagnosis. However, this attempt at standardization complicated matters and resulted in an explosion of diagnostic categories, from “academic skills disorder” to “pathological gambling,” and several subsequent revisions of the DSM have only expanded the list of variations and manifestations of possible emotional disorders. As could have been expected, the degree of reliability using the new set of criteria in clinical practice proved to be no better than the old, and in some cases was worse. The cause is two fold: The principles of biological orgone energy remain unknown—there is no understanding of etiology connecting any of rhe DSM diagnoses—and, the character structure of the psychiatrist is never considered to be relevant. In point of fact, however, the manner in which symptoms are interpreted and evaluated is a function of the psychiatrist’s character structure. To the degree that the perceptual apparatus of the psychiatrist is distorted by armor, the individual is unable to accurately observe and evaluate the patient’s signs and symptoms of illness.
Further destructive consequences followed from the shift to a symptom-based method of diagnosis. One of the most deadly has been the “medicalization” of psychiatric practice. By focusing on symptoms, and not on the underlying emotional condition of the patient, it came to be believed by most psychiatrists that pharmaceuticals could be used to eliminate every disturbing symptom. Not only was this expectation based on a skewed, narrow view of the human organism, but it also did not materialize, and often backfired. These psychotropic chemical substances all have side effects, some quite disturbing, that complicate the clinical picture and often result in even more distressing symptoms than originally experienced by the patient. For example, the SSRIs, originally used as antidepressants and now prescribed for an increasing number of conditions and symptoms, produce emotional “numbing” and interfere with and deaden sexual function.
Furthermore, the function of the therapist became split and now is routinely divided between two individuals: The psychiatrist is the dispenser of medication and the non-physician psychotherapist is responsible for treating the patient’s emotional problems. The authority of the psychiatrist was undermined, the physician-patient relationship effectively destroyed, and the professional standing of the physician-psychiatrist significantly diminished—currently, in the United States, upwards of 75% of all psychotropic medication prescriptions are written by non-psychiatric physicians.
In contrast, the American College of Orgonomy continues to adhere to a functional energetic understanding of sickness and health. It remains committed to treatment that has as its focus the prevention and removal of armoring—the underlying cause of emotional disturbance.