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An Iatrogenic Ocular Hook
Richard Schwartzman, D.O.*
Reprinted from the Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 18 No. 1
The American College of Orgonomy

Successful progress with orgone therapy requires that the body's armoring be removed in a correct and orderly fashion to allow a freer flow of energy. Feelings of aliveness with an increasing sense of well-being and better functioning come about gradually. Over time, more and more energy is tolerated, and the individual accustoms himself to the movement and to the increasing perception of emotion.

To proceed properly a diagnosis is essential; it gives the therapist an orientation and points treatment in the right direction, both characteranalytically and biophysically. The case described below is an example of an iatrogenically-produced hook in a schizophrenic brought about by an incorrect technique consistently applied. In relatively few sessions an altered and markedly disordered energy flow was elicited; one that will not easily be corrected.

The schizophrenic biopathy as described by Reich has as its cause the ocular blocking in the first days of life. E. F. Baker's addition of the ocular stage to character development has made the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia more understandable. In order to proceed correctly once the diagnosis has been made, the ocular and, secondarily, the cervical segment become the major focus of biophysical work. Additionally, other areas of armor become the focus of attention in accordance with the needs of each individual. However, one never loses sight of the head and throat segments no matter how far along treatment has progressed. The schizophrenic characteristically shows a contraction through the entire ocular segment affecting not only the distance receptors of vision and hearing but also the brain parenchyrna itself including the vegetative centers that regulate respiration. As a result the chest is soft and respiratory excursions are shallow, keeping sensation at a minimum and the perception of sensation below the patient's threshold. An increase in respiration must occur gradually, with the patient sustaining contact and with the release of emotions through the eyes. Forcing deep respiration without the eye work can only compel the patient to defend against the resulting unwanted sensations. The unhappy sequela of such a maneuver may, be a hook described by Baker (1) as, "a block that for some reason, either in its development or in a particular significance to the individual, is particularly difficult if not impossible to overcome."

Schizophrenics may be at greater risk for an iatrogenically - produced hook because their chest is soft and easily compressible. When this necessary defense is prematurely broken down, the energy can only funnel down to the pelvic segment while the ocular segment remains blocked. A chaotic situation results. The patient indeed feels a great deal with this approach and that quite a bit is happening in each session, but fails to receive the correct and necessary energetic restructuring that leads to increasing health and functioning.

The patient is a 29-year old, separated, male Caucasian, a native of California, with a degree in chemical engineering. He had initially sought treatment with another therapist because of "depression" and an inability to sustain work. He felt that his initial treatment was helpful in improving his work function and capacity to feel. However, he failed to develop a feeling of well-being and his anxiety and agitation were more than he could bear. He had undergone a total of 150 sessions over a five-year period. He began therapy with me after a hiatus of three years. His chief complaints now were great anxiety, a feeling of urgency, and a sensation that "10,000 volts were bursting inside me." In addition, he felt a coldness deep within his body, especially in the pelvic area and specifically in the penis, bladder, and buttocks. He also felt awkward and unable to move naturally and had a fear of things foreign, especially travel abroad. He was handling his anxiety by eating during the day and drinking too much in the evening.

Past history revealed a frightened and lonely child, energetic and lively until the age of 6, but then isolated, awkward, and shy as an adolescent. His parents were distant and allowed little emotional expression; his mother was fearful and unsupportive while his father was compulsive and resigned. He grew up in an emotional desert with no one to comfort and support him. His strong drive and native intelligence enabled him to complete his university studies but emotionally he was quite crippled.

Prior to therapy he had occasionally hallucinated hearing his name called when no one was there. Medical history was essentially negative but systems review revealed multiple, annoying somatic difficulties including frequent throat infections, occasional dizziness with flushing n the face, shortness of breath, gas pains, constipation, and an oc-casional hemorrhoid. He also complained of pain and stiffness in his extremities and difficulty micturating especially when cold. He was unable to relax even in his sleep and felt unrested after a full night's sleep.

Biophysical examination revealed a 5'6", 160-pound man. His ocular segment was the most heavily armored, his pupils were moderately dilated and he had a panicked expression but no subjective feelings of fright. The forehead was flattened. His scalp musculature was tense and tender, but quite moveable; the sub-occipital musculature was very tender to deep pressure. The oral and cervical segments were moderately armored. The thorax was soft and offered no resistance to compression. The diaphragm did not balloon on expiration and he was able to elicit a gag reflex. The abdominal musculature was only slightly tense and the pelvis offered little resistance to passive movement. The musculature of the thighs and calves was well developed but painful to deep pressure. These muscle masses had a "doughy" consistency as did the scalp musculature, especially in the sub-occipital region.

The patient's first exhalation on the couch produced a complete collapse of the thoracic segment, which triggered twitching and irregular movements that rippled through the chest and abdominal musculature and down the arms and into the hands. Continued breathing intensified these movements and the motion became athethoid. The involuntary movements then spread upward and the face began to twitch while the pupils became fixed and dilated. Each breath produced an increase and spread of these writhing movements and the pelvic reflex appeared. Within one minute he was writhing and twitching, completely out of contact; when told to shout out he closed his eyes, threw his head from side to side, and began to hit and kick in a random and uncoordinated fashion. A diagnosis of catatonic schizophrenia with a hook was made, based upon his history, past functioning, and biophysical picture.

To correct this disorganized energy flow I began by focusing on the ocular and cervical segments in order to reduce the movement of energy into the pelvis, and to encourage resistance caudad by promoting holding in the musculature of the lower segments. Vigorous work on the lower extremities was also done to pull energy downward and release it from the legs where it had accumulated. The patient instructed to breathe through gently while keeping his eyes in contact and to consciously prevent as best he could any movement in his body. Crossing his legs further helped quell any twitching or writhing movements. Quickly his face became tense and his eyes angry and fixed at which point he was told to yell and hit forcefully while staying in contact. This partially relieved the movements coursing through his body and upper limbs and led to a relaxation of his face and hands as well. Work was directed to the forehead and occiput, concomitantly keeping him in contact through his eyes so as not to allow him to go off into a blind rage. The spasms that quickly developed in his buttocks, thighs, and calves were relieved with direct somatic work, and this led to vigorous kicking, followed by an overall feeling of expansion and well-being. Returning to the ocular segment I had him wrinkle his forehead and move his scalp muscles against the resistance of my hand, again with his eyes in contact and focused; this relieved further tension in his head and his feeling that he had a tight band encircling his forehead.

By the end of the third session he felt "fuller" with more energy moving to the periphery. Subsequent treatment has focused on getting him to rage without going off in his eyes; alleviating the holding in the first three segments; and reducing energy flow through the organism as a whole, while promoting rearmoring below as the bio-system begins to be capable of holding the charge. He feels sensations somewhat more to the periphery now and the shock-like jolts down the center of his organism are diminished. He was advised to begin jogging and especially to enjoy stamping the ground as he runs; also to mobilize his head segment by eye-tracking a penlight while circling his eyes and stretching his eye muscles.

It took 50 to 80 sessions of the previous therapy to produce this chaotic situation; one can only speculate as to what extent restructuring is possible or if it is even possible. The technical errors here were many, The patient may have been misdiagnosed or, if diagnosed correctly, the significance of the ocular block was not appreciated. The therapist took a routine approach, vigorously compressing the chest, pushing the shoulders down, and inducing a premature pelvic reflex. Apparently no characteranalytic techniques were employed.

A case illustrating induction of a hook in a catatonic schizophrenic patient has been presented. The short circuit of energy produced in this patient was the result of repetitive compression of the chest and pushing down on the shoulders with little attention paid to the ocular segment where the armoring was predominant. This produced rapid "results", much more quickly than a cautious and methodical approach of de-armoring from the head down. The patient developed unbearable shock-like charges shooting through his entire organism. The initial complaint of immobility and lack of sensation were traded for unbearable surges of energy that he could little tolerate, with the resultant formation of an ocular hook. To what extent such a condition is reversible and what the long-term consequences might be if it were left untreated remain matters of speculation.

* Medical Orgonomist Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. -Assistant Professor, Department of Mental Health Sciences, Hahnemann University Hospital of Philadelphia. Inpatient Medical Dirtctor, Hahnemann Mental Health Services Division, Philadelphia Prison System.


1. Baker, E. F.: Man in the Trap. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1967.

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