Thomas Hora was born on January 25, 1914 in Northern Hungary. He was educated in Budapest and Prague, receiving medical degrees from Royal Hungarian University, Budapest in 1942 and from Charles University, Carlsbad, Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1945. He was trained in surgery at Budapest General Hospital and Carlsbad City Hospital in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia. He worked as a surgeon until he discovered that patient recovery from surgery depended more on the patient’s attitude than on the procedure that had been performed. That reoriented him toward psychiatry. In 1944, he married Madeleine Ernyei, a fellow medical student, who became his “beloved companion” until her death in 1992.
In 1945, Thomas and Madeleine Hora emigrated to the United States. After meeting the standards required by U.S. laws to qualify him as a medical doctor, Dr. Hora continued his psychoanalytic training at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in New York City. In 1952, he established private practices in New York City and in Bedford Village, New York. For the next fifteen years, he was active in professional psychiatric circles in the U.S. and in Europe, and was invited to deliver over forty lectures and to contribute many articles for medical journals. Dr. Hora once said that hearing Carl Jung speak at a conference in the 1950s had a profound impact on his life and work, and he was inspired to look beyond the conventional forms of treatment which did not always bring healing. In 1958, in recognition of his original contributions to the field, he received the Karen Horney Award for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. From this point Dr. Hora was fully engaged in a spiritual quest and teaching.
His journey led him to study the ancient and modern works of various philosophers and teachers, as he found wisdom in Zen, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity. In addition to contemplating the literature of the world’s great religions, Dr. Hora was interested in the ideas of Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Heidegger, Jung, Husserl, Teilhard de Chardin, Kierkegaard, D. T. Suzuki, Mary Baker Eddy, Joel Goldsmith and Martin Buber. He spoke of meeting with Alan Watts and a Japanese Zen master to ask questions and gain insights. Dr. Hora’s appreciation of the healing work and teachings of Jesus became a cornerstone of the Metapsychiatric discipline.
By 1967, Dr. Hora had come to realize that there can be no true healing without God. He withdrew from participation in professional societies, to focus his time and attention on responding to those who came to him with their suffering. In his own words: “All problems are psychological, and all solutions are spiritual.” Essentially, he became a “physician of the soul.” Dr. Hora’s private counseling sessions and classes were infused with wisdom, clarity, compassion and laughter. Dr. Hora was actively engaged in his work until shortly before his death on October 30, 1995.
Thomas Hora described Metapsychiatry in the following way:
“… We have built a new road which is neither religious, nor materially scientific, nor political. We have come to understand it as an epistemological method of truth realization. Metapsychiatry came into the world to put soul into psychiatry and to breathe the life of Spirit into the ‘valley of dry bones.’”
It was Thomas Hora’s sincere hope that what he learned about the real nature of our difficulties and problems, and what constitutes healing and wholeness, would be a blessing to the lives of those who are receptive.