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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 63, Number 8 (Dec. 1961)

Andreopoulos, Ed
Karl Menninger, M.D.--a profile,   pp. 22-[25]


Page 23


Cornell Medical School, he gave up
tempting offers in the East to return to
Topeka to join the partnership. Other
doctors came later.
   From this modest start has grown
The Menninger Foundation with its
hospitals for adults and children and
outpatient services. Today it has nearly
700 employees, and an annual budget
of $5,000,000. Its announced purpose is
to treat psychiatric patients, to train
psychiatrists and other mental health
specialists, to do research in mental ill-
ness, and to find better methods of pre-
venting it. The Menninger School of
Psychiatry enrolls more than 100 physi-
clans in its three- and five-year programs
of psychiatric training.
   When the Menninger Clinic began,
few people had ever heard of psychiatry.
Doctor Karl soon realized that'if he
were to implement Doctor Southard's
dream he would have to educate the
public. He began to lecture and to
write. In 1930 he published The Hu-
man Mind, perhaps one of the most
popular books on psychiatry ever
written. He began to study man's de-
structiveness, particularly his self-
destructiveness, and wrote about it in
Man Against Himself. He recognized
Love as the reason for hope for man
and used it as the theme for another
book, Love Against Hate. Subsequently,
these books formed the background
philosophy of the clinical work of the
Foundation   and have been      supple-
mented by the Manual of Psychiatric
Case Study and the Guide to Psychi-
atric Books which appeared in the early
1950's. His most recent books are The
Theory of Psychoanalytic Technique,
published in 1958, and A Psychiatrist's
World, his selected writings published
in 1959.
   In 1945, Doctor Karl worked with
General Omar Bradley, General Paul
Hawley, and Dr. Daniel Blaine in the
organization of a psychiatric training
program for the Veterans Administra-
tion. Winter General Army Hospital in
Topeka was converted into the Topeka
Veterans Administration Hospital, a pi-
lot training institution. Doctor Karl
served as manager of the hospital for
several years, and since then has con-
tinued his affiliation.
   Later, when Kansans saw the results
of the Foundation program at the Vet-
erans Administration Hospital, they de-
Wisconsin Alumnus, December, 1961
manded from their legislators funds to
reform the state hospitals which were
in bad shape. So he partially left his ad-
ministrative position with the Veterans
Administration to become chief con-
sultant to the state hospitals of Kansas.
Today, the work of the Foundation,
coupled with the enlightened programs
of the Kansas state hospital system and
the Veterans Administration, has be-
come a national inspiration for what can
be done in the field of mental health
training, treatment and research.
  At sixty-eight, Doctor Karl looks at
least ten years younger than he is. He is
pungent and curious. His manner of re-
ceiving someone is at first deliberate.
His bright eyes survey the visitor with
deal with the revised formulation of the
nature of mental illness and the most
useful ways of viewing it from the
standpoint of effective treatment.
  "Our conception of the role of psy-
chiatric hospitals is not confinement," he
says. "We think they are places to get
well in, places in which to be treated,
places in which to learn to understand
one's self, to learn how to live.
   "It may strike you as odd for me to
call psychiatry learning how to live, but
all you have-to do to realize how many
people don't know how to live is to
look about you. One out of every twelve
children born in this country goes to a
mental hospital some time during his
life. . . . One out of every two patients
Dr. Menninger lectures to students at the Menninger Foundation.
a curious mixture of patience, reserved
judgment, and curiosity. When he be-
gins to talk, slowly at first, the words
roll and bounce. He chooses words,
even in conversation, as a lapidary sets
gems. He loves to talk when his visitor
is interesting, and  is a formidable
phrase maker. In a short talk I had with
him once, he used at least one word
I had never heard before, "do-badder,"
and invented one phrase-'"I am preju-
diced against prejudice against preju-
dice." His talk is so interesting, so full
of balance and antithesis, that one longs
for a secret dictaphone to take it down.
  But Doctor Karl can listen, too--that
is, if one has something to say. And
good listening is, in a way, the basis
for good conversation. He often asks
more questions than he answers.
   His present studies and publications
going to a doctor or to a general hos-
pital for what he calls a physical illness
is suffering from a condition which is
partly mental. There are about three-
quarters of a million patients confined
in psychiatric hospitals. It costs us more
than three billion dollars a year in tax
funds just to take care of these patients
as inadequately as we do now. All this
is to say nothing about crime and van-
dalism, and juvenile delinquency and
industrial sabotage and absenteeism and
drunkenness and divorce, all of which
we psychiatrists regard as evidence of
not knowing how to live very well."
  'When one attempts to list Doctor
Karl's qualities, the first item to come to
mind is, perhaps, imagination. He is
largely responsible for the evolution of
The Menninger Foundation as one of
its chief architects. Associated with his
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