Menninger, Karl

Menninger, Karl (Augustus)

(1893–1990) psychiatrist; born in Topeka, Kans. After receiving his medical degree from Harvard Medical School (1917), he worked for two years at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. In 1919, he returned to Topeka and cofounded the Menninger Diagnostic Clinic (1920) with his father, Charles Frederick Menninger, who had become convinced of the advantages of group medical practice after visiting the Mayo Clinic (1908). At first practicing conventional medicine, Karl's training and interest led him to treat emotional problems. When his brother William received his medical degree, the two cofounded the Menninger Sanitarium and Psychopathic Hospital (1925). The Menningers pioneered intensive milieu therapy, the use of the hospital's social environment as a key part of the therapeutic process. In his best-selling book, The Human Mind (1930), Karl Menninger put forward the position that the difference between normality and mental illness was only one of degree. In other books—such as Man Against Himself (1938) and The Crime of Punishment (1968)—he argued for a humane approach to most of people's failings; he would have a major impact on the reform of Kansas's and other state's mental health programs and he would serve as an adviser to many federal agencies. Although not a strict Freudian, he borrowed some of Freud's ideas for his own eclectic approach to mental illness. In 1931, the Menninger Sanitarium became the first institution licensed to train psychiatric nurses, and in 1933 opened a psychiatric residency program for physicians. In 1941 the family founded the Menninger Foundation, which Karl headed until his death.
Full browser ?