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The Menninger Sanitarium (1920s -- 1940s) | NCP-LA

Name: The Menninger Sanitarium (1920s -- 1940s)

Historical Note:

In 1925 the Menninger Family established  the Menninger Sanitarium and Psychiatric Hospital, a facility designed to apply group medical practice to psychiatric patients. The two concepts should laid the foundation for mental and organic treatment.

1. The psychoanalytic understanding of behavior as applied to the treatment of hospitalized patients;

2 The use of social environment of the hospital as an adjunct therapy;

Thus, in the Menningers' attempt to merge the psychiatric treatment of their patients with the local  environment, all members  of the clinc's  staff -- nurses, therapists, orderlies and even houskeepers became an attentive and helpful part of the patients's milieu. From the onset psychiatric research was an important part of the Menningers' approach. The Menningers' care and treatment of the mentally ill began to draw scientists interested in their ideas and eager to study at the hospital.

The Menningers' philosophy that psychiatry is a legitmate science and that the difference between  a "normal" individual and a person with a mental illness is but a matter of degree was expounded in Karl Menninger's first book, The Human Mind published in 1930. In 1931 the Menninger Sanitarium became the first institution to gain approval as a training facility for nurses specializing in psychiatric care and in 1933 it opened a neuropsychiatric residency program for physicians.

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