The Menninger Foundation was founded in 1919 by the Menninger family in Topeka, Kansas, and consists of a clinic, a sanatorium, and a school of psychiatry, all of which bear the Menninger name. In 2003, the Menninger Clinic moved to Houston. The foundation was started by Drs. Karl, Will, and Charles F. Menninger.
It represented the first group psychiatry practice. "We had a vision," Dr. C. F. Menninger said, "of a better kind of medicine and a better kind of world."
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- 1919: The Menninger Clinic was founded in Topeka, Kansas.
- 1925: The Menninger Sanitarium was founded.
- 1926: The Menninger Clinic established the Southard School for children. The school fostered treatment programs for children and adolescents that were recognized worldwide.
- 1930's: The Menningers expanded training programs for psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.
- 1941: The Menninger Foundation was established.
- 1946: The Menninger School of Psychiatry was established. It quickly became the largest training center in the country, driven by the country's demand for psychiatrists to treat military veterans.
- December 2002: Menninger announced its affiliation with Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital. The concept was that Menninger would perform treatment while Baylor would oversee research and education.
- June 2003: The Menninger Clinic moved from Topeka, Kansas to its present location in Houston, Texas.
- May 2012: The Menninger Clinic moved to its new location at 12301 S. Main St., Houston, Texas, 77035.
As of May 2012, The Menninger Clinic offers the following inpatient programs and services: Adolescent Treatment Program, a Professionals in Crisis Program (PIC), the Compass Program for Young Adults, the Comprehensive Psychiatric Assessment & Stabilization Program, an Assessments Service and the Hope Program for Adults.
Revolution in psychiatric education
The Menninger School of Psychiatry and the local Veterans Administration Hospital represented the center of a psychiatric education revolution. The Clinic and the School became the hub for training professionals in the bio-psycho-social approach. This approach integrated the foundations of medical, psychodynamic, developmental, and family systems to focus on the overall health of patients. For patients, this way of treatment attended to their physical, emotional, and social needs.
Dr. Otto Fleischmann, head of the psychoanalytic institute 1956 - 1963 was doing psychotherapy behind a one-way vision screen, in full view of all the students.
Dr. Karl Menninger's first book, The Human Mind (1930), became a bestseller and familiarized the American public with human behavior. Many Americans also read his subsequent books, including The Vital Balance, Man Against Himself and Love Against Hate.
Dr. Will Menninger made a major contribution to the field of psychiatry when he developed a system of hospital treatment known as milieu therapy. This approach involved a patient's total environment in treatment.
Dr. Will Menninger served as Chief of the Army Medical Corps' Psychiatric Division during World War II. Under his leadership, the Army reduced losses in personnel due to psychological impairment. In 1945, the Army promoted Dr. Will to brigadier general. After the war, Dr. Will lead a national revolution to reform state sanitariums.
In 1948, Time magazine featured Dr. Will on its cover, lauding him as "psychiatry’s U.S. sales manager."
At The Menninger Clinic, staff proceeded to launch new treatment approaches and open specialty programs.
The Menninger Foundation gained a reputation for intensive, individualized treatment, particularly for patients with complex or long-standing symptoms. The treatment approach was multidimensional, addressing a patient’s medical, psychological, and social needs. Numerous independent organizations recognized the Menninger Foundation as a world leader in psychiatric and behavioral health treatment.
Because of its excellent reputation, the Menninger Clinic became the mental health inpatient treatment center of choice for Hollywood stars and other celebrities. Among these were:
- Max Bemis
- Richard Carpenter
- Dorothy Dandridge
- Brett Favre
- Judy Garland
- Bill Hayward, son of actress, Margaret Sullavan, and producer, Leland Hayward
- Marilyn Monroe
- Gene Tierney
- Robert Walker
The Menninger Clinic remains one of the primary North American settings supporting psychodynamically informed research on clinical diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. Recently, efforts have been organized around the construct of mentalizing, a concept integrating research activities related to attachment, theory of mind, internal representations, and neuroscience.
In the 1960s the Menninger Clinic studied Swami Rama, a noted yogi, specifically investigating his ability to exercise voluntary control of bodily processes (such as heartbeat) which are normally considered non-voluntary (autonomous) and also the famous Yoga Nidra.
- Menninger Clinic: Adolescent Treatment Program (ATP)
- Menninger Clinic: Professionals in Crisis (PIC)
- Menninger Clinic: Compass Program for Young Adults
- Menninger Clinic: Comprehensive Psychiatric Assessment & Stabilization Program (CPAS)
- Menninger Clinic: Assessments
- Menninger Clinic: Hope Program for Adults
- Lawrence Jacob Friedman, Menninger: The Family and the Clinic, University Press of Kansas, 1992 (Reprint)
- Robert S. Wallerstein, Forty-two lives in treatment : a study of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy : the report of the Psychotherapy Research Project of the Menninger Foundation, 1954-1982, New York : Other Press, 2000
- Menninger Clinic official website
- Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
- The Topeka Capital Journal's in-depth coverage of Menninger leaving Topeka - index page
- U.S. News & World Report psychiatric hospital rankings
- Menninger Family Archives from Kansas State Historical Society
- Access Menninger photographs and documents on Kansas Memory, the Kansas State Historical Society's digital portal
- ERICA GOODE - Famed Psychiatric Clinic Abandons Prairie Home - New York Times Article 2003