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The voices of Europe. Milton mair American author and lecturer broadcaster and professor of social research from the University of Frankfurt has been interviewing Europeans who are alive and sensitive to the tragedian dilemma of the conditions that surround them. People who can help us to understand their own feelings and their own aspirations. Here is Milton Mayer. In 1948 the World Federation for mental health was established here in London representing 69 professional societies in 33 countries. And Dr. John Rawlings Reese one of England's most distinguished psychiatry lists was elected its first president. He is now its director. Dr Reese was a member of the staff of the Tavistock psychiatric clinic
in London from its beginning in 1920 and he was its director from 1932 until the Second World War in which he served as a senior consulting psychologist with the British Army. How am I doctor. Well I should say you know very well because those who have been most excellent lunch go role now apart from the fact that my having an excellent lunch may or may not have very subtle implications for a psychiatry list I don't really mean personally I'm speaking of myself as modern me. Am I in pretty good shape. Or is the pace of the so-called civilized world in which I live doing me in.
Am I suffering from psychiatric disorder. To a greater extent than the simple folk in our one sitting under a banana tree waiting for the bananas to drop. Well that's a difficult question you're really asking about what's called the incidence of mental disturbance or psychiatric disorder and we know remarkably little about that. Unfortunately we know from certain surveys that have been made really careful and bendable surveys that some 33 percent of all the sickness which bedevils us is due to emotional causes that such as AIDS psychiatric. We know that from surveys that have been made for example in this country from some surveys that have been made in your country.
Apart from that we know very little. We have always wanted to know what did happen in countries like Okinawa. Did people really understand the Okinawans well enough to be quite sure about the facts. The Japanese the Thai Landers and Indians and other people tell us when they have experience of working in western cultures and civilizations they tell us of the incidence of these illnesses in their own countries is approximately the same. I have wanted for a very long time and have tried to urge people to make adequate surveys in various countries and give us some facts on which we can go. We want to know for example what happens in a Catholic country a purely Catholic country. Is there a difference between that of a Protestant country is a real a serious difference not only in the types of actual mental
breakdown but in the types of the mind that is all of those the neuroses between India and the United States of this country Great Britain. We just don't know. Present and with one of the things that we in the World Federation of Mental Health are always trying to stimulate. You should be more adequate work on that field. We do know of course that. Economic differences make a considerable burden sort of a part in the incidence of these disorders. You see differences between the incidence of illness amongst the very poor amongst the very rich. But I doubt if these are very significant. I think that the poor man as a rule hasn't got the facilities for treatment and so doesn't go sick whereas the rich man often has it I'm very skeptical of about there being any fundamental
difference between economic groups. It's quite certain that where you speed life up there you are likely to get more tension and more anxiety and then hangs out who will hit on the deep underlying anxiety that all of us have in our Searles. And so you may get more break down under United Nations at the present time and on the point for Truman for planning the Colombo Plan all sorts of people are being sent out in all kinds of subjects to give technical advice to less developed countries as well. It's been realized for some time that you can have all kinds of technological developments which improve the economy of a country but it may in fact do quite a lot of harm to the country's health and stirred up social unrest as well which is another aspect of mental ill health. It would take to
build factories and take the mothers to work when the work in factories. Then what's going to happen to the children that they leave at home. Just take one of the simplest of all examples and so we don't know the answer to the question you were asked about. It is an extremely important one and one which we need a lot more thought and work. Dr Reese is a psychiatric disorder on the rise in the world and if it is cry or. Are we just discovering something that was there all the time. We we tell one another that in the good old days great grandmother was much too busy too much too busy cleaning and mending and cooking for a family of eight or ten. Much too busy to have a nervous breakdown and the great grandfather was too tough and at night he was too tired to afford to
be sleepless. Well that sounds all right and it's very common lisp said. I don't know that any evidence for it at all. We have a good view of recent evidence that we had in this country during World War Two because the incidents of. Then the numbers of people who had attended psychiatric clinics to get help went down quite notably and that for a very simple reason that everybody was in fact too busy either watching or humping shell holes of civil defense of some kind or making bandages or running houses or doing something looking after evacuees. They were too busy to go sick they were too busy to bother and think about themselves because clearly if you have got something bigger than yourself or more important than yourself to think about you are able for the time being to dismiss anxieties of a personal kind and so clearly
neurosis appears to go into the background. Back in 17 33 and I will discuss doctor called up to Jones chain wrote a book which he called the English melody which was written in the language of that time. But he was describing quite clearly all the neurotic disorders and he said that this is all which was cold he called the English melody affected as a minimum 30 percent of all what he called People of Quality in Great Britain. Dr. Reese is this mental disorder so widespread that we are not able to cope with it in terms of personnel and facilities. Yes I think the answer to that undoubtedly is who it is so widespread that we can't
cope. We cannot ever hope to provide treatment for everybody who is sick. For those who have real mental breakdowns and go into mental hospitals yes of course we can cope. But that only 6 percent or thereabouts of the all the psychiatric disorders that people have neuroses will have character disorders. Many of the delinquents the people with personality deviations of various cottons the people whose anxiety showed itself in social unrest and this sort of thing. These people we cannot hope to cope with by psychiatric or any other kind of direct treatment. We are bound to come to prevention. There are some very significant facts were produced as I'm sure you would know. With the expert committee report of the World Health Organisation in Geneva.
They pointed out that in two of our neighbor countries all countries are our neighbors these days in the Indian continent and in China. Things are extremely difficult in India and Pakistan together there are some 400 million persons and there are. No need to be some seven to psychiatrists and some 20000 so-called psychiatric hospital beds in China which has four hundred and fifty million people. The psychiatrists of those we know and 2000 psychiatric beds. Then Dr Reese. If as it seems clear we shall not be able to cope with psychiatric disorder and we must turn our guns on prevention instead. We're faced with my last question how do we prevent psychiatric disorder and don't we have to know its causes.
But we certainly do. And that is again another point to which we are very ignorant. We know a good deal a great deal that is common sense. We know a good deal about the use of authority and how children should be brought up and should not be brought up. We know something about the hit reality of mental illness. Something about the physiological causes. And a good deal an increasing amount about the emotional and psychological factors. But the actual basi say you basic reasons why people grow up happy and well-adjusted able to get on with their families with their neighbors with the world at large and while others don't. These things are matters of which we know comparatively little. We are at the present moment in this generation which are concerned holding a seminar for three weeks of teachers of teachers high level people who are all
discussing the first two years of life the kind of factors that go to their upbringing and rearing our small children to discover how important separation to the mother the sense of insecurity that N-number love to an adopted child may get the various factors in upbringing in different cultures how all these things give rise to the development of a good sound personality or an uncertain personality set up in the treatment of those who are ill is a matter for the doctor. But prevention is a matter for something much more than doctors a matter for a team. And that's why we have emphasized all along that we want the educationalists and the clergy. We want the sociologists and the anthropologists the psychologists all in the citizens. Just a question for psychiatrists and for everybody thought of the ordinary intelligent man and woman.
Everyone has a contribution to make to this cause. Better just mint and greater happiness in the home and in the community is going to lead us on eventually to solving some of the problems of the various sick world. Is there one single contribution Dr. release to the solution of the problem to the in the field of prevention of psychiatric disorder that the ordinary individual can make. I think it will last for one thing I think it is that we should always be trying to be understanding and tolerant of sickness that he should try to understand what is going wrong in his own home. Home is only environment the office the factory and try if he can put it right. In that way we could learn something about prevention. And now Dr. Reese what would in your view be a significant contribution. In terms of psychiatric
disorder and its prevention to the peace of the world. Well that's a terrible question to ask anybody in a few seconds. I suppose that I've I've put it like this. But if you're thinking in short term the next two years I would say the better selection of people in responsible positions whether in medicine penalties in national governments or international conferences and meetings. So you may have wise and sane and balanced people thinking in terms of long term prevention. Well there are many things where perhaps the most important thing of all may be the mothers really enjoy nursing their baby at the breast and give them a great sense of security so they should go up much more balanced people. Thank you very much Dr. Reese.
Milton Mayer has been interviewing Dr. John Rawlings Reese director of the World Federation for mental health in London and now in Vienna he interviews Dr. Hans Hoff. It would be impolite to say the least. To be in Vienna and not to obtain a psychiatric view of the world we live in in this city of Sigmund Freud the most distinguished member of the Vienna School. Of psychiatry and neurology is Dr. Hans Hoff. Whom I am interviewing today. Dr. Hoff. Is a Viennese himself trained at the University of Vienna in 1936. He was chief of the
polyclinic of that university and in 1938. He left Vienna. As who didn't who had a chance to and went first to Chicago to Cook County Hospital. And then to Baghdad as a professor of psychiatry and neurology until 1942 when he took up. A special mission for the United States Army in the Middle East. In 1945. He returned to the United States to the faculty of Columbia University and the staff of Presbyterian Hospital in New York and in 1949 he came back home to Vienna first as chief of the Rosen her neurological hospital. Then as professor and chief of the Neurological Institute of the University of Vienna. And he
now holds the chair of psychiatry and neurology in that university. Dr. Hoff. How was it that psychoanalysis happened to be born in Vienna. I believe fright lest is some of his time. The end of us in that time the center of a huge monarchy in which the different be different nation and creeds came to get here must the best man of these people new ideas came in. And one of these new ideas has been represented by fright and decide who live notices. Now. Dr. Hoff you have taught and studied in your field on three continents and. I'd like to know if
your experience has convinced you that psychological. Trends and patterns neuroses and psychoses develop in nations as well as in individuals. In American terms I would say is it possible. For a whole nation to go off its rocker. If you understand the expression. I understand that expression and I believe it is self. I believe that a nation can show the same trains of neurotic need. It's a single individual. It needn't be the question of new studies to find out. You do send notice of sucha ideological development. But many things has been done for instance by Margaret Mead who showed how Japanese an American. Development
in a different way and how their national trends are connected with their childhood and tak way of aid to creation. I saw that and see that only so by our young people there is a distinct crudeness in our mind and today's disillusionment in the ideas. I believe that has something to do. Do a house search boys have you are speaking of the young people of Austria. That's it that's what I do. You must think that this young peoples have been brought up in a distracted family addressed the idea of a firm a time I mean the Hitler period to destroy the family people Indian junk people need love. In their family and they need to family which is one of the basic of their education and development. Is that missing that will show itself
in the future it will show people without the idea of really rough for their neighbor. And very understanding of the value of a human being. Now this Dr. Hoff is an instance where politics developed a new psychological trend. You're speaking of the youth of Austria and the consequences of Hitlerism in their lives and their mental lives. Is it possible. For such trends to develop apart from politics as a consequence of the kind of culture in which persons live. I believe that's correct. I have seen that in two different countries. One is easy. The young be pretty nice yeah I would seen that door they look to do 10 cedis all maybe two thousand vs one hand down family life
sometimes just exactly the same as 2000 years ago. Now as I hand down modern brains brought to this country it's bad America and Great Britain. And so do you see a different kind of life if you scratch you and it seems to me quite obvious that such people become very uncertain and difficult to in their taking of life. And that product receded development of a lane full of nationalities. I believe that all of these companies I'm in danger to become their victim of any kind of ideas because they are so full of insecurity and I believe that insecurity is toast. My dad upbringing and that difficult and very different in a sense Doctor Hoff your exploding one very popular myth and that is that the mere fact of the antiquity of a culture
is an indication of the stability of its people. I do not think that is correct in that sense but I believe the Day tradition has some value in the kind of upbringing. I mean that of course it is important that's not too quick steps can be done without distain really must suffer. Has your American experience Dr. Hoff indicated any psychological trends in the culture of my country. I belief that a so and die I must say. Margaret Mead has sat written about that a great deal and I feel that he is an excellent way which is that. I have felt over the years and Dad was surprised how much anxiety and fear is among the young people in the United States in spite of this these are the thinks our present the young yet
good devil look to have every single what they need and still days of fear and anxiety the fear and anxiety is really no clothes but. I feel that is caused by a day of competition and ideal for the Cheeseman which is all of this to go forward and to try having factor in childhood early childhood of the American child. And the consequence of this sense of competition and achievement is the anxiety that was down. That's right. I feel that is I should be off because you can't believe it you can't say that is the only course nothing has seemed to close and you would miss some several causes which I come flowing on one idea and I think that is one of two causes. Lie down that you can try to endow married young people suffering sometimes from out of market underside. Dr. Hoff could you hypothetically suggest what
the psychological pattern of a collectivist culture and polity like Russia's might be the influence on the whole people of the development of communism. That's difficult to say because I have not know off hand experience and I do not know Russia and I do know that no value to a few Russian people. But I believe that their Russian people have been hostile I'm very backwards. If they're hungry and I had an I think which we only need to live like human be and then they have us some bro grass and yes progress is of course present and be perceived to have no houses. They have different scenes with Dad not before but that he would be a time where a set separate stand that is the chief and then I feel there is a new
artistic trend which is in order Slavic people. So far I know we overcome a collectivist and everybody lives only live connected probably was his own passion and freedom. Well now this conviction of yours doctor all that there is a high degree of individual ism in the Slavs ethnically speaking seems to explode another popular myth. That is embedded in our Say speaking of the Russian hards or the eastern hards or the eastern masses that we think that we Westerners have a sense of individual ism of individual dignity and individual meaning but that the people of Eastern Europe the people of Asia to go still further east are only masses or hearts of people without individuality.
May I tell you that I study a long time ago I had the Japanese stopped as a pupil of mine and he told me I can distinguish between a few white people. They look only to see him for me and we were astonished because one was colder and slim and the other was fat and short. I think if you see people forms if odd they look only the same but if you look more than and see the mirror then you see the different people I think it is nonsense to say Tao whole lots of Russian dour people just to say mystery they have to have children to have done modern Doubtfire does they love to hate Don't they have ordained you artistic Trent sesame and un-American have I think that sort of same so. But. I feel. That that idea does indeed I distinctly lengths are probably not visible in the present time. I always think that if people are hungry they don't care what they eat. They like
to eat and they had food. Me always to say. But if the beeper have enough to eat then day in do that you need a add Trent's come undersurface defeated and maybe the meat is not good to rely to may have better fruit so I doubt I'd like to have that should the Brits aren't so on. And I feel starch into the ranks are very strong. So far I know from my farmer friends in their so-called satellite countries they are such very strong individualistic transom to Slavic people. I don't believe that collectivism can stand if a different distinct stand that is teached. Thank you Dr R.. The program you have just heard has been made possible under a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. These programs are prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters in the interests of better international understanding.
This program was introduced by Norman McKee and this is the end E.B. tape network.
Voices of Europe
Dr. John Rawlings Rees and Dr. Hans Hoff
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Interviews with Dr. John Rawlings Rees and Dr. Hans Hoff about psychology and the mental well-being of Europeans in the mid-20th century.
Series Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
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Interviewee: Rees, John R. (John Rawlings), 1890-
Interviewee: Hoff, Hans
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-37 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:20
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Dr. John Rawlings Rees and Dr. Hans Hoff,” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Dr. John Rawlings Rees and Dr. Hans Hoff.” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Dr. John Rawlings Rees and Dr. Hans Hoff. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from