History of WASP

The World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP) was founded in 1964 by Joshua Bierer of the U.K. and other like-minded people committed to the cause of social psychiatry. Initially, it was named as the International Congress of Social Psychiatry and at the 6th Congress (1974), it was renamed as the World Association of Social Psychiatry.

The purpose of WASP, as defined in the constitution, is as follows:

  • To study the nature of man and his cultures and the prevention and treatment of his vicissitudes and behavioral disorders.
  • To promote national and international collaboration among professionals and societies in fields related to Social Psychiatry.
  • To make the knowledge and practice of Social Psychiatry available to other sciences and to the public, and
  • To advance the whole health and wellbeing of humankind.

A seminal article on the history of the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP) was written in 2010 by Prof. A Guilherme Ferreira (Portugal), the 6th President of the association (1988-1992). The article traces the inception and the growth of the WASP over the years and is attached below.

The life of WASP from 1964 to 1992.

A. Guilherme Ferreira
President WASP (1988-1992)


The current President of the World Association of Social Psychiatry, Professor Driss Moussaoui, asked me to prepare a description of the early years of the Association, as I am the sole survivor among those who held office at the time.

When conducting the research that I naturally had to do to write these lines, it was both emotional and sad to re-­‐read the correspondence I exchanged with Jules Masserman, Vladimir and Visnja Hudolin, George and Vasso Vassiliou, Jack Carleton, J. L. Marti Tusquets, Pierre Jean, Yves Thobie, Louis Miller, Michel Avrouskine and many others who no longer belong to this world.

In this essay I have basically dealt with matters relating to the World Association, but it will come as no surprise that I have also touched on matters relating to the Mediterranean Association and, in particular, to events in Portugal that had a bearing on the World Association’s development.

If you would like to know how WASP was born, you could do no better than consult the autobiography “Joshua Bierer – man and personality”, published in Zagreb by Vladimir Hudolin on 19th October 1970. Bierer tells how the first International Congress of Social Psychiatry (as they were known at the time) was organized in London in 1964 and was a great success, as described in the leaflet that advertised the 2nd Congress. Nonetheless Bierer tells us that he found himself in a minority on the Committee set up by the Congress to create an International Association and so he decided to set up the British Association for Social Psychiatry.

Indeed as early as 1954 he started publishing the International Journal of Social Psychiatry and later the British Journal of Social Psychiatry. In 1969, Bierer, with the support of the British Association for Social Psychiatry, organized the 2nd International Congress of Social Psychiatry, whose theme was “Sick Society”, at which he was the Chairman (it seems he particularly favored this title)and Professor Linus Pauling was President, Sir Julian Huxley Honorary President and Walter Schindler Vice-­‐Chairman. All of them were from the United Kingdom.

However at the same time he organized the International Association for Social Psychiatry, setting aside the post of Chairman, a kind of Executive President, for himself and bestowing the office of President on Jules Masserman. At the time J. Masserman was a commanding figure in American psychiatry. He had been trained in psychotherapy by Adolf Mayer and in psychoanalysis by Franz Alexander, both leading figures in their fields. In their “Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry”, Kaplan and Saddock believe he devised a new, positive conception, a new theory: the biodynamic approach. He would later found the American Association for Social Psychiatry as a branch of the World Association and would appear on the respective roster with this title (Founder).

Bierer was also an eminent figure in Psychiatry and especially in Social Psychiatry. In his book published jointly with Evans, he states he created three types of self-­‐governed institutions, social therapy clubs, day hospitals (in the sense of institutions of this type) and self-­‐governed therapeutic community hostels. Therefore his work favored institutions that functioned in that manner.

In the book edited by Bellak in 1964, “Handbook of Community Psychiatry”, Bierer wrote a chapter on “the Marlborough experiment” (dedicated to his concept of how a day hospital should operate), in which he also alludes to his work with social therapeutic clubs (“the Runwell experiment”).

In his own words, his life’s work was guided by the following four principles:

  1. Mental illness as such does not exist
  2. Psychiatric hospitals should be closed and be replaced by other structures
  3. The same should happen to prisons
  4. Because criminals as such do not exist.

He was a clear supporter of the self-­‐management concept (Mental Health Institutions should be managed by the patients), which he always claimed, and was very close to the points of view defended later by the anti-­‐psychiatry school.

The first leadership of the IASP, International Association for Social Psychiatry, was completed with the electing of a secretary and a treasurer, Henry Mayer and M.G.Hanison respectively. They were both from the United Kingdom and the choice was clearly inspired by Bierer. At the same time an International Council was set up which included some of the biggest names in World Psychiatry, the majority of whom worked at the interface with the social sciences, people such as H. Baruk (France), J. Battegay (Switzerland), L. Hurst (South Africa), E. Freeman (USA), Lopez Ibor (Spain), C. Seguin (Peru), Shipkwensky (Bulgaria), G. Sturup (Denmark), Pichon-­‐Rivière (Argentina), among others.

The 2ndCongress ran from the 4th to 8thSeptember 1969 and was once again held in London. It was followed by two slightly less appealing conferences, one on self-­‐governed intervention models, which included the new rising star in Social Psychiatry, Vladimir Hudolin (Yugoslavia), who gave a speech on “Alcoholics’ clubs” and another on “Day hospitals and community services”. This conference highlighted the role of David Cark, a leading figure in the therapeutic communities movement and author of a book on Administrative Psychiatry, which was in vogue at the time and call the attention to a young Czech Psychiatry, who would have a distinguished career and would later be an important figure in the Prague Spring, Fernando Knobloch.

That was the first International Congress for Social Psychiatry that I attended. At the time there was a movement that rejected the Psychiatric Hospital and was looking to find new forms of therapy, inspired on the one hand by psychotherapy concepts with psychoanalytical roots, and on the other hand by the community therapy movements of Maxwell Jones and French Institutional Psychotherapy. However the backdrop was always Social Psychiatry concepts and its bio-­‐psycho-­‐social model and its preventive psychiatry approach aimed at promoting Mental Health. In this context, the 1st National Psychiatry Meeting was held in Oporto in that year, organized by the Portuguese Mental Health League, at which the question of reorganizing psychiatric services was discussed. I took part in the conference and related my personal experience of teamwork and based my presentation on the historic development of psychiatry. I saw it as the search for a new preventive psychiatric model, whose final goal would be the promotion of Mental Health.

For this reason, myself and some colleagues, including Afonso Ribeiro, who also dedicated a large part of his life to that type of work, decided to get close to the corresponding international Social Psychiatry movement, see what it had to offer and from there devise our own solutions.

To this end we decided to set up a Social Psychiatry Section in Portugal, within the Portuguese Society of Neurology and Psychiatry (at that time for administrative and social reasons it would have been very difficult to set up an independent society). The purposes were those described above, namely to search for a new psychiatry intervention model that would necessarily have repercussions for therapy and for the organization of services, and to search for a method based on prevention, as a whole. I played an important part in organizing this Society and became over time its Secretary-­‐ General, President and Honorary Life President.

In the meantime we sought to strengthen relations with the World Association of Social Psychiatry. Therefore, when the 3rd International Congress for Social Psychiatry was held in Zagreb, from 21st to 27th September 1970, presided over by Vladimir Hudolin, I decided to attend, especially as it dealt with several appealing themes (Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, Contemporary developments in Social Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry in different cultures and socio-­‐political settings, Youth problems and Social Psychiatry, Psychiatric Institutions and Psychiatry in the Community, New developments in the study of Schizophrenia).

This Congress was particularly important for the World Association. Up until then congresses had been held in London, under the auspices of our UK colleagues and the British Association for Social Psychiatry. From then on, and for around a decade, they were held in Mediterranean cities and psychiatrists from the Mediterranean countries came to dominate the Association (albeit together with American colleagues). Vladimir Hudolin was elected President-­‐elect and, in addition to the afore mentioned International Board, a series of “councilors” were appointed and they included myself for Portugal, J. Bustamante (Cuba), H. Collomb (Senegal), R. de la Fuente (Mexico), J. Eaton (USA), J. Schwat (USA) and J. Whiteley (UK), less well-­‐known figures but more directly involved in the Social Psychiatry field.

From this time onwards I developed a very active and close working relationship with Vladimir Hudolin whom I invited to Lisbon to talk about alcoholism, its prevention and in particular about Alcoholics Clubs, an area in which he had great experience.

Hudolin’s visit to Lisbon was a great success and for many years the Portuguese Alcoholics Anonymous League worked very closely with him. On the other hand, cooperation between Hudolin and myself also lasted for many years. He came to Lisbon frequently and I went to Zagreb, where I presented papers and lectured on the postgraduate course he organized every year.

Hudolin came to Lisbon at the invitation of the Social Psychiatry Section of the Portuguese Neurology and Psychiatry Society, as was the case with a number of other well-­‐known figures, such as G. Vassiliou, Louis Miller and many others. The Social Psychiatry Section organized the 2nd National Psychiatry Meeting, after I had taken office as President, which was held at the Lisbon Faculty of Medicine on 28 th and 29thApril 1972, on the theme of “Community Psychiatry – The therapeutic team. Intramural and extramural actions”.

The World Association’s next Congress took place in Jerusalem, (Israel) from 21st to 26thMay 1972 and was followed by the 2nd International Symposium on Drugs. The theme was “Social change and Social Psychiatry” and it was chaired by Louis Miller. During the Congress, J. Bierer completed his term as Chairman and Meyer and Hanison theirs as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Arthur M.Sackler and Marieta Lutze, both from the USA became the new Chairman and Secretary-­‐General, respectively, while C.B.Michell, also from the USA became the Association’s new treasurer. On the other hand, the number of regional councilors was increased and included people such as C. Fazio (Italy), E. Lyon (USA), and A. Elevet (German Federal Republic). An Executive Council was also appointed, comprised by G. Vassiliou (Secretary -­‐ Greece), Ivor Browne (Ireland) Daniel Champeau (France), Stanley Dean (USA), Kaki Masani (UK), Louis Miller (Israel), Walter Schindler (UK), John Schwab (USA) and Kathleem Thomson (UK). Bierer was awarded the title Founder and given the right to vote on all of the Association’s governing bodies.

This congress put an end to the dominance of the United Kingdom, which had prevailed until then as a result of the strong influence of the B.A.S.P., and the Association became truly international for the first time.

Meanwhile in Portugal the Social Psychiatry Section organized the 3rd National Psychiatry Meeting, held in Oporto on 18th and 19th May 1973, on the theme of “Resistance to change in the National Psychiatry System”. The event examined the new outlook for hospitals, therapy relations and community intervention.

In 1974, from 1st to 7th October, the 5th International Congress for Social Psychiatry was held in Athens presided over by George and Vasso Vassiliou, on the theme “Towards a systems approach to psychosocial functioning and malfunctioning”. Since in the meantime two revolutions had taken place, one in Portugal bringing an end to forty years of dictatorship and another in Greece ousting the “colonels”, we congratulated each other.

At the Congress Vladimir Hudolin took over the presidency of the Association and George Vassiliou was elected President-­‐elect, while Jules Masserman became Honorary Life President. Jack Carleton (USA) replaced Marieta Lutze as Secretary-­‐General and Elaine Pedigo (USA) became Treasurer; thus the positions were shared between the Mediterranean Europeans and the North Americans. The composition of the Executive Board was unchanged, although George Vassiliou was replaced by his wife, Vasso.

Also in 1974, Portugal held its 1st National Congress for Social Psychiatry, sponsored by the World Association, which took place at Lisbon University from 28thNovember to 1stDecember under the general theme “Hospital and extra-­‐hospital organization. Training of Community Psychiatry Staff”. The Congress was presided over by the author, and the Honorary President was Professor Barahona Fernandes, Dean of Lisbon University and it was attended by Professor Vladimir Hudolin, President of the World Association. There was no enrolment fee and over a thousand people attended the Congress.

In 1976 the 6th World Congress for Social Psychiatry (this name was used for the first time) took place in Opatija, a beautiful seaside resort in Croatia, then Yugoslavia, from 4th to10th October on the theme of “The future of the family in a rapidly changing World” and the President was Vladimir Hudolin

At this Congress I proposed that Lisbon host the next congress planned for 1978.

Also at this Congress members of the governing bodies facing election were re-­‐elected. However the make-­‐up of the Executive Council was greatly changed and became as follows: Paul Adams (USA), Zladislaw Bison (Poland), Irving Blumberg (USA), J. A. Bustamant (Cuba), Stanley Dean (USA), A. G. Ferreira (Portugal), G. Fershtut (Argentina),Milton Greenblatt (USA), P. Jean (France), Vanja Yeli¿ (Yugoslavia), R. Kasha (Algeria), Mauricio Knobel (Brazil), Raymundo Maciás (Mexico), Louis Miller (Israel), Vasso Vassiliou (Greece), Syuzo Naka (Japan), Siegfried Rost (Sweden), W Schindler (UK) and Claude Veil (France).

The years 1977 and 1978 saw a number of important events in the field of Social Psychiatry.

In Portugal we held the 4th National Psychiatry Meeting in Curia, (County of Coimbra) under the theme “The importance of and outlook for Mental Health Services Organization” which was also organized by the Social Psychiatry Section and presided over by the author. In that year Portugal received Prof. Sebastiano Fiume (Italy), and Drs Louis Miller and Michell Avrouskine (Israel), the former as his country’s Director of Mental Health Services. They gave lectures and discussed and compared our respective problems.

From 6th to 9th September the 1st Regional Congress for Social Psychiatry was held in Santa Barbara, California, sometime before the World Congress Psychiatry was held in Honolulu. It was organized and presided over by J. L. Carleton and the theme was “Contemporary issues and approaches in Social Psychiatry”.

On 3rd to 5th September 1978 in Aix-­‐la-­‐Chapelle, a Mediterranean seminar on “The returning migrant” was organized by the Association Francaise de Psychiatrie et Psychopathologie Sociales.

The 3rd International Congress on Rehabilitation in Psychiatry took place in Orebro (Sweden), from 11th to 15th September1978. It was presided over by Siegfied Rost and sponsored by the International Association of Psycho-­‐Social Rehabilitation Services and by the World Association of Social Psychiatry, represented by its President, Prof. Vladimir Hudolin, its Secretary-­‐General, Dr. Jack Carleton, and myself.

All this activity resulted in the organizing of the 7th World Congress for Social Psychiatry in Lisbon in 1978, on the theme of “Accelerated social change in the human context”. It ran from 8th to 14th October and was presided over by myself; the chairman of the Scientific Committee was Afonso Ribeiro and its secretary was a young man called Caldas de Almeida, who later became Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical Sciences Faculty and Director of Mental Health Services. Around two thousand people attended the Congress, half of whom were Portuguese. Thus it was a great and unexpected success that can only be explained by the powerful advertising campaign and the work undertaken at the National Psychiatry Meetings and the 1st National Congress of Social Psychiatry, which created a habit of looking out for those congresses

Elections were held in Lisbon for the WASP governing bodies for the next two-­‐year period. George Vassiliou took over as President, Jack Carleton was elected President-­‐ elect, although he remained Secretary-­‐General (he was also reelected for that post), while Ursula Molendorf was elected Treasurer, Vladimir Hudolin was elected chairman and Honorary President.

In 1979, from 23rd to 25th September, another Mediterranean seminar on social psychiatry organized by the Association Française de Psychiatrie et Psychopatologie Sociales was held in Aix-­‐en–Provence, under the general theme of “Union and disunion – Problems of separation in the Mediterranean area”; during this seminar a meeting of the World Association of Social Psychiatry Executive Council was held.

The 8th World Congress for Social Psychiatry took place in Zagreb from 16th to 22nd August 1981, and was once again presided over by Vladimir Hudolin. The Congress looked at “Alcoholism and drug-­‐addictions”, “Therapeutic Communities”, “Psychotherapy (in its various forms) and Social Psychiatry”; “Transactions between group processes and suprasystemic social processes in Social Psychiatry”, “Psychosocial Rehabilitation in Psychiatry”, “The role of the family in Social Psychiatry”, “Art and Music therapy”, “The role of epidemiology in Social Psychiatry”, “Sociocultural aspects of delinquency and crime”, “Education and training in Social Psychiatry”, “Social networks and their importance to Mental Health and to the development of behaviors leading to the search for help”, ”Problems of Hospitalism and Social Psychiatry”.

During the Congress the governing bodies were re-­‐elected and remained in office for a further two years.

This congress was followed by an “Asian Extension”, consisting of a transcultural symposium in which major figures such as George Devereux (France), Burton Bradley (Nigeria) Tobie Nathan (France), Paul Ngui (Singapore), C. R. Chandra Shekhar (India) and Charles Boxer (United Kingdom) took part. The symposium took place in Macao, at the time a Chinese territory under portuguese administration, from 6th to 11th September, which led the congress president, Vladimir Hudolin, to remark that it had last for a whole month. The symposium was organized by myself with the assistance of Caldas de Almeida, Rodrigues da Silva and Machado Nunes, supported by José da Paz Santos, Director of Macao Health Services, while the sponsor was the then Governor of Macao, Commander Almeida e Costa.

The 8th Congress was particularly important because it marked the end of the period in which the Mediterranean countries clearly dominated the organization of the congresses for Social Psychiatry, which had begun with the 3rd Congress held in 1970, of a clear supremacy of Yugoslavia (the country had organized three congresses) and of Vladimir Hudolin, who presided over all of them. Nevertheless this predominance continued through the Paris Congress of 1982 (although this event had a specific nature, as we shall point out later) and the 1st European Conference on the Prevention of Alcoholism and the 8th World Psychotherapy Congress, which were both held in Opatija in 1985, although the context here was different. At the same time, the door was opened to the holding of Asian congresses, which marked the next period and the two corresponding presidencies, through the Asian extension to Macao.

From 5th to 9th July 1982 the 9th World Congress for Social Psychiatry was held in Paris, under the presidency of Professor Pierre Jean. The Congress had no general topic (as in fact was the case in Zagreb) but rather a number of topics across the five days, which by order were, “Psychopathological problems associated with underemployment”, “Attitude of general publics towards Health and Prevention measures”, “Social indicators and Mental Health indicators” and “Psychopathological aspects of the consumption of drugs”. So, after London, the Congress for Social Psychiatry returned to a major European capital. Our French colleagues planned a rather great event: the opening session in the Sorbonne, the Congress proper held at the Paris Convention Centre, a concerto at Notre Dame, and the gala dinner at the Georges Pompidou Centre. This is not to say that most of the previous congress organizers did not set out to show the best their cities had to offer (concerts at Zagreb and at Lisbon Romanesque Cathedral, opening session at Lisbon University, Royal traditional Bullfight, as in portuguese old times, in that city), but they did not have such grandiose venues at their disposal.

No elections were held in Paris and the governing bodies remained in office, but it was decided that the next congress would be held in Osaka (Japan) under the presidency of Prof. Syuzo Naka.

This Congress (10th World Congress for Social Psychiatry) was held about an year later, from 4th to 8th September 1983, and the theme was “World Peace through Social Psychiatry”.

At this congress George Vassiliou left the office of President. As he was unable to attend due to illness, Vladimir Hudolin, as chairman, presided over the Association’s workings. Jack Carleton took over as President and following a proposal from Jules Masserman, I was voted in as President-­‐elect, Syuzo Naka as chairman, Vasso Vassiliou as secretary-­‐ general and J. L. Marti Tusquets as treasurer. The following were elected members of the Executive Board: Andrzey Piotrowski (Poland), J.A. Bustamante (Cuba), Robert Cancro (USA) Jorge Costa e Silva (Brazil), Guilhermo Ferschtut (Argentina), C. M. Chang (Hong Kong), Sebastiano Fiume (Italy) Raghu Gaind (United kingdom), Mamoud Gawad (Egypt) Jean-­‐Yves Groselin (Canada) Visnja Hudolin (Yugoslavia), P. Jean (France), Paul Julsatz (Hungary) A. Kacha (Algeria), Massaki Keito (Japan) Branko Lang (Yugoslavia), Raymundo Maciás (Mexico), Louis Miller (Israel), R. Nazakalov (USSR), Orhan M. Oztürk (Turkey), Siegfied Rost (Sweden), Harold Visotsky (USA) and Wu-­Chen I (China), George Vassiliou was elected 2nd Honorary President and V. Hudolin became 1st Honorary President.

The next two terms of office, that of John Carleton and myself, were clearly different from the previous ones and set out to strengthen links with Eastern Europe countries (which were still popular democracies), including the USSR, as well as with America and Asia. This contact with Asia, that began during the Macao symposium (the extension to the 8th World Congress for Social Psychiatry, held in Zagreb), took a step forward with the holding of the 10th Congress in Japan, where John Carleton took up office as President.

In 1984, Jack Carleton and I went to Poland, to a convent near Warsaw, where we met with Professor Andre Piotrowski and his associates. There we analyzed the way in which Mental Health Services were organized in our respective countries, as well as the community actions and prevention levels used to promote Mental Health (and, consequently, to prevent Mental Illnesses. The cooperation between the Polish Mental Health Services and the Warsaw Clinical Psychiatry University, led by Professor Piotrowski, and the World Association of Social Psychiatry was also discussed.

In the meantime it was decided not to hold a World Congress for Social Psychiatry in 1985, since that year would see the holding in Opatija (Yugoslavia) of the “1st European Congress on the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction”, from 30thSeptember to 4th October, and the “13th International Congress of Psychotherapy”, from 6th to 12th October, both presided over and organized by Vladimir Hudolin and sponsored by the World Association of Social Psychiatry.

During these congresses, the WASP Executive Council met and its governing bodies were re-­‐elected.

This was the last time Vladimir Hudolin had a direct role in the workings of the World Association of Social Psychiatry, of which he was the 1st Honorary President and had been, successively, President-­‐elect, President and Chairman. Over the entire period of around thirteen years he played an essential role in the Association growth and organized three Social Psychiatry Congresses in Yugoslavia, which he presided over, in addition to the last two we mentioned, in particular that relating to the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

Over this period, during which he was actively supported by George Vassiliou, who also stepped aside from that point on and who had been ill for a number of years (and that, in spite of this fact, gave so much to the Association), Mediterranean countries, technicians and organizations played a dominant part in the Association’s growth and in its international role.

I have not mentioned the importance of the Mediterranean Social Psychiatry Society, or more exactly the Mediterranean Socio-­‐Psychiatric Association, founded by George Vassiliou but in which Hudolin played a decisive role. The Association covered the countries of Southern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. I did not include -­‐ or even mention -­‐ its action in the activities of the World Association, because it has specific characteristics. However I would like to point out that it had an important effect on the work carried out in the Southern European nations (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey), as well as in some North African countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt) and in Israel.

In 1986 the Congresses for Social Psychiatry took place in the Southern hemisphere for the first time. Thus the 1st International Symposium of Social Psychiatry was held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) from 2nd to 4th November of that year under the theme of ”Alcoholism and Drug Addiction”. It was organized by Rodolfo Fahrer, at the suggestion of J. Carleton. The event dealt with social dynamics, pharmacological, psychological and social therapies in that situation, as well as its treatment in general hospitals, psychiatric institutions and non-­‐professional and community groups, the importance of primary care and multidisciplinary teams at the three levels of prevention and the training of family doctors to this type of action.

Immediately afterwards, from 6th to 11th November, the 9th World Congress of Social Psychiatry was held under the presidency of Jorge Costa e Silva, on the general theme of “Social Psychiatry for cultures in transition”.

Elections for the governing bodies for the two-­‐year period 1988 – 89 were held at this Congress. That year the president-­‐elect, which was the author, became president Costa e Silva was elected president-­‐elect, Shridar Sharma chairman, Raghu Gaind secretary– general and J. L. Marti Tusquets treasurer, Vijoy Varma (India) and Modest Kabanov (USSR) were also elected to the Executive Board. It was also decided that the next congress would be held in London from 6th to 10th November and its organization was entrusted to Raghu Gaind, who would naturally preside over it.

A Regional Congress of the World Association of Social Psychiatry was held in Budapest (Hungary) from 13th to 15th November 1987. The Organizing Committee was chaired by Dr Crivgen and the Scientific Committee included Bela Buda, Janos Füredi and Goldsmith (Hungary), in addition to the WASP Executive Council members, and Modest Kabanov (USSR) and C. Skoda (Czechoslovakia).

The Congress covered the following themes:

  1. Interdisciplinary cooperation within the Social Psychiatry network.
  2. Mental health in general education and public health.
  3. Pathogenic processes in organizations and groups and their therapies.

At the Congress, Janos Furedi suggested the transfer of powers from the Board in office to the new Board, which in line with previous decisions, should take up office on 1stJanuary 1988, since the Congress would be the last one held before that date. The outgoing President and Secretary-­‐General spoke of the politics, objectives and performance of the previous Council, and the President and Secretary-­‐General in-­‐ waiting referred to the objectives and strategies to be pursued and the means to carry them out.

Jack Carleton dedicated a great part of his life to WASP, of which he was successively secretary–general, president-­‐elect and president.

During his presidency he nurtured relations with East European countries, such as Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. He established and strengthened links with the Bickered Institute in Leningrad, then headed by Prof. Modest Kabanov. Another achievement was taking WASP to the Southern hemisphere, thanks also to the efforts of Jorge Alberto Costa e Silva who sought to organize (and organized) the Rio de Janeiro Congress, which left the Association much stronger.

On 30th June 1987, Jules Masserman approached me with a proposal to appoint Jack Carleton 3rd Honorary President. As I was in complete agreement with the proposal I presented it at the first Executive Council meeting of my presidency and later to the General Assembly, where it was approved.

In 1988, after the governing bodies election of 1986 that had not been confirmed by the General Assembly was ratified by correspondence, I took office for the first time. That year the 12th Congress was planned to take place in London from 6th to 10th November.

In April I received a letter inviting me as President of WASP to take part in the 141th Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association which was held in Montreal (Canada). I attended the event along with Professor Costa e Silva and Dr Raghu Gaind. The latter confirmed that work on the Congress was well underway and he was interested in seeing it through. He told me it would take place at the Barbican Centre and it was being meticulously planned.

Throughout the remaining years of my term of office (1988, 1989, 1990,1991 and 1992) I always took part in the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association which to my mind was one of the most important meetings of psychiatrists, not only in the USA and Canada but also in the world. There it is possible to exchange views with the various psychiatric associations from around the world that attend the meeting.

In regard to the London Congress, I returned from Montreal believing that preparations were running smoothly and that we would be holding a major congress in that capital city. So, while I was on holiday in the Algarve, in August, I was stunned to be told by Jorge Costa e Silva that Raghu Gaind had cancelled the Congress. Naturally I was upset that as President of WASP I had not been informed of the decision beforehand.

On the other hand it was the first time our Association had cancelled a congress and this occurrence would certainly have a negative bearing on its reputation. Undoubtedly our UK colleagues, Dr Gaind in particular, were hardest hit by this decision (which they attributed to a lack of enrolments and consequently a shortage of money) and undoubtedly they had only took such decision as a last resort and very reluctantly. Therefore we could not censure a decision which they had obviously been obliged to take, but the fact is it was a major blow for our Association and a problem that I had to solve.

For this reason I convened a meeting of the Executive Council, after which I appointed a task force led by Eliot Sorel to examine the situation and propose a new constitution and bye-­‐laws for the Association.

A newsletter was sent to all WASP fellows, members and affiliated organizations and I encouraged and organized a series of initiatives to replace the cancelled Congress.

  1. In New Delhi the 5th Annual Congress of the Indian Social Psychiatry Association was held from 20th to 22nd February 1989, which was linked to the World Association of Social Psychiatry’s Regional Symposium, led by Vijoy Varma, in association with Shridar Sharma; some of the themes covered were:“Social change”, “World peace”, “Organization of Mental Health services” and ”Social processes and their evolution”
  2. In Madrid, WASP organized a Regional Symposium of Social Psychiatry, from 29th June to 1st July under the auspices of Complutense University’s Faculty of Medicine in Madrid, which was run by Prof. Francisco Alonso Fernandes, Chair of Medical Psychiatry and Psychology, and which dealt with topics such as “Alcoholism and Public Health”, “Family therapy Psychiatric information in press” ,”Psychopathology work and drugs”, “Social problems in psychotic adolescents”, ”Family psychopathology”, “Adolescence as a subculture”.
  3. WASP sponsored two more psychiatric meetings which I attended:
  • The Iberian Social Psychiatry Meeting, organized by the Portuguese Social Psychiatry Society, held in Lisbon on 10th and 11th March and presided over by Dr Campos de Morais. The theme was “The organization of Mental Health services and Community intervention”;
  • The 7th World Congress of Dynamic Psychiatry (and the 20thInternational Symposium of the German Psychoanalysis Academy, presided over by Dr Gunter Ammon, that took place in Berlin from 17th to 21st March and covered The borderline syndrome in theory and in practice. On the other hand, Jules Masserman and Jack Carleton had had regular correspondence with Prof. Modest Kabanov, Director of the Beckterev Institute in Leningrad. On 11th February 1988, Kabanov told Jack Carleton that, the Soviet Union Society of Neuropathologists and Psychiatrists had set up a Social Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Section in Moscow, to which he had been elected president and he wished to establish and maintain relations with the World Association of Social Psychiatry.

I was honored to start that cooperation. To that end a symposium was held at the Beckterev Institute in Leningrad on 4thand 5th October 1989 entitled “Social Psychiatry and basic and applied research”, which dealt with the following matters:

  1. Methodological and ethical aspects of Social Psychiatry
  2. Social aspects of the Rehabilitation of mental patients
  3. Psycho-­‐social problems of anti-­‐destructive behavior in youth.

I had the pleasure of taking part in the meeting with a group of colleagues, the first such meeting to be held in Russia and in the Soviet Union, where there was a great deal of interaction among the various participants.

During that symposium a meeting of the WASP Executive Council and another of the General Assembly were held to elect the governing bodies for the two-­‐year period 1990-­‐ 91. I and Jorge Costa e Silva were re-­‐elected as President and President-­‐elect respectively, while Shridar Sharma, who had been elected for a four-­‐years term naturally remained in office. J. L. Marti Tusquets was elected Secretary-­‐General and Eliot Sorel Treasurer. Modest Kabanov (USSR) Wu-­‐Chen I (China) Raymundo Maciás (Mexico), Sebastiano Fiume (Italy), Mamoud Gawad (Egypt), Gene Usdin (USA) and Yves Thobie (France) were elected to the Executive Committee. Under the constitution all the Presidents of the WASP affiliated Associations were automatically members of the Executive Council (while they remain in office).

In 1989 we also represented the Association at the following events:

  1. At the 2nd World Congress of Psycho-­‐social Rehabilitation that took place in Barcelona under the presidency of Prof. Carlos Ballús from 9th to 11th October;
  2. As WASP President I was invited by WHO to be part of a working party on Mental Health care in primary care settings in Europe, which was held in Lisbon from 15th to 18thNovember. In 1990 Professor Skoda of Czechoslovakia asked me to organize a symposium on Social Psychiatry, sponsored by the Association, and we agreed to the proposal.

From 5th to 8th October of that year, Berlin hosted the 8th World Congress of Dynamic Psychiatry and the 21st International Symposium of the German Academy for Psychoanalysis, which was sponsored by WASP and was presided over by Dr Günter Ammon, under the theme of “Psychotherapy of psychoses – paradigms in Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry”.

Following this series of events, undertaken mainly in 1989 and aiming at making up for the cancellation of the London Congress, a congress was finally held in 1990 from 27th to 31st October in Washington, D. C., under the presidency of Eliot Sorel, entitled “The scientific aspects of Social Psychology” and on the theme of “East – West, North – South: The psychobiological, political, economic and cultural contexts of Social Psychiatry”.

As well as putting an end to any ill feeling that remained despite the activities undertaken the previous year (1989), this congress was remarkable for being the first one, at a World level held in USA, which up to then had only hosted the 1977 Regional Congress in Santa Barbara. Mention should also be made of the quality and care taken in the structuring and organization of the event.

Furthermore, at this Conference and following three years of negotiations which began after the 141st Annual Meeting of the APA, full relations were re-­‐established between the American Association for Social Psychiatry and WASP and the former was fully reintegrated in the World Association after several years of separation.

Over those two years we also built up a special relationship with WHO, in order to set up an interactive unit between this international organization based in Geneva and non-­‐ governmental organizations working in the Mental Health field, such as the World Psychiatric Association, the World Association of Social Psychiatry, the World Federation for Mental Health, the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation and similar bodies.

On my return from the Washington Congress I had the honor of opening and giving the inaugural lecture of the Masters Degree in Social Psychiatry run by J. L. Marti Tusquets at the Barcelona Faculty of Medicine.

On 26th and 27th April 1991 in Toulouse the “Association Française de Psychiatrie et Psychopathologie Sociales” organized the Regional Symposium on Social Psychiatry sponsored by the World Association, under the general theme of “Social Psychiatry in the European context”. It addressed the following topics:

  • Methods of organization in Social Psychiatry in Europe
  • The oedipal family in Social Psychiatry and its acts
  • Research and outlook

On 18th and 19th November of the same year the Italian Association of Social Psychiatry organized seminars sponsored by WASP and in cooperation with the World Mental Health Federation European Council, the European Association of Social Psychiatry and the Mediterranean Association for Social Psychiatry, an international conference entitled “Power and Mental Health – choice of treatment and the right to be treated” which was held in Rome under the presidency of Professor Adolfo Petiziol.

That conference, along with the Madrid and Toulouse symposia, strengthened the cooperation between the West European and Mediterranean countries that had been slightly lost in recent years.

At the 12th Congress of Social Psychiatry, the President-­‐elect Dr Costa e Silva proposed that the President in office, the author, remained there until the end of the 13th Congress of Social Psychiatry, to be held in India, since the former would at that time, 1992, be the President of the World Psychiatric Association which would prevent him from giving the necessary support to the event. The proposal was accepted by the President in office and ratified by the Executive Council and the General Assembly.

During the final year of my second term I also took part in two Congresses organized or sponsored by our Association, the9th World Congress of Dynamic Psychiatry and the 13th World Congress of Social Psychiatry.

The 9th World Congress of Dynamic Psychiatry and the 22ndInternational Symposium of the German Academy for Psychoanalysis, presided over by Dr Günter Ammon, took place in Regensburg from 29th April to 3rd May.

This cooperation with the World Association for Dynamic Psychiatry, inherited from Jack Carleton, was therefore continued by me and my successors until the present day.

Finally, from 9th to 13th November, New Delhi hosted the 13th World Congress of Social Psychiatry, which was presided over by Dr Vijoy Varma and took as its theme “The developed World and the third Millennium”. The major topics addressed were:

  1. Technology, Ecology and Mental Health;
  2. The Interface between Futurology and Social Psychiatry;
  3. The control of drug abuse in different cultures.

Dr. Vijoy Varma and the three Congress secretaries (Doctors Kulhara, Malik and Malhotra) played an important part in organizing the Congress, which was carefully prepared. For my part I gave all possible support to the event’s organizers and went to India three times to help the preparation the congress.

For me it was a particular pleasure to end my term of office with the organization of the India Congress the more so because as result of the ill-­‐fated London Congress, there was some opposition to holding it in India. But I felt that it was very important to hold it there as it represented the establishment of Social Psychiatry in Asia, which had already hosted two congresses, the Macao Symposium on Transcultural Psychiatry (as an extension to the 8thWorld Congress of Social Psychiatry) and the World Congress in Japan (the 10th).

Therefore while we were unable to bring off the London Congress, which was an unacceptable stain, we held a World Congress in the USA (with the excellent cooperation of Eliot Sorel), a country that along with the UK was one of the original focal points and an exponent of Social Psychiatry, and another in India that confirmed the Association’s progress in Asia and the world.

On the other hand, the Association’s first symposium was held in the then Soviet Union and so the cooperation with the Social Psychiatry and Psycho-­‐Social Rehabilitation section of that country’s Society of Neuropathologists and Psychiatrists began, already started by Jack Carleton, was reinforced.

In addition, we were able to maintain relations with the European and Mediterranean countries, in particular Spain, France and Italy, thus continuing the work of George Vassiliou and Vladimir Hudolin. Meanwhile relations were also established with the other East European countries.

At the India Congress, elections were held following the changes to the constitution and the bye-­‐laws.

The following persons were elected to the governing bodies: Eliot Sorel as President– elect, Adolfo Petiziol as Vice-­‐President, Pierre Chanoit as Secretary-­‐General and Yosho Sakamoto as Treasurer. Jorge Costa e Silva, as President-­‐elect, naturally took over the Presidency of the Association. For my part I took on the role of past-­‐President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

I end this summary of the Association’s early years with the end of my presidency. From then on other people such as, for instants, Eliot Sorel, who has played a key part in taking the Society forward, are in a better position to talk about subsequent developments.


A. Guilherme Ferreira
President WASP (1988-1992)