Hoff, Hans

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HOFF, HANS (1897–1969), Austrian psychiatrist. Born in Vienna Hoff was a student of Julius Wagner-Jauregg and later an associate of Otto Poetrl who was an early practitioner of insulin shock treatment in schizophrenia. Hoff's early medical work was in the field of encephalitis and malaria. He moved into psychiatry with studies of the brain function in vision and brain tumors. He left Austria in 1938, going first to the Royal Medical School in Baghdad and then to the United States. From 1945 to 1947 he worked as a neurologist at Presbyterian Hospital in New York and taught at Columbia University. He returned to the University of Vienna in 1949 where he was appointed to the chair of neurology. In addition he became the director of the Vienna neuropsychiatric hospital. Hoff conducted studies of anti-depressant agents and of insulin and drug therapy for schizophrenia. He disagreed with metaphysical concepts in psychiatry as well as with many Freudian theses. He did not, however, see drugs as a cure for mental illness but as a means of enabling the psychiatrist to communicate with the patient. In 1958–59 Hoff was the president of the World Federation for Mental Health. His address to its annual meeting in 1958, "Home and Identity," was concerned with refugees, the threat to their identity, and its restoration. He drew on his own experiences as a refugee. His major works were published after World War II. They include Psychotherapy (1949); Organic Basis of Psychoses (1950); Die Zeit und ihre Neurose (1956); Psychosomatics (1959); and Manualof Treatment of Neurology and Psychiatry (1966).


A. Grinstein, Index of Psychoanalytic Writings, 2 (1957) and 7 (1964). add. bibliography: H.D. Kraemer, Hans HoffLeben und Werk (1975).

[Louis Miller]