The purpose of the World Psychiatric Association is to coordinate the activities of its Member Societies on a world-wide scale and to advance enquiry into the etiology, pathology, and treatment of mental illness. To further this purpose, the Association organizes mono- or multi thematic Regional Symposia in different parts of the world twice a year, and World Congresses dealing with all individual fields of psychiatry once every five or six years. Between these meetings the continuation of the Association's scientific work is assured through the activities of its specialty sections, each covering an important field of psychiatry. The programs of the World Congresses reflect on the one hand the intention to present the coordinating functions of the Association and on the other to open a broad platform for a free exchange of views. Thus, the VII World Congress of Psychiatry, held in Vienna from July 11 to 16, 1983, was composed of two types of scientific events - those structured by the Association and those left to the initiative of the participants. The first type comprised Plenary Sessions, planned by the Scientific Program Committee, and Section Symposia, organized by the WPA sections; the second embraced Free Symposia, free papers, video sessions, and poster presentations prepared by the participants. Altogether, 10 Plenary Sessions, 52 Section Symposia, and 105 Free Symposia took place, and 78 free papers and poster sessions and 10 video sessions were held.