This paper, an abbreviation of the first Aubrey Lewis Lecture, concerns itself initially with the evolution of the institute concept as a part of western institutional development. The growth of the concept of the institutes of psychiatry as organizations in medicine, initially bringing together the biological, psychosocial, and clinical sciences as they relate to the field, is documented briefly in the history of the beginnings of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the earliest established institute in the specialty. Later sections of the paper concern themselves with the conflicts between the goals of these institutes, those of related universities, the supporting governmental agencies, and private supportres. The author discusses the problems inherent in bridging the gap between the formation of a multidisciplinary institution and one which may come to function effectively in an interdisciplinary fashion. Consideration is given to the theoretical and administrative measures potentially valuable in bridging this gap. This abbreviated version of the lecture deletes the evaluation of those factors which have led to the widespread development of the institutes of psychiatry.