Accepted Paper:

Crisis and permutations of power in Southern Brazilian psychiatry  


Dominique Behague (Vanderbilt University)
Helen Gonçalves da Silva (UFPEL)

Paper long abstract:

Since the mid 1980s, psychodynamic psychiatrists in Southern Brazil have been leading a movement to shift the focus of their expertise from the private sector to the shantytown, and from the hospital to the outpatient clinic. As these therapists strive to create a political-sensitive form of therapy that is relevant for the socially marginalized (violent and criminal youth often being the prototypical emblem of this social stratum), they are forced to confront emerging professional and personal conflicts, to change the nature of the therapeutic encounter, and to modify the models of the mind and of society to which they ascribe. This paper explores the crises, conjectures and permutations of power that typify this process. Using ethnographic data collected over a period of 10 years, we show how the clinical and extra-clinical co-production of crises rhetoric between therapist and patient alters, in very material ways, the life-course of young patients.

Panel W106
Crisis and resolution: imagination and the transformation of psychiatric care