Upcoming Psychological & Medical Events:


Wednesday, April 4, 10:00am - 12:00pm, SSB 107


"Of Other Realms, Entities and Meanings: Studying Mental Health in an Outpatient Clinic in Southern Brazil”

This presentation discusses my fieldwork in a psychiatric day clinic in southern Brazil. It examines how religious and psychotherapeutic interpretations of self and healing are constantly being evoked and interwoven into therapeutic conceptions and practices. What I take as religious interpretations are not discrete or static conceptions but, in fact, heterogeneous statements that refer to spirits, lights, energies, colors, seeing and talking to other entities. Similarly, when I talk about psychotherapeutic interpretations, I call attention to a diversity of psychological and therapeutic schools that are practiced within the day clinic program, including psychoanalysis, transpersonal psychology, and psychodrama. Both groups of practices/discourses should not be seen as opposed or contradictory but, rather, as crucial in shaping important psychiatric artifacts in that context. Mental health, here, is experienced from the perspective of a world populated with different entities – that include the powers of biomedicine and medication, but also deal with the unknown, the energetic and the spiritual. As a result, instead of describing the clinical practices as expressing a discrete and well-defined conceptual orientation – either that of the religious or mental health perspective – I choose to think about both realms as intertwined.


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