Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


My research will delve into the workings of the community of Bom Jardim in Fortaleza, Ceará, in their endeavors for positive mental and physical community development through the tactics of their base organization Movimento de Saúde Mental Comunitária do Bom Jardim (MSMCBJ). Specifically I am looking at the Terapia Comunitária (community therapy) program, one of the many branches of MSMCBJ, and how through their projects do they fulfill their goal of organizing a community from the roots to blossom into a healthier and more vibrant one. I will also look into how this model is sustainable and why this method is unique. How is the implementation and practice of community, unity and solidarity through community therapy aiding in the positive transformation of this neighborhood? In Bom Jardim, the movement is providing effective positive change within the residents by using a synthesis of various theoretical frameworks such as the biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual in how they run their community therapy sessions which tackle many themes such as: 1. Network of Connections and personal and interpersonal relationships 2. The “Roda” 3. Faith and Medicine 4. Vivencia 5. Valorization of Popular Knowledge 6. Synthesis 7. Acolhimento These themes are aimed at helping realize the inner strength of individuals and use that to help transform negative energy into positive energy to combat against psychological internalization of poverty. Over the twelve years of the existence of the movement, such changes are evidenced in the cycle of once patients now turned therapists that are providing the same services they once received in their own neighborhoods. It is a slow and gradual transformation from the inside out that in the long run is sustainable for the community.


Community Health | Latin American Studies | Psychiatric and Mental Health


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