An open-air, free mental health clinic in São Paulo

Low-income residents of the concrete jungle known as São Paulo can access mental health care through the publicly funded SUS health care system, but earlier this year a psychiatrist collective decided to launch a novel alternative.

Calling itself Clínica Aberta de Psicanálise (“Open Psychoanalysis Clinic”), the collective began providing its services at a community center in April, and then they really got creative.

An open-air, free mental health clinic in São PauloEvery Saturday they set up folding chairs at Praça Franklin Roosevelt, a downtown square, and take clients from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. And if it rains, they move their chairs to the lobby of a theater located by the square, and keep on doing what they do.

An open-air, free mental health clinic in São Paulo
“Psychoanalysis appointments,” reads the sign. “Public, open, gratuitous.”

There’s a clear ideological bent to this collectivist project. One of the brains behind it, Tales Ab’Saber of the Instituto Sedes Sapientiae think tank, had this to say to Revista Cult earlier this year:

A question that concerns us is not just the socialization of the psychoanalysis experience, but the contemporary necessity to create spaces for the individual, life and work outside the logic of the market … This is a contemporary political issue for all of us. What’s on the horizon is post-capitalist.

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