During these last two years, since the First International Congress of Fundamental Psychopathology and the Seventh Brazilian Congress of Fundamental Psychopathology, held jointly at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, the Board of Directors of the University Association for Research in Fundamental Psychopathology (AUPPF) engaged in a period of intense and systematic dedication in terms of research, authorship and publication in Brazil and abroad, of scientific production in fundamental psychopathology.
There is no doubt that this Second International Congress and Eighth Brazilian Congress are of special importance in the history of the organization.
The simple fact that the congresses were held at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), in the Amazon Region in Northern Brazil, was widely commented on in scientific circles and at agencies that sponsor research projects. As a result, the congresses received financial support the UFPA, UNESCO, the Brazilian Health Ministry, the CAPES Scholarship Agency [Fundação Campanha de Aperfeiçoamento do Pessoal do Ensino Superior], and the Federal Board of Psychology (CFP), as well as the traditional contributions Editora Escuta and Pulsional Bookstore – Center for Psychoanalysis.
The event also received backing important institutions such as the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP), the Pará State Health Department (SESPA) and the Brazilian Association of Studies on Babies (ABEBÊ).
Thanks to positive pre-congress publicity, countless public mental health institutions, universities, psychiatric groups, and psychoanalytic associations and societies were invited to the congress. Over 800 participants attended and over 400 academic papers were presented, a proof of the positive reaction on the part of the academic community.
The presence of scientists Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, the United States, Portugal, France, Russia and Iran is clear proof of the international character of this congress and of our Association.
At the same time, increasing numbers of writings on mental suffering are being produced, and other measures are being taken by the Association to encourage people in the field to write and submit papers about their wide variety of clinical experiences, philosophical reflections and artistic productions closely related to mental suffering. Fundamental psychopathology is interested not only in more traditional psychopathological manifestations and their classifications, diagnoses and treatments. It is also dedicated to creative manifestations that affect and fascinate us all. Fundamental psychopathology is therefore gradually putting into effect its project to be a broad discursive network (logos) on mental suffering, as this theme gradually ceases to be considered by public opinion as an exclusively medical-psychological phenomenon. In fact, mental suffering is a human phenomenon. Human beings comprise a species that is constantly developing its discursive network on mental suffering, about what affects us, excites us and possesses us, because, after all, we are a psychopathological species.
During these two years the association has published Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental and Latin-American Journal of Fundamental Psychopathology Online.
Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental
This official journal of the AUPPF has been published four times a year since 1998. It is listed in important Brazilian and international databases, has an efficient editorial team and is supported by subscriptions which are growing in numbers every year, both in Brazil and abroad. Before publication, articles and other contributions that have been submitted are always reviewed by independent consultants, who present comments aimed at improving the scientific quality of the material and the clarity of the arguments presented.
The journal consists of sections that are under the responsibility of different associate editors.
The section of articles is coordinated and produced by the editor of the journal.
"Mental Health" is coordinated and produced by Dr. Ana Cristina Costa de Figueiredo (IPUB/UFRJ).
"Observing Psychiatry" is coordinated and produced by Dr. Fernando Portela Câmara (UFRJ).
"The History of Psychiatry" is coordinated and produced by Drs. Paulo Dalgalarrondo and Ana Maria G. Raimundo Oda (FCM/UNICAMP).
"Classics of Psychopathology" and "Reviews of Articles" are coordinated and produced by Dr. Mário Eduardo Costa Pereira.
"Observing Medicine" is coordinated and produced by the journalist and psychoanalyst Mônica Teixeira and Dr. Erney Plessmann de Camargo (USP).
Finally, a new section entitled "Medicine of the Soul" is now being organized under the coordination of Dr. Paulo José Carvalho da Silva (PUC-SP).
With this editorial organization the intention is to characterize the Revista Latinoamericana as a social formation. That is, it is meant to be a collective production focused on both the various manifestations and the conceptions of mental suffering in the present day in terms of its long and complex historical tradition, which goes far beyond modern medicine.
Thanks to these collective efforts, the Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental is now classified as "National A" in Psychology and "National B" in Medicine II by CAPES.
In addition, its international character, evidenced by the growing number of articles written originally in French, Spanish and English, is bringing about broader diffusion of fundamental psychopathology.
However, the international vocation of Revista Latinoamericana has not yet been fulfilled, since the obstacles it faces are many and complex. For example, the simple fact of being a scientific periodical that publishes articles in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English paradoxically limits its interest to the international scientific community, accustomed to periodicals published only in English.
The current board of directors has decided, however, to insist on the multi-lingual character of the journal, thus complying with recommendations of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
Latin-American Journal of Fundamental Psychopathology Online
Concurrently with the Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental, the Association has continued to publish the Latin-American Journal of Fundamental Psychopathology Online, the association's official online organ, following the current international trend in scientific publications.
Thanks to the efficient editorial work of Dr. Henrique Figueiredo Carneiro and Dr. Vera Lopes Besset, the Latin-American Journal published out issues during the second semester of 2005 and another during the first semester of 2006. Plans are to publish one more issue during the second half of 2006.
The Latin-American Journal is hosted at the association's portal: www.fundamentalpsychopathology.org, which is increasingly visited thanks to publicity and the improvement of the quality of the contents.
As a result of its excellent editorial work, the Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental and the Latin-American Journal of Fundamental Psychopathology Online have received support the CNPq in 2006, and are candidates for further aid in 2007.
It is important to note that these organs are basically sustained thanks to the increasing volume of written production with scientific quality that has been taking place in Brazil and other countries in Latin America, as well as in Europe. The clinical investigations which take subjectivity into account represent important contributions for understanding and treating mental suffering.
Another of the association's projects now underway is to set up the site entitled www.fundamentalpsychopathology.org, that was originally cared for by Marciela Henckel and, more recently, by Ana Cecília Magtaz Scazufca, both of whom are doctoral-level researchers at the Laboratory of Fundamental Psychopathology in the Graduate Program of the Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP). They both hold scholarships, respectively, FAPESP and CNPq.
Possibilities for a site that combines both information and contents are very positive.
The site shows the full proceedings of the 2nd International Congress of Fundamental Psychopathology and the 8th Brazilian Congress of Fundamental Psychopathology, including all the papers presented during the event, as well as the contents of the Latin-American Journal. The portal is now an important source of information and contents and is visited monthly by thousands of consultants around the world.
In addition, the work of setting up links is expanding knowledge about the site itself.
The most delicate and complex aspect in handling the site is the updating of information, since this depends on cooperation the association's members. For this reason, we are now asking all members to cooperate with Ana Cecília by sending in the information she requests.
We would also strongly encourage members to send the portal their work published in other organs. We also encourage the members to visit the portal by frequently sending in their suggestions for improvement.
Finally, we would appreciate suggestions as to other appropriate links that could be posted on the site, since, like journals, the association's site has a social function, and depends on the cooperation of all its members.
The association's 8th Scientific Meeting was held in Petrópolis, State of Rio de Janeiro, November 11 to 15, 2005.
This bi-annual encounter, which is held exclusively for university professors holding doctors' degrees, has a threefold objective: 1) to provide an opportunity for scientific exchange on research projects in progress and for the articulation of new projects to be carried ahead by members; 2) exchange among authors and the diffusion of fundamental psychopathology, and 3) the holding of plenary meetings the association's projects and functioning are commented on and suggestions are given.
The scientific meetings are also aimed at consolidating the organic communication that is indispensable for strengthening the Association.
The scientific meetings are therefore very important moments, since they tend to be the starting point for the future paths for the Association and for fundamental psychopathology itself. In addition, the contact among members in a receptive environment near a large urban area is of great importance. Cooperation projects among members of the group often begin at these meetings.
Pierre Fédida International Contest for as yet Unpublished Essays in Fundamental Psychopathology
Seventeen papers were submitted for the 2006 version of this international contest.
The texts were considered of generally high quality, and the international nature of the contest was consolidated with the inclusion of papers Uruguay and Cuba.
The Pierre Fédida contest, the congress, the journals, the Library of Fundamental Psychopathology and the scientific meetings are aimed encouraging people to produce written works.
The Association considers that the authorship of texts on clinical practice, literature, philosophy and art concerning mental suffering is the most enriching and complex path toward the logos.
It also considers that, given the nature of pathos, or suffering, the path toward language that is able to represent experiences of suffering is the most enriching and complex process through which a subject can cease being a "patient," that is, a passive target for this mysterious, enigmatic and insistent force that exercises violent power over it.
The Association also considers that authorship is the most solid and productive way to unveil discriminative ideological and political resistances that impregnate the subject. In writing and by writing, the subject painfully uncovers his or her limitations and the enormous difficulties faced in this tortuous road toward language, through a textual discourse that represents painful experiences that take place during existence.
To write about fundamental psychopathology, therefore, is to put into textual form the emotional suffering that is always present in practice, either in the clinic or in the broader sphere of existence itself.
There are thus three basic requisites for writings in fundamental psychopathology.
The first and most important is that the written material consist of the account of an incident or series of incidents that have been experienced. That is, when writing is in the field of fundamental psychopathology, it always includes a report or a description of a character known as the patient, a subject affected by mental suffering. By writing, a patient, be he or she a patient of medicine, psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophy or art, is always a character, a figure, which has no bi-univocal correspondence with material and historical reality.
The suffering character, when described, creates the author, gives life to the one who is responsible for finding words to express what has been experienced. And what has been experienced is frequently confused with the existing subject. But when creating the author, the character of suffering sets material and historical reality aside and becomes the representative textual figure. Dora created Freud and Freud authored a character. Ellen West created Binswanger and he authored this fascinating and tragic woman, Ellen West. Neither Dora nor Ellen West, however, are what their authors described. A character is an imaginary representative figure, and this is why it is a signifier.
The second basic requirement of a text in fundamental psychopathology is that the comprehensive symbolic construction of the suffering character derives strictly the narrative of the case. There is no theory in fundamental psychopathology, if one understands theory as a formally elegant hypothetical-deductive construction about an empirical domain. In this regard, fundamental psychopathology is eminently clinical. Its texts are therefore metapsychological and the cases it describes are metapsychology in germinal form. The comprehensive questions described by Freud in his case of Dora are intimately related to the character and the situation that was undergone. Binswanger's comprehensive questions in his account of the case of Ellen West are proposed by the character in the account.
The third basic requisite of a text in fundamental psychopathology is that it not be original. That is, there is some articulation with the long and variegated tradition of writings in psychopathology. When this is not the case, the author's discriminative ideological and political prejudices show up, and the patient's symptom or manifestation of suffering, which is always current, always contemporary, is transformed into contemporariness and supposes a material and historical rupture, and an originality, that remove the character its subjectivity.
Therefore, what is known as contemporariness, this qualification of time and place that poorly conceals the author's ideological and political prejudices and ignorance, is only of interest to fundamental psychopathology if it is immediately negated by the "un-currentness" proper to the symptom and by solid articulation with psychopathological history. Fundamental psychopathology, then, is a discursive construction articulated with "un-currentness." It is eminently "non-current" and, for this very reason, historical.
These considerations on the basic characteristics of a text in fundamental psychopathology were gradually constructed and broadened by the successive Pierre Fédida contests, which have thus taken on importance in the series of initiatives of the association.
Library of Fundamental psychopathology
The Library of Fundamental Psychopathology [Biblioteca de Psicopatologia Fundamental] is a collection of books directed by Manoel Tosta Berlinck and published by Editora Escuta. It brings together important texts based on research in psychopathology.
The collection now has 37 titles, all listed in "Carta Pulsional," sent weekly to approximately 14,000 email addresses. The books are also described at the sites www.fundamentalpsychopathology.org and www.psicopatologiafundamental.org.
The books put out by the Library of Fundamental Psychopathology are also efficiently distributed by Editora Escuta, and can be found in most bookstores in Brazil. They are also sold by a number of virtual bookstores, including Pulsional Online Bookstore (www.livrariapulsional.com.br).
University libraries have acquired many of the titles in this collection, an indication of their usefulness for study and research in psychopathology.
The Association is managed efficiently and at low cost.
Until early 2006 it had a hired secretary, who, unfortunately, had to be dismissed for financial reasons. The Association is now organized under the efficient coordination of Flávio José de Aguiar, the accountant, and Ana Lúcia de Castro, general manager of Editora Escuta and of Pulsional Bookstore. The Association also benefits greatly the invaluable cooperation of Ana Cecília Magtaz Scazufca. Publicity and the portals are handled by Webmaster Diogo Rossatto.
With the growth of the organization, a part-time administrative assistant will soon be hired. The Association's finances are fully up to date, and its balance sheets and other accounting documents are available for examination at its main office.
For the next two years the Association will be committed to organizing and holding the 9th Scientific Meeting, in 2007, as well as the 3rd International Congress of Fundamental Psychopathology and 9th Brazilian Congress of Fundamental Psychopathology, to be held at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, in the City of Niterói, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 4 to 7, 2008.
The theme will be "Pathos: violence and power." Naturally, all are hereby invited to participate actively in this congress in Niterói, the land of the great Brazilian Indian Chief, Araribóia. We hope it will be as successful as those we have held so far.
Drs. Gisálio Cerqueira Filho and Paulo Roberto Mattos da Silva will share the presidency of this next congress, and Dr. Ana Maria Rudge will be the president of honor. Its symbol will be the Museum of Art of Niterói, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, on the shores of Guanabara Bay, with the city of Rio de Janeiro visible in the distance.
In addition, the Board of Directors of the Association intend to continue with the projects already underway, namely, the Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental, the Latin-American Journal of Fundamental Psychopathology, the International Pierre Fédida Contest, the Library of Fundamental Psychopathology, the scientific meetings, the congresses, and, the Portal.
The board also intends to plan and carry out research projects aimed at stimulating the authorship of texts in fundamental psychopathology that will contribute to a broader understanding of the nature and dynamics of mental suffering.
Manoel Tosta Berlinck, Ph.D.
President (in the name of the Board of Directors, 2004 - 2008)
This report was voted on and approved at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the University Association for Research in Fundamental Psychopathology, held on September 6, 2006, at Hotel Sagres, Belém, Pará, Brazil.