Nise da Silveira
… I am not at all a lady inclined to charity; I am rather someone curious about the abyss, even though I realize that the abyss is so deep that I can only teeter around the edges. So, I thought of using activities as a means of expressing the internal conflicts of the patients.
– Nise da Silveira
Doctor Nise da Silveira: a woman, scientist, revolutionary, psychiatrist, born in the state of Alagoas, among many other things she represented to different people; throughout her life (1905–1999), she fought for the urgent need to review society’s standards. Admittedly a rebel, affection was the driving force of her studies, as well as the tool of her trade. She wished to turn doped and alienated patients into individuals who were integrated, assisted, and moved, that is, emotionally affected. Instead of convulsive therapy, she proposed the “Emotion of Coping” and the adoption of the arts as a treatment method. She also undoubtedly favored freedom over imprisonment.
Her history, still far from reaching its end, is marked by resistance and struggle, always relying on science, but without allowing excessive rationality to exclude affection and listening. Today, we celebrate Dr. Nise not as a symbol of Brazilian psychiatry, a title which she would surely refuse, but as a reference that it is possible to make the world a more humane place.
I have learned a lot with the insane, and that somewhat interferes with the concept of reason. It is said that there is a source of wisdom and a source of madness, but they are one. There are no separate sources, they are interrelated. Every once in a while, a very sensible person commits an act of madness that, fortunately, reveals a lot to themselves about their way of living.
– Nise da Silveira
…. madness is the result of a social construct rather than a medical truth.
– Michel Foucault (1961)
In insanity we do not discover anything new or unknown; we are looking at the foundations of our own being.
– Carl Jung