This article describes a mental health and development program being carried out under the direction of a Comboni Missionary who is an ordained Roman Catholic priest from Italy and a medical doctor presently completing a Ph.D. in psychiatry in Brazil. It is based on a theoretical framework that integrates the cultural and religious backgrounds of migrants coming into the slums of Brazilian cities with a form of group therapy based on the assumptions of Liberation Theology and the teachings of Paulo Freire that was developed by Prof. Adalberto Barreto, a practicing Brazilian trained M.D.–psychiatrist with European Ph.D.s in psychiatry and anthropology. This unusual combination of anthropological insight combined with a unique approach to group psychotherapy, rooted in a humanistic approach to religion, has resulted in an extremely effective development program that is beginning to be applied in slum areas in other parts of Brazil and elsewhere.
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