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Psicologia USP

Print version ISSN 0103-6564On-line version ISSN 1678-5177

Psicol. USP vol.29 no.3 São Paulo Sept./Dec. 2018 


Does anthropology contribute to research in psychoanalysis? Dialogues between perspectivism and psychoanalytic experience

Thais Kleina  * 

Julio Sergio Verztmana 

Fernanda Pacheco-Ferreiraa 

aUniversidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Psicologia. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil


This article intends to discuss the implications of certain questions posed by Amerindian perspectivism to psychoanalytical experience. That’s because a central question of perspectivism raised by Viveiros de Castro can be transposed to the field of psychoanalysis: how to create conditions for ontological self-determination of the other when we all have our ontological presuppositions? Following the author’s claim that the anthropologist should make a good enough description, an articulation is traced with the experience in psychoanalysis from considerations raised by Winnicott’s theory. Finally, to illustrate the discussed issues, an experience report in clinical research is presented.

Keywords: research; anthropology; psychoanalysis; clinic


O artigo visa discutir as implicações de certas questões colocadas pelo perspectivismo ameríndio para a experiência psicanalítica. Isso porque uma pergunta central do perspectivismo levantada por Viveiros de Castro pode ser deslocada para o campo psicanalítico, a saber: como criar condições para autodeterminação ontológica do outro quando todos nós temos nossos pressupostos ontológicos? Acompanhando a aposta do autor de que o antropólogo deve fazer uma descrição suficientemente boa, traça-se uma articulação com a experiência em psicanálise a partir de considerações suscitadas pela teoria winnicottiana. Por fim, para ilustrar as questões discutidas, apresenta-se um relato de experiência em pesquisa clínica a partir da psicanálise.

Palavras-chaves: pesquisa; antropologia; psicanálise; clínica


Cet article a l’objectif de discuter les implications des certaines questions posées par le perspectivisme amérindien sur l’expérience psychanalytique. En effet, une question centrale du perspectivisme soulevée par Viveiros de Castro peut être déplacée vers le domaine de la psychanalyse : comment créer des conditions pour l'autodétermination ontologique de l'autre lorsque nous avons tous nos présuppositions ontologiques ? Suit à l'affirmation de l'auteur, selon laquelle l'anthropologue devrait faire une description suffisamment bonne, une articulation est tracée avec l'expérience en psychanalyse à partir des considérations soulevées par la théorie de Winnicott. Enfin, pour illustrer les problèmes discutés, on présente un rapport d’expérience en recherche clinique.

Mots-clés: recherche; anthropologie; psychanalyse; clinique


El artículo trata de discutir las implicaciones de ciertas indagaciones planteadas en el perspectivismo amerindio para la experiencia en psicoanálisis. La pregunta central del perspectivismo hecha por Viveiros de Castro puede ser desplazada al campo psicoanalítico: ¿cómo crear condiciones para la autodeterminación ontológica del otro cuando todos tenemos nuestros presupuestos ontológicos? A partir de la apuesta del autor de que el antropólogo debe hacer una descripción suficientemente buena, se desarrolla la experiencia en psicoanálisis fundamentada en la teoría de Winnicott. Por último, para ilustrar las cuestiones discutidas, se presenta un relato de experiencia en investigación clínica a partir del psicoanálisis.

Palabras clave: investigación; antropología; psicoanálisis; clínica

This article’s title emphasizes some of the matters we intend to deal with. At first, the question asked is: “can anthropology contribute to research in psychoanalysis?”. It is necessary to highlight, by way of introduction, that the notion of research in psychoanalysis - and this includes both methodological and theoretical issues - is not unanimous. What, however, seems to be unanimous among those who discuss psychoanalytical research is the Freudian affirmation (Freud, 1923/1977) that theory and clinic are inseparable. Nonetheless, as pointed out by Verztman and Viana (2014), research in psychoanalysis has nowadays taken new paths since Freud, making it more complex and creating new issues for the seemingly obvious inseparability between clinic and theory.

Besides being heterogenous, the psychoanalytical field, as indicated by Roussillon (2014), has a fundamental distinction regarding other scientific research: while other knowledge fields have performed a kind of assassination of its great characters in order to achieve the right to think accordingly to its own traditions, but independently from them, psychoanalysis has remained, many times, connected to the guidance of its great masters (a research is conducted under a Lacanian, Winnicottian, Bionian guidance, etc.). The research in psychoanalysis becomes, constantly, intrinsically associated to the guidance of its precursors, looking for the confirmation and validation of the well-respected concepts, which may obliterate the reading of some clinical phenomena.

Given this scenario, the author insists: it is necessary to perform a completely fundamental operation in clinical research, an operation of assassinating the fetishism of theory (Roussillon, 2014, p. 57). Would that be a call for clinical practice without theory? We know that the clinical meeting will never be deprived of theoretical premise and hypothesis, the “clinical format” itself is subsidiary of a long path in the field of ideas. The intention is not, thus, to exhume theory and glimpse a completely aseptic clinical meeting, also because this framing would already leave its exiting traces. Instead, how to discuss research in psychoanalysis considering what Roussillon calls a “theory fetishism”? This work’s proposal is to trace a dialogue with anthropology, more specifically with the Amerindian perspectivism, in order to raise some questions regarding psychoanalytical research and clinic.

Before that, however, it is necessary to specify that we do not intend to enter the considerably old dialogue between psychoanalysis and anthropology, which borders the psychoanalysis since Freud. Between partnerships and disagreements, these knowledge fields have been stumbling upon each other for years, having as an important reference, in the 20th century, the ethnopsychoanalysis, an effort by Geza Róheim and Georges Devereux in allying both disciplines in the theoretic-practical field. In this article, the approach to anthropology happens only as the discussion on Amerindian perspectivism - in the ethnography scope - raises significant questions for psychoanalysis. To portray this matter, we will discuss further on an example of clinical research in psychoanalysis in the intention of making some considerations in this field, inspired by the arguments defended by Viveiros de Castro in the anthropologic area.

Broadly, these discussions have as their background the following question: how to create the conditions for the other’s ontological self-determination when we all have our own ontological suppositions? Viveiros de Castro (2002) points out that this in not a cognitive or psychological matter, but a epistemological and, above all, political one.

It would be possible to continue this reflection by pointing out the differences between a ethnographic study and the analytical device. We will, however, suspend this discussion to better explain its implications in the ethnographic scope and, then, ask what does the psychoanalyst and, more specifically, the research in psychoanalysis has to do with the theme.

Amerindian perspectivism

Ethnography is usually understood as a methodology for qualitative research in the field of anthropology. It is, above all - based on the considerations by Geertz (1978) -, a dense description by an anthropologist about a field. Most commonly, one thinks of an anthropologist who goes to the field equipped with a theory to interpret native people (words commonly used in anthropology to designate those who constitute a field). However, according to Viveiros de Castro (2002), there are serious theoretical and practical implications in conceiving the departure of an anthropologist with his/her interpretative apparatus and a native person that will be studied by them. Those are consequences that concern the asymmetry in the legitimacy conferred to the discourses that are under a relationship of knowledge and, particularly, to the order relationships among discourses. This order, as pointed out by the author, is certainly attributed and not innate; for him, nobody is born an anthropologist, and all the least, however curious they might be, a native” (Viveiros de Castro, 2002, p. 7). This happens because the anthropologist is seen having a epistemological advantage over the native as their discourses are not on the same level. Even though the meanings presented by the anthropologist depend on the native, it is the first one who holds the key for that meaning; it is the anthropologist who interprets, translates, contextualizes the native’s meanings. It is supposed that native people have a notion on religion, social bonds, among other concepts, but are unable to systematize it, that is, the knowledge by the subject requires ignorance by the object.

Viveiros de Castro (2002) indicates that, frequently, the anthropologist knows the native people de jure, even before he actually meets them. That is, the researcher knows from start certain concepts that he will supposedly observe in the native people, he knows what social relations, cognition, kinship, politics, religion are, and he interprets how these concepts are presented in a certain context. The anthropologist, therefore, ends up filling these notions with the context’s colors and, at the end, the native people become the anthropologist themselves in disguise. That being said, the thinking proposal of the Amerindian perspectivism is placed based on the following question: what happens if we refuse, in the anthropologists’ discourse, their strategical advantage over native discourse? (Viveiros de Castro, 2002, p. 7).

In order to consider this question seriously, it is necessary to understand that the studied procedures are radically diverse from the procedures that command the investigations and that, above all, at first, one does not know from start which ones they are. The “art of anthropology”, for this view, becomes the art of determining the issues posed by each culture, and not of finding solutions for issued posed by our culture (Viveiros de Castro, 2002). And that does not mean to simply consider the native as a subject. In this sense, the author warns us:

It is precisely because the anthropologist very easily takes the native to be an other subject that he cannot see him as an other subject. . . . It is by failing to accept the native’s condition of “nonsubject” (i.e., his being other than a subject) that the anthropologist introduces his sneaky advantage de jure, under the guise of a proclamation of de facto equality. Before the game even starts, he knows too much about the native: he predefines and circumscribes the possible worlds expressed by this other. (Viveiros de Castro, 2013, p. 478).

The word Other recalls a Deleuzian concept that is defined not as a particular point of view, related to the subject, but as the possibility of having a point of view (Deleuze, 1988). It is the condition of the perceptive world, that is, which is beyond the reach of current perception, but that virtually exists as potentiality. Viveiros de Castro affirms that the Other is the expression of a possible world (p. 23). It is not, however, a hidden world, which must be unveiled, but a world that exists in potency, a possibility that truly exists, but does not currently exists outside its expression in the Other. Thus, the question moves from the problem if the native is or not a subject (it is clear that he is a subject), but comprises what may be a subject, that is, which are the possible worlds expressed by a subject. Anthropology, in this context, does not aims at producing technical essays on worldviews, once there is not only one world to be seen, but possible ones.

In this sense, the author considers that anthropology should not consider, from start, solid discourses on, for example, the nature of social relations, but that it should have only a vague idea of what is a relation. The question moves, thus, from “how do social relations in a certain context happen?” to “what is constituted as a social relation? More specifically, which terms can be formulated for the relationship between the ‘anthropologist’ and the ‘native’?” (Viveiros de Castro, 2002, p. 12). Thus, the work of the anthropologist is not anymore to interpret but to experiment his own point of view and the other’s. It is, as we will detail further on, taking, after the encounter, his and the other’s point of view into consideration. It is important to highlight that “point of view”, here, is not the same than idea or thinking, but, as pointed out by Viveiros de Castro (1996), the point of view is in the body (p. 9). The author is not talking, therefore, about a thinking experience in the sense of a imaginary entrance by the thinking itself in contact to the other, but to the entrance to the other thinking through the real experience. This experience aims to affirm the rightful equivalence between the anthropologist and the native’s discourses, as well as the mutually constituting condition of both discourses, which can only come to exist as such when entering a knowledge relationship.

Anthropological concepts, therefore, are not the result of an interpretation, but express a relation and are, because of that, completely relational, both in their expression and content. The relation, however, is non-dialectical, such as the Hegelian proposal of the master and slave relation. We could approach it - although not dwelling long on the theme - as a kind of dialectic without synthesis, recalling the articulation that Merleau-Ponty (1945/2011) traces between body and mind. In this sense, the relation which Viveiros de Castro (2002) refers to is the one that creates both cultures in question. The anthropological knowledge is, therefore, relational as it deals with the affect of relations that mutually constitute the subject that knows and the one who supposedly will be known. For the author, all relationship is a transformation, an updating of a possible world.

But how to proceed in the practical field, facing this scenario and taking into account the ethnography as a dense description? The answer by Viveiros de Castro (2015) is assertive: “always leave a way out for the people you are describing” (p. 8). It is curious that, in the lecture named “Who’s afraid of the ontological Wolf? Some comments on an ongoing anthropological debate” (Viveiros de Castro), not yet translated into Portuguese, the author directly mentions Winnicott. Inspired by this psychoanalyst’s considerations, Viveiros de Castro (2015) proposes that ethnographers should base themselves in a sufficiently good description. It means not explaining the paradoxes, in the sense of allowing oneself not to ask what am I and what is the other, but to experience an area of undefined frontiers, a third area of creativity (corelated to the Winnicottian potential space).

We have found, at this point, an indication that may create questions for the field of research in psychoanalysis. It is important to highlight, however, that the rich discussion brought forth by Viveiros de Castro brings up a series of other questions in the psychoanalysis field, be it on the notion of intersubjectivity (widely discussed nowadays), be it in the corporeity domain (also very currently dear) or even in the domain of psychoanalytical diagnosis. The last domain as very well discussed by Christian Dunker (2011), by proposing the notion of “ways of life” in the sense of taking distance, in the Lacanian diagnosis field, from a neurotic-centered, androcentric and totemist-naturalist perspective. We indicate, for further studies, to deepen even further on these other debates, since, in this article, the aim is to specifically discuss issues regarding the research in psychoanalysis.

Clinical exploration

As aforementioned, based on the considerations by Roussillon (2013), research in psychoanalysis frequently suffers of an excess of respect for theory. Well, could not the critique that Viveiros de Castro traced on the hierarchical difference between the native and the anthropologist’s discourses be also made to the analyst’s discourse in relation to the analyzed one? Would we not be, in the psychoanalytical research, by overly valuing our masters, bearing a key that aims to unveil the sense carried but not known, by the patient? How can this question be expressed in the research field?

An important discussion highlighted by Roussillon (2013) approaches precisely the word research in the psychoanalytical field. According to the author, to research is to look for something. That is, when one talks about a research, that person has hypothesis of what there are looking for; in a certain way, the outcome is already implicit from start. The notion of hypothesis, although sometimes necessary, must be questioned, given that one takes the risk of reducing the field found to the hypothetical formulations, preventing the field itself to raise questions not covered by the hypothesis. In return, the author suggests the verb to explore, used by Winnicott (1969/1994) in the notion of psychoanalytical exploration. This notion indicated that one does not know what will be found, or even if something will be found at all. Thus, room is made for a creative space that has as a presumption to accept to learn things with the patients (Roussillon. 2014, p. 43). Moreover, also according to Roussillon (2014), based on this perspective, the assertion that the clinic is not a research practice is inverted. This happens because, even though we learn what are neuroses, limit-cases, repression, and fantasy, we never face these concepts themselves. What one faces is a lived experience, a discourse, a body or - to use Dunker’s words (2011) - a way of life. Through this view, clinical exploration becomes nodal to the field which is more widely called research in psychoanalysis.

Given that, it is necessary for a research in psychoanalysis to be based on, above all, issues related to clinical practice1. That is, a research that involves an exploration based on the clinical meeting. It is precisely the possibility of overlapping the interests by the clinic to the research, making it a possibility only when coordinated to the psychoanalytical experience.

Psychoanalytical experience

Now, then, we follow to the second part of the work’s title: “establishing dialogues between perspectivism and psychoanalytic experience”. The word experience could have gone unnoticed, however, its presence in this sentence is not simply routine, since giving the notion of experience a central role in psychoanalytical theory and clinical practice helps us to glimpse a path dialoguing to the critique made both by Viveiros de Castro, in the anthropology domains, and by Roussillon, regarding the research in psychoanalysis. But what does the notion of experience in psychoanalysis mean? Given that the aim is not to elucidate such matter in this article, we indicate some considerations that aim to help one in reflecting on psychoanalytic research.

In the article “The aims of psycho-analytical treatment”, Winnicott (1962/1983) defends the psychoanalytical process predominantly as the possibility of experiencing. The experience which the author refers to does not concern an individual or solipsist experience. According to the indications by Naffah Neto (2007), all experiences are produced in the potential space (p. 231). Even though it is possible to discuss a pre-reflexive experience that dispenses with the potential space, this affirmation highlights that the experience cannot be considered an individual experience. The experience, when coordinated to the potential space, is not located in the individual psychic reality, nor on the external relationships of the individual (Naffah Neto, 2007), since the potential space, as defined by Winnicott (1953/1988), is the intermediary area where it is not necessary to distinguish between what is internal and what comes form the external world. The potential space is built under a time, more than spatial, rationale, that is, it is not a place, but a possibility of experiencing a time the brings together past, present, and future, and updates creatively new times and - why not - new possible worlds.

To affirm that psychoanalysis consists on an experience connected to the potential space creates a dislocation of the idea that understands the clinical object as the symbol of what was repressed or even as the symbolization through meaning-making. Given that the experience is not something that occurs internally, but in the transitional space. It means, then. Pointing out that the psychoanalytical practice does not concern only the analyst, nor only the analyzed person. Roussillon’s notions (2008), on the interplay, as well as Ogden’s (1994), with the idea of the analytical third, point out precisely this. The last author, dialoguing to the Winnicottian thinking, affirms that the analyst and the analyzed person compose a third analytical2, in his words: “a third subject, unconsciously co-created by analyst and analysand, which seems to take on a life of its own in the interpersonal field between analyst and patient” (Ogden, 1994, pp. 11-12)3. The third is, therefore, a heterogenous unit. It is not, however, two subjects who create a third, is it precisely the creation of a third that exposes the tensions between both of them4; in Ogden’s words (1994): “there is no analyst, no analysand, no analysis in the absence of the third” (p. 63). The question, thus, does not lie on dividing the elements that constitute the analytical relation in an effort to determine which qualities belong to each participant individually, but the analytical practice, in this point of view, involves “an attempt to describe as fully as one can the specific nature of the experience of the interplay of individual subjectivity and intersubjectivity” (Ogden, 1994, p. 64, emphasis added).

Given that, the analytical practice does not aim to interpret or construct, but it concerns, above all, making certain happenings go through the area of experience - therefore, the area of original creativity (Naffah Neto, 2007). The analysts, in this case, ceases to be seen as someone who has an interpretation key for the meaning the analysand bears, but does not know. Their theoretical assumptions, devices and methods must be updated (or not) in this interplay created along with the patient. Such dislocation has significant consequences for the research in psychoanalysis, once it takes distance from a validation or not of a theory to allow a type of exploration. For Roussillon (2014), if one does not take into account what happens between two subjects, all models are false. Or approximate ones (p. 57). Also according to the author, the research places itself in clinical practice by suspecting of certain devices we take as true, or even fetishize.

To understand clinical practice as experience is being able to question theoretical assumptions, exploring - and not necessarily researching - the blind spots of our own postulates. In this sense, paraphrasing Viveiros de Castro (2002), the “art of psychoanalysis” becomes the art of determining the issues brought forth by each analytical relation, and not of finding solutions for issues posed by the theory.

An example…

Facing the theoretical scope discussed, we will debate some aspects concerning a clinical research in psychoanalysis, in the sense of coordinating certain issues raised during its investigation process to what was exposed in the previous sections. It is a research that was begun by the Núcleo de Estudos em Psicanálise e Clínica da Contemporaneidade (NEPECC - Center of Studies in Psychoanalysis and Contemporaneity Clinic)5, in 20146. This investigation, still on going, has as its object the psychoanalytical care offered to subjects that reached the center complaining of compulsion. It is necessary to highlight that this word is widely used by such subjects to qualify their various modalities of suffering and to make them tangible. Despite the many interest areas raised by this research, we will discuss only one of its elements: the transformation in the team’s point of view on what they though they intended to investigate. This happens because, as we previously highlighted, even though theoretical hypotheses are sometimes important, it is necessary to be attentive to the experience that creates new possible worlds, not only between the analyst and the analysand, but between the research project and the act of researching.

In this sense, we intend to transmit to the reader a path in which the changes in certain positions is more important than explaining the places to be surpassed in a trajectory. In agreement to the authors discussed in this article, we aimed at taking distance from the notion that the act of researching indicates a defined finishing line, exemplified by a hypothesis to be confirmed, refuted, or even simply assessed. Out hypotheses were only the witness of our pre-conceptions, of the contextual condensation of who we were and what we were facing when we decided to begin our journey. This journey, however, has a previous history, a narrative that can be told and some issues that symbolized the motivation to begin such movement.

Since 2002, we use a methodological tool developed by ourselves, and inserted in the field of qualitative methodologies for research. It is the “Psychoanalytical study of multiple clinical cases”7, which consists broadly on the investigation of clinical cases as the guiding north of hypotheses and research production. It is important to highlight that our clinical research designs have, up to now, always become crucial to a criterion around which the reception of subjects for treatment must be performed. Usually, this criterion, sometimes called a filter, is a suffering index that condenses subjective elements pointing out the symptomatic field. Choosing this filter indicates a “pre-concept”, a series of expectations by us, the result of which always being an mismatched encounter. To support this mismatch is the basic task of such a research. Maybe even better than the expression mismatch, it is highlighting, above all, a relationship that inevitably creates, as we have mentioned, a possible world. It is necessary, however, to consider that the criterion used to receive our clients will determine completely the framework used for all findings built, for any kind of data interpretation, for all contributions that, by chance, may be given to literature for all aspects underlined in the singular clinical meetings, which are our main target.

In a research previous to our study on compulsion, we have explored the universe of shame based on psychoanalytical care of subjects with psychiatric diagnose of social phobia (Andrade, Pacheco-Ferreira & Verztman, 2013, 2014; Pinheiro, Verztman, Venturi & Barbosa, 2006; Verztman, 2013, 1014; Verztman, Herzog & Pinheiro, 2009). When we begun this investigation, the shame theme did not appear consistently on psychoanalytical literature8. Clinical data of a previous research (Pinheiro, Verztman & Barbosa, 2006; Pinheiro et al., 2006; Verztman, Pinheiro, Barbosa, Jordão & Montes, 2007; Verztman et al., 2006) had made us suppose that shame could be an index of narcissistic suffering in a clinical and cultural context where the exposition to the gaze of an anonymous other would increasingly acquire more traumatizing potential.

Within this context, a young timid patient pointed out, through symptoms related to trichotillomania, that the action dimension could also run autonomous from associativity up to a certain point. That was how, in mid-2013, after finishing our research on timid subjects, we decided to use, as reception criteria for a new research, the theme of compulsion9, widening its spectrum to cover what psychiatrists call alterations in impulse control. We have formulated as exclusion criteria complaints related to eating disorders, as well as to substance use dependency. We have proceeded as such for these symptomatic conditions were better mapped and discussed in our field, besides demanding specificities in clinical handling, which could disperse us of our investigative work.

It is important to point out a distinctive trait of this investigation in relation to the others. The compulsion symptom - unlike the universes investigated in previous researches, as the shame, somatic diseases, as lupus, or even melancholia ones - is an invention of psychoanalysis. It is the most sophisticated symbol of the presence of the Freudian unconscious in the action field. The clinical case of the “Rat Man” (Freud, 1909/1976) has consolidated in a unprecedented way the function of the psychic conflict in the origins of a neurosis, descripted in a exemplary way. We have prepared ourselves, thus, to receive prominently obsessive subjects, even if they were not ipsis litteris representants of the obsessive neurotic described by Freud. We supposed that we would find heterogenous aspects in this clinic when compared to the classic model, frailties in the narcissistic constitution that were little treated by the father of psychoanalysis but that were intuited by post-Freudian authors, besides the hope of receiving subjects for treatments that were less defined by the oedipal model (even though they were not the majority of cases), which would allow us to do a comparative activity so dear to our work process. We had, however, great surprises.

Up to now, we have received seven subjects for attendance; five of them are still under our care. The heterogeneity of relational modalities and subjective styles found in these patients is unprecedent in the fifteen years the NEPECC has functioned. The first point that caused us strangeness was the fact that, even though six subjects were undergoing psychiatric treatments due to the diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), only in one of them we have perceived the presence of elements that made us supposed some closeness to the obsessive clinical style familiar to psychoanalysis. We already expected to find some disjunction between obsessive neuroses and OCD. However, this disjunction has reached levels never conceived by us.

We have highlighted four of these cases, the elements of which seem to us clearer, and formulated different diagnostic hypothesis for each one of them within the psychoanalytical nosology. When we perceived the used we had made of the diagnostic/nosology apparatus to describe our clinic, we went through a second moment of strangeness. We could not let go of the initial localization that the diagnostic circumscription produces. It guides us, partly, as to certain care and indicates tools we can use in the treatment. On the other hand, the diagnosis can acquire a certain excessive glow in our gaze and blind us to central issues brought forth by these subjects. We believe that the role of diagnosis in our research will always be a tension point, which brings us together and drives us away from each other. We hope that a better adjustment to our research subjects will place the diagnosis in a little significant role for describing and analyzing our findings.

Given this scenario, we have perceived that the team’s first reaction to this unexpected heterogeneity was to look for other expressions to characterize the nosology field. Subjective styles, relational models, psychic organizations, among others, were used spontaneously instead of any more usual and technical term that could characterize a type of classification process. We do not intend to discuss the hard and complex theme of psychoanalytical diagnosis. We simply aim to highlight that meeting these patients has produced an interpretation effect in our team, putting some of our assumptions in suspension, in this case, the diagnosing activity itself.

Although it is not possible to go deeper in the description of heterogeneity of clinical styles - as we prefer to call it - it is important to highlight that the effects of researching on the researchers are not limited to this point. We remind that six of our seven subjects have received the same psychiatric diagnosis of OCD. Despite that, this is the first investigation in which we have intuited to be in face of a psychotic subject. The almost complete lack of neurosis and the match to psychotic and melancholic characteristics, as well as the limit-cases in its place, has shaken many of our previous beliefs to the investigation. Beliefs that call out to the construction of the obsessive neurosis category itself in our discipline. Beliefs that need to be constantly reviewed so that the encounter with what is unique can happen in our clinical practice. We highlight the importance of facing the act of researching as the production of an indetermination field, where one cannot recognize oneself after having begun the journey. Meeting the researched subjects, the possible worlds, has transformed both the researchers and the research’s hypothesis. Thus, only when it is possible to become another in ourselves, through this encounter, can we perceive ourselves as researchers, specially in the field of clinical research.

Final remarks

Lastly, it is necessary to highlight that we do not intend to closely associate the proposals discussed by Viveiros de Castro in the scope of anthropology to the report of a clinical practice mentioned as an example. We do, however, consider that the discussions raised in the field of Amerindian perspectivism bring extremely relevant contributions to the discussion on clinical research in psychoanalysis. This happens because, as we have highlighted in NEPECC’s experience, it is important to make room for the encounter between research hypothesis and the investigated field to transform our own conception. The starting point, thus, is only a supporting point, unfortunately unavoidable when one intends to sail on such vast seas. It does not confer any safety as to its own fairness as a right measure for the encounter with the world.

The field of research in psychoanalysis is extensive - this article is, thus, far from bringing consistent contribution for the field as a whole. It intended only to indicate some possible contributions of Amerindian perspectivism for clinical research, illustrated by the report of a experience. We indicate, thus, the possibility of continuing this rich conversation. We hope that, based on this perspective, the research in psychoanalysis will be able to glimpse a path in the direction of creating possible worlds, to use Viveiros de Castro’s expression, and not only to confirm questions posed by the hypothesis themselves, or the worlds of its masters and followers.


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1It is clear that there are other methodologies for research in psychoanalysis. However, we aim to highlight the clinical research as a significant field in the sense of overlapping the clinical meeting to the psychoanalytical theory.

2It is important to emphasize that it is not a triangulation, such as the oedipal triangulation.

3For a better deepening on this matter, it would be necessary to trace a brief path that has inspired the notion. A path that begun with the notion of projective identification by Melanie Klein, reviewed by Wilfred Bion and, later on, by André Green.

4It is clear that the analytical third should not be understood as a third subject, but as a temporalized space, just as the potential space.

5The works by this Center can be accessed at

6The project was named “Estudo psicanalítico das compulsões em pacientes com diagnóstico psiquiátrico de TOC e patologias afins: uma pesquisa exploratória”, approved by the Research Ethics Committee (CEP) of the Institute of Psychiatry of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (IPUB-UFRJ), in the same year.

7For further details on this methodological tool, see Verztman et al. (2006), Verztman (2013), and Verztman and Viana (2014).

8It is possible to cite Tisseron’s book (1992) as a significant stimulus to our endeavor.

9In the following year, we presented the project to the Research Ethics Committee.

Received: October 25, 2017; Accepted: June 14, 2018

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