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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 103-105

Integrative Community Therapy in the Time of the New Coronavirus Pandemic in Brazil and Latin America

1 Brazilian Association of Social Psychiatry; Department of Community Mental Health, WASP, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará; Creator of the Integrative Community Therapy Methodology, João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil
2 Department of Nursing, Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil
3 Brazilian Association of Integrative Community Therapy; Department of Collective Health, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
4 Department of Psychiatry, Montreal University Institute of Mental Health; Department of Psychiatry and Addictions, University of Montreal, Montréal, Québec, Canada; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA; President, Canadian Association of Social Psychiatry; President-Elect, World Association of Social Psychiatry

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Adalberto de Paula Barreto
Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_46_20

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With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity experienced, at the same time, social confinement as a way to protect itself and the vulnerability of human life and institutions. In the past, overcoming calamities was done by being together, and now, with this pandemic, the form of protection is the opposite, social isolation. Over the past 27 years in Brazil, we have developed integrative community therapy (ICT) as a psychosocial intervention within the Brazilian Public Health System that is implemented in various contexts marked by the rupture of social bonds. The techniques of ICT, which have always had an essentially experiential character in face-to-face encounters, now need to be reinvented. To deal with the pandemic, ICT was offered to the general public virtually, with the following objectives: To strengthen bonds and build support networks; to minimize stigma and prejudices toward affected persons, encouraging empathy; and to offer a listening space by professionals involved in the fight against COVID-19. In March and April 2020, we conducted 100 sessions online with 3579 participants from 15 countries. The most frequent concerns expressed were fear and anxiety (53%), helplessness (30%), problems in dealing with family relationships (10%), and loneliness (7%). The techniques of virtual ICT became a support network for instilling hope for those in social confinement and moreover for discovering unknown potentials to transform life's adversities. Conducted in 15 countries and in four languages, emotional reactions were similar everywhere, demonstrating that pain and suffering have no frontiers and unite us in our humanity.

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