Instituto Sedes Sapientiae is an institution that has been building, in its 40 yrs. of existence, a sound work in the areas of mental health, education and philosophy, distinguishing itself by the commitment to analyse and respond to social demands in order to build a society based on the principles of solidarity and social justice.

It was due to Mother Cristina Sodré Doria´s (1916-1997) initiative to create a space for the convergence of thought, action and community services committed to the defence of human rights and freedom of speech that in 1975 Sedes came to be, obtaining it´s legal status in 1977. Since its foundation – as a network of resistance, allowing for the organization of thought and transformative actions to answer to the demands of the time -, and now, through courses and direct social activity freed from pre-established models – Sedes strives to foster citizens conscious of their own desires, duties and rights. It still is a place of resistance – formerly, against the dictatorship, nowadays, against dogmatic thinking that cannot acknowledge or deal with diversity. Its path in defence of human rights made it the birthplace of several social movements in the past three decades, keeping links with many of them.

As a multidisciplinary thought centre and space for continued education and services, Sedes commits, in accordance to its Charter (1978), “to guide all of its activities by the foundational directives that consecrate humankind as a principle, Brazilian social reality as a field of work, the defence of human rights as a method, and freedom as the aim”. This is how Sedes engages in “its share of responsibility in the qualitative transformation of social reality, stimulating all values that accelerate the historical processes of justice, democracy and respect for human rights”.

Centre of excellence in continued studies, Sedes hosts debates on innovative and controversial topics in the areas of mental health and education by means of forums, seminars, debates, study groups and publications. To conceive mental health paradigms that consider the singularity of subjects in a constantly changing world, and to strive to implement new ways of dealing with reality, is the goal and challenge of each and every worker of the Institute, and a reference model for those in training.

More than 200 lecturers, 150 therapists and 40 administrative employees develop their projects in the departments of Art Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Training in Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalysis with Children, Psychodrama, Psychopedagogy and Gestalt Therapy; in the centres of Philosophy (CEFIS), Popular Education (CEPIS), “Cida Romano Centre” (CECIR) and the National Reference Centre for Victims of Violence (CNRVV); in the Social Clinic; in the 38 Specialization or Professional Improvement courses plus more than 40 Cultural Expansion courses.

The Departments, a meeting hub for those interested in continued education, scientific production and debates are responsible, through their members, for the coordination of courses, seminars, scientific events, service projects, study groups, publications and partnerships with other institutions, on direct social actions.

It is through CEPIS – Centro de Educação Popular (Centre of Popular Education), set up for the political education and organization of social movements throughout Brazil, and CECIR – Centro Cida Romano (Cida Romano Centre), set up for adult education, that Sedes carries out its most important community projects. Always linked to social movements, unions and City Halls, these centres are articulated with other institutions in Brazil and Latin America. The Centre of Philosophy, Cefis, offers theoretical subsidies for workers, institutions and social movements by its courses and consulting services. The aim of CNRVV – Centro Nacional de Referência às Vítimas da Violência (National Reference Centre for Victims of Violence) is to combat domestic violence. This reality, that involves a pact of silence that needs to be urgently addressed, makes it crucial to detect and take strong affirmative actions through programs of training, prevention, treatment, research and intervention policies, establishing a network of partnerships within the community.

An important branch of the Sedes’ activities is to offer continued education for graduated professionals; there are more than one thousand professionals enrolled today. The main objective of the faculty is to train professionals capable of carrying on their duties with competence, ethics and dignity. The Specialization and Improvement courses are meant for psychologists, physicians, pedagogues, social workers and others, accessible at different points of their careers. These courses have been replicated in other institutions and universities, proving to be an approach to education that is truly synchronized with the needs of the country. In the Social Clinic students obtain a technical training that is articulated with the ethical and political issues involved in the clinical practice.

The Expansion courses, with duration of three-months approx., are the first steps for those who have specific interests in their professional and personal improvement. Every semester more than 30 Expansion courses are renewed, dealing with specific topics in the areas of philosophy, education and mental health.

Sedes´ Social Clinic is a reference in the mental health field. Besides therapy, it carries out support projects, consulting, professional training and interventions in the community. The hired therapists, interns and psychiatrists that develop their work in the centres, clinic work-groups, projects and reference centres, are also interested in developing research and continued education.

In the Clinic hired professionals and interns take care of children, teenagers and adults, offering a large network of services – psychotherapy, expression workshops, psycho-pedagogical care, vocational guidance, psychiatric care, therapeutic monitoring and specific interventions in eating and psychosomatic disorders, as well as couples therapy. These services are open to all and there are institutional fees for paying patients and symbolic fees for those without means.

The audacity of the approach given to mental health and education has distinguished Sedes´ undertaking. Prioritizing singularity and difference in opposition to massification and individualism confers to the work developed at the Clinic a perspective of responsibility with the times and social reality.

Holding a digitalized online collection linked with other institutions, the “Mother Cristina Library”, founded in 1987, offers bibliographical support for the researches developed by academic members and for all who may have an interest in the area, also lending books to other libraries. A video collection is available for the public and institutions.

The IT sector develops and executes computer programs able to meet the specific needs of each sector, integrating the Institute.

Instituto Sedes Sapientiae is a self-sustainable non-profit organization, legally bound to Associação Instrutora da Juventude Feminina. It´s resources are derived from the courses, partnerships and national and international financing sources. The Board of Directors is composed by six members with three-year mandates, besides an assistant director for the Clinic. There is also an Advisory Board composed by representatives of the Courses Cluster (2), Departments Cluster (2), Social Clinic (2), Employees Cluster (2), and all of the members of the Board of Directors.

It´s self-owned headquarters comprises a 3.500m2 construction built on a 3.000 m2 plot, with 112 rooms available for classes, conferences, meetings, clinical care and administration. There are also 2 amphitheatres, a library and parking space.