Roberto Freire (psychiatrist)

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For the Brazilian politician, see Roberto Freire.

Roberto Freire (São Paulo, b. January 18, 1927; São Paulo, d. May 23, 2008) was a medical psychiatrist and Brazilian writer, who created somatherapy (Portuguese: somaterapia), also referred to as SOMA, an anarchist therapy based on the then radical new ideas of Wilhelm Reich, as well as the Brazilian martial art Capoeira Angola.

Brazilian intellectual life is marked by the intense multiplicity of his work. Anarchist, writer, dramaturg, journalist, doctor, psychiatrist, ex-psychoanalyst, he also worked with theatre, television & cinema. His long & rich trajectory was always characterised by his effort in combining the ideology of pleasure (‘tesão’) with his scientific & artistic work.

As a writer, Roberto Freire reached great recognition. He wrote several essays, short stories, children stories & romances. His novels (Cléo e Daniel (1965), Coiote (1986), Os cúmplices (1995/6, two volumes), & Liv e Tatziu), conferred him great popularity. In psychology & politics, he has several books of essays, such as ‘Ame e Dê Vexame’ (1987), ‘Utopia e Paixão’ (1991), ‘Tesudos de Todo Mundo, Uni-vos!’ (1995).

As a filmmaker, he wrote, co-produced & directed the feature film ‘Cléo e Daniel’. In all his work, books, articles, plays the main themes are usually love, creation & freedom.

During the dictatorship in Brazil, Roberto Freire had an important political & cultural role. He took part in many subversive groups from 1963 to 1979 & was arrested & tortured 13 times, leading to the loss of sight in his right eye.