Since 1987 we have been using our expertise in the fields of psychology and social science to study and analyze the changes occurring in contemporary society.
A great deal of our work focuses on phenomena such as social hardship, marginalization, deviance, discrimination and racism not only because tending to those in need is inherent from a clinical perspective but also because we feel a strong commitment from a social and ethical point of view. When we first started dealing with these social phenomena the psychoanalytic paradigm was still culturally dominant. Now, after many years, although the innovative capacity of psychoanalysis seems to have diminished, it is evident that many of the concepts it introduced are still widely recognized.
During the past thirty years the world has changed considerably: phenomena which were only just starting to emerge, such as immigration, have now become structural; families are now configured in ways which were unimaginable in the past; certain sexual behaviors, although still widely stigmatized, have now gained a facade of tolerance; the revolution in communications and travel has completely changed the world. And yet, the tragedy of social and individual suffering is continuously being renewed. We are forever having to witness the humiliation of people stripped of their dignity, situations of unacceptable poverty, stolen childhoods and the constant struggle of the educational and rehabilitative services. Thus, it is necessary, using various theoretical approaches, to regard the complexity of these phenomena. Psychoanalysis for example, when it does not slip into a merely conciliatory and consoling dimension but maintains its explanatory power, is capable of just that, looking into the Acheron of human destinies. We have been able to put all this into practice thanks to a multitude of National and European projects covering a variety of issues such as; juvenile unrest, immigration and integration policies, deviance and the justice systems, education and the battle against school dropout, voluntary work and active citizenship. Working on these projects has allowed us to come into contact and collaborate with colleagues from other research institutes and universities, people from whom we have learned greatly and with whom we have, in some cases, also formed strong bonds.
Registered as a Private Research Institute at the MIUR, the National Education, University and Research Ministry, we operate both in Italy and in Europe with local, regional and National public administrations, universities and public and private research centers.
Who can still be so haughty and foolish to believe in “ the princely progress of human race” (G.Leopardi)
And yet, we want to continue to cherish that dream and keep striving to promote individual and social wellbeing; foster human rights and dignity, promote the effective rights to opportunities and support those in need.
We would like those who work towards similar goals and undertake our same path to consider us as fellow travelers and perhaps, at times, even a useful shoulder to lean on.
Brecht sings the praise of doubt but warns against those who doubt in order to avoid a decision.
The endless decisions we are asked to make each day and which, more importantly, are asked of our politicians and public administrators underline the responsibility of the decision making process. In their case especially, decisions should be made thoughtfully, on an informed basis and geared towards promoting the wellbeing of people. Thus, bearing in mind Brecht’s considerations on the subject, it is better to doubt one’s sense of responsibility than to shy away from it altogether.
Our aim is to support whoever has to define an intervention method or is in a decision or policy making position by offering our skills in the research field. By gathering the relevant information on their behalf, we can offer our partners the facts and possible options in order to make their decisions. Those in a decision making position must accept that the consequences of their decisions fall upon society. A society which is made up of individuals who each have their own personal backgrounds, issues and needs. These people, who in some instances are not even certain of their own individuality, nonetheless want to be recognized in their own right. Thus, we aspire to recognize the precious individuality of people and preserve it as much as possible, for it is individuality which creates the multi-textured fabric of society. We also realize the importance of picking up on new social phenomena, analyzing them in a clear and concise way in order to understand their causes and possible effects. From our analyses, which strive to be neither assertive nor definitive, we offer operational indications of which, instead, there are obvious consequences and responsibilities.
The key elements to accomplish our work are; the balance necessary of mediation; the logic of boundaries, proper to sociology; the ability to listen, borrowed from the practice of psychology; the propensity towards synthesis, used in medical-scientific studies; the awareness of development times regarding people and structures, typical of pedagogical science; and lastly, humility, which should be the basis for every human endeavor. To paraphrase the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, without humility, nothing else matters.