Franco da Rocha, Francisco (1864-1933)

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Francisco Franco da Rocha, Brazilian physician and psychiatrist, was born on August 1864 in Amparo, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and died there on April 8, 1933.

Franco da Rocha received his medical degree from the national faculty of medicine of Rio de Janeiro in 1890; he was a student of Teixeira Brandao, commonly considered to be the first Brazilian psychiatrist. Upon his return to São Paulo in 1893, Franco da Rocha was named hospital practitioner at the Hospicio dos Alienados (a mental hospital created by a state law in September 1848); prior to his arrival, only general practitioners had worked at the facility, and there was no specialization in the treatment of psychiatric patients. Franco da Rocha was thus a pioneering psychiatrist and the first specialist to work in a public institution in São Paulo. In 1896 he was named head physician and director of the Hospicio dos Alienados.

That same year he succeeded in establishing an agricultural colony for nearly eighty patients in Sorocaba. This pioneering experiment in the field of work therapy was intended to serve as a pilot for a far more ambitious project: a welfare institution for the mentally ill near São Paulo. Franco da Rocha received government approval for this project and chose as the site a plantation near the railway center of Juquery, the name by which this large psychiatric hospital was first known. Completed in 1902 and since renamed after its founder, the hospital is, as of 2005, still in operation, and many generations of psychiatrists have been trained there. Franco da Rocha served as director of the institution until his retirement in 1923.

Franco da Rocha began his teaching activities in the faculty of medicine of São Paulo in 1913. In 1918 he became that institution's first professor of clinical neuropsychiatry. In his courses, he made the earliest presentations on psychoanalytic doctrine in Brazil. His inaugural lecture in 1919 dealt with Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory. Transcribed and published in the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo on March 20, 1919, under the title "Do delírio em geral" (On delusions in general), it marked the beginning of the dissemination of Freudian thought in São Paulo.

In 1920 Da Rocha published O pansexualismo na doutrina de Freud (Pansexualism in the doctrine of Freud), a popular scientific work that was well received by the general public but that provoked a discreet negative reaction in medical circles. In 1930, on the advice of Durval Marcondes, he published a second edition of this book in which he eliminated the word pansexualism.

According to Marcondes's unpublished biography of Franco da Rocha, "In the presentations he made at this institution, he included a Freudian approach to mental illness, which at the time was something new for us. This was the beginning, in the scientific circles of São Paulo, of the move from an exclusively descriptive and organicist psychiatry toward a psychiatry that was also becoming descriptive and psychodynamic."

Although he was a specialist in Freudian doctrine, Franco da Rocha came into contact with it relatively late in his career and was thus unable to incorporate it into his clinical work.

Fabio Herrmann and Roberto Yutaka Sagawa

See also: Brazil.


Briquet, Raul. (1934). Franco da Rocha e a psicanálise: memórias do Hospital Franco da Rocha. São Paulo, Brazil.

Franco da Rocha, Francisco. (1928). A psicologia de Freud. Revista brasileira de psicanálise, 1 :1.

. (1930). A doutrina de Freud (2nd ed.). São Paulo, Brazil: Companhia Nacional.

Perestrello, Marialzira. (1992a). A psicanálise no Brasil: encontros psicanálise. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Imago.

. (1992b). Histoire de la psychanalyse au Brésil des originesà 1937. Frénésie, 2 (10), 283-304.

Sagawa, Roberto Yutaka. (1996). A construção local da psicanálise. Marília, Brazil: Interior-Psicanálise.

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Franco da Rocha, Francisco (1864-1933)

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