Perestrello, Danilo (1916-1989)

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Danilo Perestrello, the Brazilian psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and university professor, was born in Rio de Janeiro on February 28, 1916, and died there on February 10, 1989.

Perestrello practiced as a general practitioner for the first few years of his working life before becoming a psychiatrist. Late in 1946 he left for Buenos Aires in order to train as a psychoanalyst. When he returned to Brazil in 1949 he was already an associate member of the Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina (APA) and became a full member in 1953. At the International Congress of Psychoanalysis held in London in 1953, Perestrello was the only Brazilian to present work that was published in the International Journal of PsychoAnalysis. In 1957 he was one of the founders of the Sociedade Brasileira de Psicanálise study group in Rio de Janeiro, which was recognized by the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). In 1959 he and his colleagues from the study group founded the Sociedade Brasileira de Psicanálise de Rio de Janeiro (SBPRJ). He became a training analyst in 1960. Perestrello presented many purely psychoanalytic studies in addition to those devoted to psychosomatic questions. For more than ten years he was in charge of the Institute's seminars based on Freud's work.

His interest in psychosomatic questions predated his becoming a psychoanalyst. In 1958 he published his work entitled Medicina psicosomática (Psychosomatic medicine), which was translated into Spanish and published in Buenos Aires.

In the same year he organized and directed the Center for Psychosomatic Medicine attached to the chair of clinical medicine in the federal university of Rio de Janeiro. In 1965 he was one of the architects and founders of the Associação Brasileira de Medicina Psicosomática (ABMP). The founding assembly held in São Paulo elected him as its first president.

In 1974 he published Medicina da pessoa (Medicine of the person), which became the conceptual source behind the teaching of psychosomatic medicine in Brazil's leading medical faculties. The first edition of the Revue psychosomatique was devoted to him.

His university teaching was always based on clinical cases. Perestrello manifested an immense respect for his students and patients. He cut a peerless figure in the lecture hall. A brilliant orator, he never failed to capture the attention of his audience. After 1976, already ill and retired from active life, he was elected honorary president of the ABMPE and, in 1986, honorary president of the Brazilian Psychoanalytic Association (ABP). In 1987 his students, wife, and son selected and published his most important works.

As a humanist, Perestrello always exalted human beings; as a doctor, his patients; and as a psychoanalyst, the analyst-patient relation.

MarÍa de Lourdes Soares O'Donnell

See also: Brazil.


Perestrello, Danilo. (1954). Headache and primal scene. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 35, 219-223.

. (1969). Sigmund Freud medico. Revista Uruguaya de Psicoanálisis, 11, 3-4.

. (1973). Contribuição da psicanalise a medicina. Revista Latina-Americana de Psicanálise, 5,3.

. (1974). A medicina da Pessoa. Rio de Janeiro : Livraria Atheneu.

. (1987). Trabalhos escolhidos. Rio de Janeiro : Livraria Atheneu.

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Perestrello, Danilo (1916-1989)

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