Lisbon Psychosocial Support Centre – Dianova Portugal

Lisbon Psychosocial Support Centre - Dianova Portugal


“Facilitating access to an emotional and relational well-being” – interview with Ana Catarina Baptista, Clinical Psychology and Psychology of Emotions

The work developed by the Psychosocial Support Center (CAP) is assured by a group of qualified professionals who invest in their training, recycling and permanent development. Our team of professionals is vastly experienced in the areas of general healthcare, drug addiction and alcoholism, as well as direct intervention in schools, families and communities in general. This direct and close intervention elicits from our professionals a realistic, pragmatic and up-to-date understanding of the youth, families and everyone in general.

We have a motivated team, oriented towards problem solving centered on people’s abilities and not on the problem or pathology.

  • Jose Almeida Barreiros: Master in Clinical Psychology
  • Ana Catarina Baptista: Master in Clinical Psychology and Psychology of emotions
  • Sandra Cardoso: Social Worker
  • Ana Maria Santos: Bachelor of Special Education and Rehabilitation and Post-graduate in Special Education
  • Dr. Alfredo Frade: Psychiatrist

Staff of the Lisbon Psychosocial Support Centre

How and when was the CAP established?

The CAP project was born in 2011 in a joint effort between technicians and the direction of Associação Dianova Portugal (ADP) with the general objective of providing an answer to the difficulties emerging out of new forms of poverty. Based on the emerging paradigm of social issues, and as a Third Sector organization, ADP aimed, with this project, to intervene in the community in a fruitful and global way offering mental health services which are still not affordable to all. The development and implementation of this social unit has, as a backdrop, the maximization of internal and external resources of the clients supporting, hence, their emotional and psychological healthy growth.

Which professionals form part of the team?

The CAP team consists of a group of motivated and vastly experienced professionals. Permanent professional and personal development is their main guideline and their elements are: a psychiatrist, two psychologists, a social services technician, and a special education and rehabilitation technician.

What is the profile of the people that use this service? What are the main needs detected by the CAP?

In any of its areas of intervention – from childhood to adulthood and in the range of normal to pathological – we work with the idea that each person carries growth potential and that with adequate support and intervention they can find themselves and mature promoting mental health. The intervention is aimed at children, adolescents, adults and families who may find themselves in a situation of emotional and social vulnerability and works in 6 major areas: Psychological Assessment, Psychological Intervention, Intervention in adolescence, Special Educational Needs and Active Retirement Plan.

People are tired and overwhelmed and have a hard time finding a meaning of life and this puts them, not always in a pathology, but very often in internal suffering which may lead to processes of depression and anxiety. These are, therefore, the main reasons that drive people to contact us; they are no longer able to function emotionally, socially, professionally and with their families and this malfunction in different spheres of life spreads out and a healthy living becomes impossible. This is where the Psychological Intervention area, the one with more demand, is triggered.

At the same time, there is also a great demand regarding intervention in children and adolescents, be it at the level of emotional intervention be it at the level of special educational needs. The increase in this type of demand seems to be linked to deterioration of social and family contexts which amplify pre-existing difficulties.

Psychosocial Support Center

What are the results of having services as the CAP?

CAP’s commitment is to facilitate access to an emotional and relational well-being to its beneficiaries and as well as to participate in the creation and implementation of individual and social tools to the general population taking into consideration that the improvement of people’s lives in what concerns emotional and relational development is a powerful instrument of social transformation. While trying to widen its area of intervention, ADP faced itself with the need to decentralize its areas of work and its target-people embracing, therefore, the idea that we live in times of social vulnerability and that we are witnessing a tragic and urgent need to re-think the areas of intervention placing ourselves at the service of social responsibility.

How do you finance these services?

Cooperation protocols have been signed as a result of social responsibility aiming to vehiculate psychotherapeutic and psychosocial intervention as affordable treatment to workers of the partner organizations and their immediate family. The most recent protocols have contributed to reaching CAP’s general and specific goals inasmuch as they allow for a broader access to mental health services to the community (employees and direct family) offering a quality therapeutic work at socially fair prices to people who, for financial reasons see themselves often excluded from projects of individual development.

At the same time it is also possible for private clients to have access to the services at equally socially acceptable prices.

What are the future perspectives for the CAP in the future?

We face new challenges! We predict an increase in cooperation protocols which may further facilitate the access to mental health, we predict and increase in beneficiaries, we predict a broadening of the services to other areas of mental health with particular emphasis on the active retirement plan. It is very important to acknowledge that the CAP is at an early stage and therefore needs to be nurtured in order to grow. Its services, guidelines and orientation are already visible. We are currently finishing implementation which requires a permanent monitoring of work, services and paths chosen as well as being an active part of a world we want to change and that reflects more and more the need for mutual help and communitary support.