The Author analyses the outcomes of patient participation in research groups investigating social and psychiatric exclusion. Methods: multiple participatory observation. The patients followed a brief course in research methodology with a final examination, and were awarded a modest scholarship. The patients participated to all the steps of the research including the draft of the final report. Results: marked transformational outcomes were observed in all 6 patients, even if in the case of 2 patients, the outcomes were difficult to evaluate due to a shift of the evaluation system under the pressure of the different meanings attributed to dichotomous transformations (e.g. autonomy or adaptation). Conclusion: this research should be carried on with a larger number of patients on the threshold of growing autonomy (e.g. end of treatment; independent decision of leaving the mental health service; eagerness to live on; self-determination in the reorganization of the life program).