Authors: Bahumi Mogwe-Jansen, Gemke Wijgergangs, Jennifer Pfister, Leila Alkhayat and Kaella Kolle
The following information is based on an Interview with Dr. De Beaufort-Eliens (Psychologist) on September 26, 2018
What is the mission of de Waag?
De Waag aims to contribute to a safer society by supporting their clients, who have been violent in the past or behaved in an unacceptable way, to change their behaviour. Through the prevention of criminal behaviour, the risk of intimate partner violence, domestic violence, aggressive behaviour or sexual behaviour decreases.
What do you do?
De Waag is a formal organization providing psychiatric treatment for clients who exhibit unacceptable behaviour and/or have a criminal past. De Waag helps its clients to prevent falling back into criminal behavior patterns and to “solve problems in structural terms.” These clients, aged 12 and older, exhibit transgressive and/or criminal behaviour and often have (severe) psychological problems. Substance abuse problems may also be an issue. De Waag is the oldest “centre for outpatient forensic psychiatry in the Netherlands.” Treatment at De Waag is usually covered by standard health insurance, treatment for minors is paid for by the municipality. De Waag started in 1992 as the “poli- en dagkliniek van de Van der Hoeven Kliniek”, they started within a TBS-clinic. After a couple years they started getting experienced and more centres were set up in different cities. The growth the organization has experienced did not change their mission: contributing to a safer society.
How do you do your work?
Clients, aged 12 and older, who exhibit aggressive behaviour come either voluntarily or through a referral by the police to De Waag. Experts, including family therapists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists help clients to change their behavioral patterns. Treatment is adjusted to three categories: Domestic Violence, Violence and Aggression, and Transgressive Sexual Behaviour. In the context of Domestic Violence, de Waag only works with adults. Feeling responsible for the wellbeing of the children, who often witness violence between their parents, the treatment aims to stop violence at home. Apart from therapeutic counselling, pair therapies involving both partners and family therapies are offered. In addition, weekly group sessions take place. In some cases, treatment with medications is recommended. After three months, significant changes in the family situation is expected. In case of high tension and a risk to the someone’s physical wellbeing or the risk of traumatization for children, victims of abuse are referred to shelters.
What do you think has been your greatest achievement?
The biggest achievement of de Waag is that judges nowadays sentence people to have behavioural therapy in their verdicts. 25 years ago, no one had ever heard of these therapies.
What do you think is your biggest challenge?
De Waag’s biggest challenge is to continue to provide high-quality therapies in a market where prices are under pressure and competition is growing.
Where can people find more information on your services?
More information, in Dutch and in English, can be found here: https://dewaagnederland.nl/en/.