For family and network
Wherever possible, we counsel and involve the family and networks that our patients have in the treatment provided. After all, these people have known the patient the longest and know him best too. They play a major role in the life of the patient both during and after treatment. The family is able to provide relevant information about the patient’s childhood and background. Added to this, the family will be able to watch the patient take his first steps back into society. Each patient and his family are allocated a fixed counsellor. This counsellor will keep in contact with the family and the referring organisations, such as the Dutch Probation Service or other mental healthcare institutions.
The forensic network counsellor
If you are a relative and have questions or would like to discuss something, the forensic network counsellors are your first point of contact. Network counsellors do not talk just about the patient, but also listen to what relatives and people from the patient’s network have to say. Where necessary, they will refer these individuals to organisations like support groups for victims and their surviving relatives. By doing this, counsellors help individuals close to patients to find the support they need. Experience shows that strong families function better and are able to offer patients a better safety net. The network counsellors keep families up-to-date and involve them in important treatment milestones. For example, if a patient has completed an important therapy group, or when supervised or unsupervised leave are imminent. Our network counsellors also have an ‘outreaching’ role, which means that they also do house visits.
Working with the patient and his network
The network counsellor work towards the achievement of successful treatment and safety. This happens in collaboration with the patient and his network. If visitors do not observe the rules or do not want to collaborate, the network counsellor will be able to impose restrictions, resulting in fewer or no visits for a period of time.
Supervised visits and leave
The forensic network counsellors are sometimes present at supervised visits. This is possible, for example, if family members are finding it difficult to start visiting a patient. This might be because family members have been the victims of the patient in question. Forensic network counsellors may also accompany patients on supervised leave. In this situation, network counsellors will ensure that patients do not visit any areas or places that are out of bounds to them because of the great risk of a confrontation with victims or surviving relatives. Both families and the patients themselves may ask a network counsellor to be present at a visit or leave. Where possible, network counsellors also try to restore contacts. They do this because this is important for those around patients and because it is good for patients to have a network.
Van der Hoeven Kliniek is onderdeel van De Forensische Zorgspecialisten