Most patients at the hospital are given psychotherapy. We offer individual psychotherapy and group therapy. In individual psychotherapy, the practitioner and the patient consider the course of the patient’s life. This enables us to gain an understanding of patients’ backgrounds and of how they have become who they are. We document this in a so-called cognitive profile. In the offence scenario procedure, we go through offences with the patient in order to ascertain how the patient has got into difficulties. We also work with patients to produce a positive future plan and a reversion prevention plan.

In the positive future plan, patients describe what they want to work towards in relation to living accommodation, work, relationships and leisure activities. This can provide an important source of motivation for change. In the reversion prevention plan, patients describe their pitfalls and how they can avoid them. The individual patient and his psychotherapist present the cognitive profile and the reversion prevention plan to the residential group and to important people from the patient’s network, such as his partner or family. By doing this, people around the patient get to know him better and will be able to support him more in his efforts to work towards the achievement of a positive future. Patients can practise the skills that they learn during therapy on the residential group. The psychotherapists also work closely with the treatment teams.

Risk factors are key

Just as is true of treatment as a whole, psychotherapy focuses on the risk factors applicable. These are the factors that predict reversion to delinquent behaviour. One example of a risk factor is the presence of a criminal network. This increases the likelihood that someone will stray from the path again when he leaves the clinic. As such, one objective for the treatment will be for the patient to distance himself from criminal contacts and to develop a pro-social network. Consideration will be given to matters like this in the therapy provided.

Group therapy

Group therapy focuses on themes or disorders. Examples of theme-based groups are the aggression group and the reversion prevention group for people who have already reached an advanced stage in their treatment. For example, the disorder-related groups focus on people with autism or ADHD. Although these disorders do not directly result in violence, they may cause people to get into difficulties and this is something that these individuals can learn to cope with better.

Van der Hoeven Kliniek is onderdeel van De Forensische Zorgspecialisten