1. ABOUT DE WAAG
De Waag is the oldest and largest centre for outpatient forensic psychiatry in the Netherlands, and provides a perspective for clients and those around them. The policlinic contributes to a safer society by working to achieve lasting changes in the behaviour of clients. 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. Our staff provide effective and transparent treatments, focusing on the risk and where possible also involving the client’s personal environment in the treatment.
Clients come to de Waag for various reasons. Some come voluntarily or with a referral from their family doctor, others are referred by the police or the judiciary, due to issues such as domestic violence, aggression outside the family, sexually transgressive behaviour or other criminal behaviour. Some clients feel apprehensive about their first visit to de Waag. Perhaps they themselves have not decided to undergo treatment and they now wonder what awaits them. This usually changes when they discover that the therapists treat them with respect and aim to work seriously with them to achieve change. Research consistently shows that almost all clients find that they benefit from treatment at de Waag and that they feel comfortable there.
2.1. Working to achieve change
What does treatment at de Waag involve? During the treatment and together with the therapist, a client not only works to prevent relapse into criminal behaviour, but also to solve problems in structural terms. Some people, for instance, have got into difficulties because they are in a bad relationship or because they are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Others suffer from depression or ADHD. If nothing is done about these problems, then there is a significant chance of an offence being repeated. This is why de Waag offers clients a treatment package that is as comprehensive as possible. Sometimes it is necessary to support the treatment with medicaments.
2.2. The range of treatment
Working on the basis of years of experience, the therapists at de Waag have developed targeted and scientifically underpinned treatment methods. The range of treatment is divided into three lines of care: Domestic Violence, Violence and Aggression, and Transgressive Sexual Behaviour. There are opportunities for individual therapeutic counselling, for relationship therapy for partners and for family therapies. A wide range of group treatments is also offered.
Sometimes it may be necessary to support the treatments with medicaments, for instance when treating ADHD or to reduce irritability.
3. EMPHASIS ON EXPERTISE
As a part of De Forensische Zorgspecialisten, de Waag is continually investing in the development of knowledge. Our therapists are always seeking appropriate instruments and interventions for our specific client group and they translate these to the Dutch situation. But what if there no suitable tools or treatment protocols are available? Then we develop them ourselves. One good example is the 'Veilig en Sterk Verder' (Continuing Safe and Strong; VSV) programme: an integrated approach for children who are suspected or confirmed victims of abuse within the family.
In addition, we apply research to monitor the effectiveness of our instruments. When we have developed knowledge, we record it and share it with others through presentations at conferences and in publications.
4. INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
An interpreter can be provided for people who have difficulties with the Dutch language.
Do you want to know what a treatment at de Waag involves? How often you will come here, whether your partner is allowed to come with you and who we inform about your treatment? Here you can read more about de Waag and our approach.
4.1. FOR ADULT CLIENTS
4.1.1. Your first visit
You may be apprehensive about your first visit to de Waag. You will quickly discover that there is no need to feel this way. Our therapists treat everyone with respect and aim to work seriously with you to achieve change. To begin with, we will establish just what your situation is. A team of experts will then discuss whether de Waag is the right place for you.
4.1.2. The treatment
If you do indeed start a treatment programme at de Waag, then this will always be customized to your needs. We draw up a treatment plan that fits your situation. Many clients visit de Waag once a week on average, especially at the beginning. Later in the treatment this may be less often. For some therapies, for example, there is a treatment session once every two weeks or once a month. A treatment plan may include a limited number of conversations, but it is also possible that you may be in treatment for a few months or for more than a year. This depends on the problem and the number of modules that you take. In cases of sexually transgressive behaviour the therapy often lasts longer.
4.1.3. What the treatment involves
Most treatment sessions consist of conversations. These may be one-to-one conversations with a therapist, or also group discussion sessions. The individual conversations last three-quarters of an hour, while the group sessions last one and a half hours. In these we work not only to prevent criminal behaviour, but also to solve problems at the structural level.
4.1.4. Confidentiality of information
The therapists at de Waag are obliged to maintain confidentiality. This means they are not allowed to provide information about you to third parties, such as your employer. Only the party who referred you (e.g. the judiciary) and the family doctor receive information about your treatment. But there is an exception, namely if you pose a danger to yourself or those around you. In that case the therapist may report this to a relevant authority.
4.1.5. Your family
If domestic violence is an issue, it often makes sense for your partner to come to de Waag as well. Certainly if you wish to stay together in the future or if you wish to continue caring for your children together. However, this also depends on the wishes of your partner. If you have children together, we can also involve these in the treatment. The main reason for this is because we want to help create a safe environment in which all members of the family can live together comfortably.
4.1.6. How can you register at de Waag?
A single telephone call suffices to register someone at de Waag. A referrer (such as a family doctor or someone from the rehabilitation service, from the police or from a healthcare institution) calls a branch of de Waag and registers a client. The referrer asks to speak to one of the intake staff and explains the reason for the client’s registration. In the following two weeks the client usually receives a written invitation to an intake interview at de Waag.
4.1.7. Young people
Various specialized treatments are offered to young people. These include Equip treatments or Multi System Therapy (MST), in which teams at de Waag are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Information specifically for young people is given below.
4.2. FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
4.2.1. Will you be visiting de Waag soon?
Then you’ll certainly want to know more about us! About what you can expect from the treatment, who will receive information about you and how often you need to come. We answer your questions here.
4.2.2. Why must I visit de Waag?
Most young people who come to us are referred by the Youth Care Agency, by the judicial system or the family doctor. They have done something criminal or they are in danger of coming into contact with the judicial system. Sometimes they also have difficulty listening to others, they find it hard to concentrate, they use drugs or they quickly get angry or aggressive.
4.2.3. What happens at de Waag?
We invite you for a first interview (intake conversation) to see just what your situation is. Your parents or guardians will also be present at this first interview. We then talk to an expert team of psychologists, psychiatrists and other therapists to see whether we can help you, and if so, then what treatment would be best. Most treatment sessions involve conversations. You can talk to a therapist, or talk in a group of people who are your own age. We talk not only about the criminal acts themselves, but also about how these came about. And you see how you can prevent this behaviour happening in the future.
4.2.4. Who gets information about me?
We are obliged to maintain confidentiality. This means that in most cases we are not allowed to give information about you to other people. We do give information about how your treatment is going to the people who referred you, such as the family doctor or the judicial workers and your parents. We tell them about the progress of the treatment in general terms and about the goals we are working towards. We don’t go into details here. However, if you really pose a danger to yourself or others then we must report this.
4.2.5. Must my parents come to de Waag as well?
We always involve your parents or guardians in the treatment. They come with you to the first appointment and are also regularly invited during the treatments. We talk to them about the progress of the treatment. In consultation with your therapist, we find out which things in your treatment you want or do not want to discuss with your parents or guardians. If there are other people who are important to you, we can involve them in the treatment process as well. This often leads to a better result.
4.2.6. How often and for how long?
Most young people visit de Waag once a week. That may be for a conversation with a therapist or for a group meeting. A treatment session lasts up to three quarters of an hour, while a group session lasts for one and a half hours. The length of your treatment at de Waag depends on several things. As soon as possible in the treatment we tell you how long we think your treatment will last. Usually this is somewhere between six months and one year.
4.2.7. Other important things…
De Waag is a place where therapists work. We are not the police or the judiciary, we don’t punish you or give you advice, and we don’t condemn you. You come to us because someone has registered you – maybe your parents, or maybe the police or people from the judiciary. Whoever it is, they think we can help you to deal with your problems. You come to us to get treatment. However, we have to notify these other people if you don’t keep to the agreements we make with you. But that’s not our real aim. We prefer to help you achieve your goals. In a positive way.
5. Getting in touch with us
De Waag has a number of branches. Click here for the addresses and other contact information.
de Waag is onderdeel van De Forensische Zorgspecialisten