A brave biography

In this fascinating story in blog format, Janneke describes her search for a cure for her, initially unclear, symptoms.

A fruitless ramble through the Dutch health care system – the Regional Institute for Outpatient Mental Health Care, psychotherapy, psychiatric institutions – leads her to self-help with the therapies of Stettbacher and Jenson (similar to the nowadays better known Byron Katie) to work through the traumas of a childhood filled with psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

Her substantiated view and explanation of her own journey offers valuable insights and handles for therapists and survivors who want to guide themselves. Often a necessity because the pattern of such complex trauma is regularly not properly recognized and treated, causing victims to be labelled and drugged instead of cured.

She has chosen to write her story in English to make this biography of a self-healing available to a wider audience than just a Dutch audience. Please forgive the mistakes of a non-native speaker.

Facts concerning the Dutch National Unit for Special Vice Cases

The Dutch National Unit for Special Vice Cases (in Dutch: the LEBZ) continuously emphasizes that the facts show that there is no evidence that there is such a thing as ritual abuse.


  • Fact is that the LEBZ submitted its last annual report for 2008. Only now, at the urgent request of the Minister of Justice and Security, following a unanimous vote of the House of Representatives, is the LEBZ busy collecting numbers.
  • Fact is that – according to statements from the legal department of the national police – there are no documents available based on which one can derive the facts on which the LEBZ bases its opinion that therapists use suggestive techniques and therefore do not comply with the rules of the Health Council.
  • Fact is that, again according to the national police, there are no documents based on police investigation reports from which the LEBZ derives its statements about retractors.
  • The fact is that it is unknown whether the LEBZ has investigated cases of more than one retractor, and how.
  • The fact is that scientists who are or were affiliated with the LEBZ as consultants, such as Peter van Koppen and Ineke Wessel, do not respond or do not respond substantively to questions asked about the claims they made in the media. Information about discussions around this held by the KTGG with the persons involved is available for inspection.
  • The fact is, therefore, that many of the statements and claims made with great regularity by the LEBZ are not verifiable, so far.
  • It is a fact that the LEBZ makes claims about the composition of their team: multidisciplinary and coming from various fields. It is also a fact that almost all of these experts adhere to the fantasy model to explain DID and write off recovered memories as impossible;
  • The fact is, therefore, that there can indeed be tunnel vision and groupthink when assessing police investigation reports.
  • It is also a fact that none of the consultants or permanent employees has field experience in the treatment of complex dissociative problems. So it is – for the time being – a fact that it is also not verifiable from which perspective these reports are judged.
  • Finally, it is a fact that various articles written by scientists from the Maastricht University were judged negatively in articles by other scientists, and that the former authors did not substantively respond to these criticisms.
  • The fact is, therefore, that the LEBZ’s opinions are based on theories that are internationally not highly regarded.
  • It is also a fact that the vice squad is severely understaffed and has insufficient knowledge about the very complex forms of dissociative problems that result from having undergone organized sadistic abuse.
  • Finally, a factual question is: how can the LEBZ assert their opinions with so much certainty, while only three declarations have been made in the last seven years?

Trauma and Memory, Bessel van der Kolk

When people receive sensory input, they generally automatically synthesize this incoming information into the large store of pre-existing information. If the event is personally significant, they generally will transcribe these sensations into a narrative, without conscious awareness of the processes that translate sensory impressions into a personal story.

Our research shows that in contrast with the way people seem to process ordinary information, traumatic experiences initially are imprinted as sensations or feeling states and are not collated and transcribed into personal narratives.

Both my interviews with traumatized people, and my brain imaging studies of them, seem to confirm that traumatic memories come back as emotional and sensory states, with little capacity for verbal representation.
This failure to process information on a symbolic level, which is essential for proper categorization and integration with other experiences, is at the very core of the pathology of PTSD.

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The New York Times reports

Tech companies are reporting a boom in online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — a record 45 million illegal images were flagged last year [2018] alone — exposing a system at a breaking point and unable to keep up with the perpetrators, an investigation by The New York Times found.

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“Multiple Selves, Multiple Voices”, Phil Mollon

Working with Trauma, Violation and Dissociation

A large number of difficult patients who self-harm and hear voices, but who are not schizophrenic, are sometimes diagnosed as having a borderline personality disorder, but may often be better understood as suffering from trauma-based dissociative disorder, the most extreme form of which is Multiple Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is a book of clinical, theoretical and historical importance. Drawing on exciting recent developments in work on trauma and dissociation, Phil Mollon provides a clinically based conceptual model and account of the therapeutic process with patients whose personalities are structured around trauma and pretence. The complexities and hazards of the process are fully considered, as are the problems of Recovered Memory and Pseudomemory. The author illustrates the concepts and process by a detailed account of therapy with MPD/DID, and the specific problem of the perverse sexual abuse of children is dealt with in a chapter on the nature of deep perversion and evil. Trauma and dissociation present challenges to both psychoanalysis and mainstream psychiatry and clinical psychology. Therapists, counsellors and nurses who work within the cognitive or analytic approaches to assessment and treatment will welcome this thoughtful and useful book. ISBN: 9780471963301

Dissociative Disorders in Children < 14 years

During our 2019 symposium, Arianne Struik, developmental psychologist / systems therapist and EMDR supervisor at the Institute for Chronically Traumatized Children (ICTC), provided a lecture on dissociative disorders in children under 14 years of age. You can watch this lecture in Dutch here, fragments have been cut from the presentation for privacy.
On her website you can find specialized training for traumatized children in English as well as some free of charge materials.

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Symptoms of DID and Transgenerational Organized Violence for children

We offer, with some reservations, a list of symptoms that could indicate experiences of ritualized abuse. This list combines the experiences from Dutch child and adolescent psychiatry and trauma care in the US.

The caveat is that we do not offer this as a checklist for a conversation with a minor – in fact, we strongly advise against that. However, the list can be used after such a conversation to form an even clearer picture, if possible, of what the conversation delivered. Please note that the list contains quite explicit symptoms, which may act as triggers. If you as a reader are concerned about this, we recommend that you do not review this list.

The list of symptoms

Argos – The Story of Lisa

Lisa is 15 years old when she reports sexual abuse to the police. Because the details are increasingly gruesome and hard to believe, the Public Prosecution Service decides to stop the investigation. The Dutch NPO Radio 1 program Argos studied the files of this case. Listen to the Argos episode of December 8, 2018, and read the response of the Public Prosecution Service to the broadcast. Note that Lisa’s story contains shocking details and explicit descriptions of sexual acts and violence. Lisa is not her real name.