In the last two decades, youth forensic psychiatry has developed significantly in research as well as clinical practice. Major progress has been made in, for instance, the imperative effects of childhood trauma, the importance of thorough risk assessment and -management and the predictive value of (early) life course trajectories. In addition, we have learned a lot from biological and neurological studies pertaining to e.g. aggressive and impulsive behaviour. Finally, we gained more knowledge about the do’s and don’ts when using treatment protocols and standards.
Now it is time to reflect about our field of expertise from a complementary perspective, that is, of the youngsters themselves. Participation, ownership and being in the lead of treatment have been central topics in mental health in the last couple of years. Forensic youth psychiatry is now challenged by focussing on narrowing the gap between clinical expertise, research and the patient’s perspective. By listening carefully to the stories that youngsters tell us and by being more aware of the needs they have, we will inject research and practice with new energy that will lead us (back) to the core of our profession: listening, clarification, confrontation and interpretation.
You are very welcome to join us at the EFCAP congress in 2020 In Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Let us break the rules together and tear down the walls between youngsters, treatment and research, finding an even more effective approach towards the rule breakers.
Prof. dr. Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen
President of EFCAP