Back to overview

2016-47: Experiential expertise in forensic psychiatry (Call 2016-47)

Target group

Experiential expert clients, patients and relatives in the clinical and outpatient forensic treatment setting, to support the treatment of forensic clients.

Application of experiential expertise in forensic psychiatry

Within the forensic mental health care system, the importance of recovery support interventions, including the use of experiential expertise, is increasingly recognised. There are already several initiatives in the Netherlands implementing the use of experiential experts in forensic care, such as the Woenselse Poort and GGZ-NHN.  An essential difference with regular mental health care is that within forensic care, apart from the psychological problems, people can also be experiential experts in areas such as criminal behaviour, life behind bars/life on parole and dealing with the legal and forensic system. Experiential expertise in the field of risk management to prevent crime is also an important distinguishing factor.

Application& effect

This study looked at the effects of the use of experiential expertise within (forensic) mental health care and is based on an (international) literature study and field studies. The developers also looked at the application possibilities, and the associated do's and don'ts for the deployment of experiential expertise in the forensic field, based on the experiences gained from the regular mental health care system. The use of experiential expertise appeared to be inextricably linked to restorative care, but a clear vision of restorative care in a forensic treatment setting was not easily detectable everywhere. Setting a positive role model, learning coping skills based on one's own experience, learning to deal with victimhood and offendership, and offering the prospect of a future after detention are elements where the experiential expert in forensic mental health care has an added value. The extensive literature review shows that there is hardly any evidence for the assumed effects of experiential expertise, although there are other qualitatively oriented studies that discuss the possible positive effects on the client's recovery process.

Executive party

GGzE/Woenselse Poort, in cooperation with Dimence Groep, GGZ Noord-Holland Noord and the IVO.