Carolina Sleijffers is a psychologist in private practice living in The Hague. She has put together this article for expat parents about the (Dutch based) services that are available to you in English.
Most expats love the life here in The Hague and enjoy many benefits for expats with children. But what if your children encounter challenges and/or have special needs? What if you need an expert to help you understand their behaviour and offer you guidance and support?
You can often get a private consultation (in English) with a Dutch psychologist within a week. Reimbursement of the costs involved, however, varies greatly. There are many services and many alternatives, so read on…
- Private versus government-funded mental health care;
- Dutch insurance policies versus international insurance policies;
- Referral note by (family) doctor;
- Various psychological child and adolescent mental health services offered in and around The Hague;
1. Private versus government-funded mental health care
Private practices usually:
- have shorter waiting lists;
- work individually or in small teams;
- provide psychological assessments as well as psychological treatment;
- provide high quality care, tailored to your (child’s) specific needs.
A government-funded organisation (GGZ) usually:
- has longer waiting lists;
- works in bigger, multidisciplinary teams;
- provides psychological assessments and psychological treatments (also access to inpatient treatments).
2. Dutch insurance policies versus international insurance policies
Most Dutch insurance companies cover 100% of the government-funded mental health care for children, adolescents and their parents. Costs involved in private mental health care are usually partially reimbursed. The coverage of costs involved in government-funded support varies greatly when it comes to international insurance companies. Most international insurance companies however reimburse (a great part of) the costs involved in both private or public mental health care.
A number of international organisations and companies located in The Hague now subsidise some of the costs involved in private mental health care needed by their employees and/or their employees’ children.
3. Referral note by (family) doctor
For government-funded support, a referral note from your (family) doctor is needed. For support offered by private practices, the need for a referral note varies greatly. It will however enhance the chances of receiving (partial) reimbursement from your insurance company.
Also, the family doctor will appreciate knowing about the reason you are applying for support (although it is not obligatory to inform him or her).
4. Various psychological child and adolescent mental health services offered in and around The Hague
For parents who have questions concerning the development of their children and/or about challenging situations they encounter when raising their children, parental support is offered in many different ways.
This type of parental guidance is not so much focused on, for example, teething and potty training, but more so on situations in which you as a parent are slightly concerned – or even very worried – by your child’s behaviour, for example, if your child refuses to sleep, is anxious, has extreme nightmares, or extreme temper tantrums for a longer period of time. Guidance on how to manage these situations and receiving tools that will help solve them can be provided to you by applying for parental support.
Parallel to parental guidance, services are being offered focused mostly on the child: psychological assessments, psychological treatment and/or training trajectories (e.g. social skills training).
Centrum voor Jeugd en Gezin (CJG)
CJG offers short term parental guidance for parents of children, adolescents and young adults (0 – 21 years of age), who have questions concerning their child’s development and/or their own parental approach.
CJG works together with Stichting Jeugdformaat and Bureau Jeugdzorg. Employees of these organizations all work in multidisciplinary teams.
Main visiting address: Koningin Sophiestraat 120, 2595 TM Den Haag
Website: www.cjgdenhaag.nl Go to ‘locaties’ to view their different locations.
Bureau Jeugdzorg (BJZ)
For parents who have questions concerning the topics mentioned above, but also in case instant help is needed in the home environment (for example, when your child is threatening to hurt him- or herself or others and you are at your wits’ end), BJZ can offer support. Like CJG, BJZ also offers guidance to parents who have questions or face challenges raising their children, but has more means to turn to than CJG.
BJZ rarely provides psychological assessments. BJZ conducts screenings and can provide parental guidance. Should other types of support be needed (e.g. psychological assessment and/or treatment), BJZ usually refers to mental health care organisations like De Jutters (see below).
Go to ‘contact’ where you will see their different locations in and around The Hague (Zoetermeer, Leidschendam-Voorburg). When choosing the location you’d like to contact, make sure you choose the location nearest to you child’s school. It’s a rule BJZ applies.
Stichting De Jutters
Stichting De Jutters offers psychological and psychiatric support to children, adolescents and their families. Should you wish to apply for a psychological assessment of your child because you, the school and/or your child (depending on his or her age) suspect a potential mental disorder (like ADHD or Autism), De Jutters will be able to provide you with this. Some of the other services De Jutters offers are play observation, social skills training, psychological treatment and parental guidance. Also here, all employees work in multidisciplinary teams.
Adults (18 and up)
If your child is around 17 or 18 years of age, is about to move out of the house or already lives by him- or herself and will most likely need mental support for a longer period of time, you could consider contacting an organization that specializes in adult mental health care.
Depending on his or her age and on the situation, your child can also choose to contact these organizations him/herself – make sure he or she asks the (family) doctor for a referral note.
PsyQ/ParnassiaBavoGroep, website: www.psyq.nl
There are quite a large number of private practice psychologists in The Hague and the surrounding areas. If you need help in choosing the right practice for you, you may with to consult with the author (link below). After hearing what kind of question you have, Carolina can advise you a certain practice or treatment plan. If you would like to, she can call the practice in advance for you and check if they have an English-speaking psychologist available.
About Carolina Sleijffers:
Educational and Developmental Psychologist NIP (2005, Leiden University), Carolina has worked at Stichting De Jutters (child and adolescent psychology and psychiatry) and at ‘ZIEN in de Klas’ (educational consulting bureau) where she conducted psychological assessments, provided parent guidance and treatment and social skills training for children, and as a freelancer supported school staff, students and their parents in dealing with everyday challenges occurring at school.
She is now in full-time private practice (Time To Talk), which provides psychological coaching for children and their families in and around The Hague.