Yes We Can Youth Clinics is a renowned treatment centre, recently relocated from The Ardennes to Hilvarenbeek in Holland, for young people suffering from complex behavioural disorders and/or addictions. This April, they will be opening an additional facility catering to the growing international demand. Yes We Can Youth Clinics is the only private clinic in Europe which specialises in young people (13-25 years old) with complex behavioural disorders, addictions and related behavioural problems.
Firm believers that early intervention saves lives, a number of the dedicated and motivated multidisciplinary professionals (therapists, counsellors, psychiatrists, coaches and medical staff) that work in the clinic are “experts by experience”. Yes We Can Youth Clinics was founded by Jan Willem Poot who, between the ages of 19 to 27, spent almost eight and a half years in and out of treatment programmes for behavioural and addiction problems. He was trapped in an increasingly negative downward spiral, involving not only his own life, but also the lives of his family and all those around him.
Jan Willem Poot comments: “At some point, you end up at the door of various organisations offering help, day-treatment programmes, clinics or treatment centres. I have seen many. I knew just what the psychologists wanted to hear and that was what I told them. I experienced enormous pain, fear and feelings of powerlessness. They were unable to help me escape that situation and failed to win my trust. I believe that many young people will not be able to experience change in these types of settings and organisations. They need something else, something more, a different kind of healthcare professional who can get through to them.”
Based on his own experiences and the best practices of other clinics, Poot started Yes We Can Youth Clinics together with a team of healthcare professionals. He has worked with troubled youths and their families for more than a decade.
Founder Poot says: “Since 2010 we have helped thousands of young people and their families to overcome deadlock. As a result, we have received an ever increasing number of enquiries from all over the world in the last few years. In the past, capacity restraints meant we had to say ‘No’ quite frequently and that is why we decided to really do something and offer a solution internationally.”
“One of our key success factors is that we work with universal principles, like the unconditional acceptance of human beings,” says Poot. “We don’t judge, don’t punish, yet we don’t shun confrontation either. To make kids self-reliant again, we offer safety, warmth, love and the best therapeutic approach. And this really makes the difference. We have to give them a reason why they should change.”
Together with the opening of the international facility, Yes We Can Youth Clinics have also upgraded their current clinic from 85 to 100 beds. Jan Willem Poot comments: “We reached our maximum capacity and decided to move from Belgium to Holland. At present, 175 dedicated professionals work in our clinic, the client/clinician ratio has always been more than 1:1 and that will also be the case for our international clinic. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the kids and their families.”
The international residential clinic is located on secluded grounds set (15 acres) on the outskirts of Hilvarenbeek, in the south of the Netherlands. With 24 beds for young men and women, Yes We Can Youth Clinics offers an intensive ten-week English speaking treatment programme. Seven days a week, fellows (clients) follow a structured schedule starting at 6:30 am until to lights-out at 11:00 pm; receive 40 hours of intensive one-on-one therapy, 200 hours of group therapy, 270 hours of (sports) activities and 100 hours of education. There is no access to internet, phones, tablets, TV or any other device that can distract youngsters from recovery. Half-way through the programme at five weeks, family members are requested to attend a five-day family programme designed to motivate parents and carers to take responsibility for their changed role and to commit to a permanent recovery programme for both themselves and the fellow. The organisation also offers comprehensive residential secondary and tertiary aftercare.
Editor’s note: Hilvarenbeek is located in the south of Holland. It is easily accessible from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Eindhoven and Antwerp.