Breaking Down the Walls of Silence

Rien Verdult & Gaby Stroecken

  • Rien Verdult & Gaby Stroecken

    Rien Verdult

    Rien & Gaby are psychotherapists from Belgium, specialized in the treatment of emotional problems rooted in early childhood. They also focus on prenatal psychology; life before and during birth. For that reason they often give lectures about this aspect of life. They are very much influenced by the works of Arthur Janov and Alice Miller. Their website is mainly in Dutch, not very often updated but the news section does provide a list of recent lectures.

    Their books haven't been translated in English, but several articles in English are freely accessible online:

    The Misrecognized Child in Ourselves (PDF - 148 pages)

    Gaby Stroecken
    The misrecognition of the Child in ourselves begins early in life. At conception, during the period spent in the womb, at birth and in the first years of life, the vulnerable child runs the risk of finding its natural expectations misinterpreted and disregarded. As children, in the womb or newly born, we are entirely dependent on our parents. Our natural desires lead us to expect that we will be received with love and attention, respected in our vulnerability and have our needs, including our affective needs, punctually met: we expect recognition.

    Caesarean birth: Psychological aspects in babies (Rien Verdult, PDF - 15 pages)

    Caesarean birth can be seen as a traumatic birth for the baby with immediate and long term consequences. C-section is a trauma because of its abrupt and sudden interruption of the biologically programmed vaginal birth process. Shock, bonding deficiencies and invasion/control complex are the major symptoms of the trauma.

    Baby therapy is based on the new paradigm about prenatal and perinatal life. Babies are aware before and during birth and can be traumatized. The treatment of caesarean born babies consists of two aspects: regressively re-experiencing the traumatic aspects of the c-section and the processing of vaginal birth. In exploring the traumatic aspects of the c-section so called trauma sites are gently touched by the therapist. The baby can get activated and within the safety of a containing relationship, catharsis can take place. By supporting the baby to release his emotional pain the reprocessing of the c-section birth takes place in small steps. Baby have a knowledge about how they should have been born vaginally. Through a process of vaginal birth simulation the baby descends in the birth canal, rotates in the pelvis. Than the expulsion takes place and the baby ends up in the arms of his mother. Results of baby therapy show that babies benefit from the treatment.


    • De Stem van het Jonge Kind. Over de affectieve rechten van het prenatale en jonge kind (Gaby Stroecken, 1997)
    • Het Miskende Kind in Onszelf. Invloeden van de kindertijd op het latere leven. (Gaby Stroecken, 2001)
    • De Mythe van de Gelukkige Kindertijd. Zoektocht naar het miskende kind in onszelf . (2006)

    From De Mythe van de Gelukkige Kindertijd (The Myth of the Happy Childhood - translated by Dennis Rodie):

    We are convinced that in our struggle against our discomfort, against our inner void, against our emotional and relational problems, we have eventually only one means at our disposal: searching for the truth about our childhood. The discovery of our personal truth can be confrontational and painful. It means we have to let go of the constructed illusion, to which we have clung. We have to leave our holy belief of a happy childhood and expose a myth. Revealing our childhood is absolutely necessary for our own comfort and that of others in our environment. This is a painful process. The repression to the unconscious has created fatal work. The earlier and the more painful the disownment has taken place, the bigger the chance it is that we remember a ‘happy and carefree childhood. The bonding with our parents causes this selective loss of memory. The American psychotherapist Jean Jenson (1997) writes: ‘If more than a small minority wants to be motivated to explore the past, then we should first realize that almost every adult in our society has experienced damage and that our child-rearing practice will at least send the proverbial ‘happy childhood’ to the land of fables. With our book we want to reach out to that minority that wants to experience a process of self-revelation. We can ask ourselves: is all that digging in the past useful? Wouldn’t we be better off to leave the past alone? We are convinced that the paste tense always keeps a current value. We can’t undo our past, but we can work our way through the stored experiences in our body, about what is neglected or what is happened to us. That’s what this book is about: “We have to leave the invisible and so cruel prison of the childhood and transform ourselves from unconscious victim of the past into a responsible human who knows his/ her own past and lives with that” (Miller, 1995).

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