Interview with Ellert Nijenhuis

05 november 2010

Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis, Ph.D., is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and researcher. He received his with the highest honours at the Medical Department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for his book: Somatoform dissociation: Phenomena, measurement, and theoretical issues [reprint: W.W. Norton, New York/London].

In 1998 the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) granted him the Morton Prince Award for Scientific Excellence for his scientific contributions; in 2000 the Pierre Janet Writing Award; in 2002 the status of Fellow for his outstanding contributions to the diagnosis, treatment, research, and education in dissociative disorders; and in 2005, together with several of his colleagues, the David Caul Memorial Award for a paper on an innovative PET study of dissociative identity disorder.

He works at the Outpatient Department of Psychiatry of Mental Health Care Drenthe, Assen, The Netherlands, where he engages in the diagnosis and treatment of severely traumatized patients. He performs his innovating scientific research at this hospital, and collaborates with the University of Groningen (Netherlands) and Zürich (Switzerland), as well as several other institutions and clinics. His empirical and experimental research addresses the psychology and psychobiology of chronic traumatization and dissociation.He has written many clinical and scientific articles, book chapters, and some books, he is a reviewer of several professional journals, and he provides presentations and workshops at many international conferences.

In 2003, he was granted the closing plenary at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (Chicago) addressing the emerging psychobiology of trauma-related dissociation and dissociative disorders.

He is a former Director of the Executive Council of the ISSTD, and a founding father of the ESTD. In 2004 Queen Beatrix from the Netherlands appointed him Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion for his outstanding contributions to the study and treatment of chronically traumatized individuals.

In 2005, together with Helga Matthess, he founded Psychotraumatology Institute Europe. PIE organizes workshops and courses with leaders in the field regarding the assessment and treatment of chronic traumatization. November 2006 witnessed the release of the book The haunted self: Structural dissociation and the treatment of chronic traumatization, authored by Onno van der Hart, Ellert Nijenhuis and Kathy Steele, and published by W.W. Norton, New York/London. The authors were awarded ISSTD’s Media Award for this work. According to Prof. Dr. Chris Brewin, the book is “brilliant,” and Dr. Richard Kluft regards it as “ …. a landmark contribution to the study of trauma and an instant classic in the study of dissociation and dissociative disorders.”



Speaker: Ellert Nijenhuis (presentation below) is on this video talking about his background in this field, the understanding and the confusion about the concept of dissociation, new important research regarding the existence of several parts, and a model of understanding the basic dynamics of these parts.

The interview was done on September 4th 2010, and the interviewer is Clinical Psychologist and ESTD board member Arne Blindheim.

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