Forensics is a tough class
Merxhausen. He is a nurse in the forensic clinic in Merxhausen. Christian Beilstein spoke to us about broken personalities, adolescent offenders and those who refused treatment.
Mr. Beilstein, you worked as a nurse in the medical service for many years. How does your current job in the forensic clinic differ from your previous job?
Christian Beilstein: You can say that my work here has nothing to do with the typical nursing profession. It is more like social therapeutic work because we don't care for our patients in the usual way, but show them structures.
What exactly do you mean by showing structures?
Beilstein: It is more of an educational thing, because most of my patients have never experienced a structured everyday life before and come from broken families. That means, we accompany them with the housekeeping, lead group therapies and help with the school therapy.
Only adolescent offenders are accommodated in their department. Which forms of therapy are offered specifically for them?
Christian Beilstein: Our patients have the opportunity to catch up on their school leaving certificate. This is a tough task for some and has a tight schedule - considering that many of them last saw the inside of a school in sixth grade. There is also occupational and sports therapy as well as voluntary music and art therapies.
You talk about a tight daily routine for the patient. There is often prejudice among the general public that inmates in the penal system live like in a hotel. What do you think?
Beilstein: More like a boarding school. There is a special program for each patient. It starts at 6.30 a.m. and usually ends at 5 p.m. In addition, the patients must alternately plan the household and take part in their daily individual and group therapies. In total there is hardly any free time.
However, patients also have the right to refuse therapy. How many use this opportunity?
Beilstein: It happens every now and then. But we are asked to find out why a patient refuses therapy. Usually we can still get the patient to rethink in one-on-one discussions.
What if the individual therapies don't work either?
Beilstein: If not, we have a relocation station with nine beds. There we will check within a month whether the patient is still suitable for our therapies. If patients don't participate, they go back to the prison. There they have to serve their entire sentence. Here you have the opportunity to save yourself a few years, but we make that clear to you again and again.
They are each assigned one or two patients, are their contact persons and often have detailed information about criminal offenses. Can you just forget about your day-to-day work after work?
Beilstein: In the meantime I've personally got used to letting work be work. In my free time I don't like to talk about my work and then I can switch off easily.
What about the relationship with the patient? What if you are told gruesome details of criminal offenses?
Beilstein: Before a patient comes to us, we have a look at the court record. Personally, I don't like reading them beforehand because I want to get to know the patient without prejudice.
Was there a patient who your picture was very different from the one in the court record?
Christian Beilstein: Yes. Once I really had to swallow because my patient was actually very sociable. But the court file gave a deep insight, which I definitely did not expect.
How did you deal with it?
Beilstein: In an emergency, we can give patients to other employees. But you just have to have a thick skin.
Many citizens are unsure that inmates will have an unaccompanied exit. What do you think about it?
Beilstein: I always try to draw attention to the fact that patients are only allowed to go out after a certain period of time, namely when they have successfully completed certain therapies. As is so often the case, however, there is never one hundred percent security.
You can find more information about the forensic psychiatry in Bad Emstal here.
The forensic clinic is located here:
Born in 1995 in Schwalmstadt-Ziegenhain. Studied in Marburg. With HNA since 2017 and currently in the Fritzlar-Homberg editorial team.
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