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Stockholm Syndrome Overview Mr. Noble Psychology 1 LOHS.

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1 Stockholm Syndrome Overview Mr. Noble Psychology 1 LOHS

2 What is Stockholm Syndrome? Stockholm Syndrome Nils Bejerot Stockholm Syndrome first coined by Professor Nils Bejerot to explain the phenomenon of hostages bonding with their captors. Stockholm, Sweden 1973, two bank robbers held four people hostages for six days. hostages came to care about their captors and perceive them as protecting them against the police. Wide publicity: hostages came to care about their captors and perceive them as protecting them against the police. The syndrome, or cluster of symptoms, observed in hostages, cult members, battered women and victims of sexual and physical abuse. Background

3 The Case August 23 rd, 1973 Two machine-gun carrying criminals entered bank in Stockholm, Sweden. "The party has just begun!" Firing guns, one prison escapee, Jan-Erik Olsson, announced to bank employees "The party has just begun!" Bank robbers held four hostages (three women, one man) for next 131 hours. Hostages strapped with dynamite and held in a bank vault until rescue on August 28th.

4 After their rescue, hostages exhibited a shocking attitude considering they were threatened, abused and feared for their lives for over five days. In their media interviews, it was clear that they supported their captors and actually feared law enforcement personnel who came to their rescue. Hostages began to feel captors were protecting them from police. One female hostage later became engaged to one of the criminals Another developed legal defense fund to aid in criminal defense fees. Clearly, the hostages had bonded emotionally with their captors. Outcome

5 Situational – Abused Children – Battered/Abused Women – Prisoners of War – Cult Members – Criminal Hostage Situations – Controlling/Intimidating Relationships It has been recognized many years before the Syndrome was diagnosed--and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

6 Symptoms 1 Emotional bonding w) captor/abuser Requiring victim isolation from outside world Subjecting victim to: – sexual assault – threats of harm to self – threats of harm to self family – demanding conformity to dress and culture different than previous norm Seeking favor & approval from perpetrator Dependency on perpetrator for security & purpose of existence Befriending & caring for perpetrator

7 Symptoms 2 Resenting police & proper authorities for rescue attempts Losing one's own identify in order to identify with the captor/abuser Seeing things from perspective of perpetrator Valuing every small gesture of kindness (i.e. letting them live) Refusing to seek freedom even given the opportunity

8 survival strategy Many psychologists and psychiatrists have considered the Stockholm Syndrome a survival strategy where there is: – Constant threat to physical & psychological survival – Condition of helplessness and hopelessness – Isolation & loss of support systems from outside world – Context of trauma & terror that shatters previously held assumptions – Perception that survival depends on total surrender & compliance Survival Strategy

9 Vulnerability Stockholm Syndrome Obviously, not everyone in hostage situation will fall victim to Stockholm Syndrome -- Individuals are most vulnerable, if they: – Lack clear set of core values that define one's identify – Lack clear sense of meaning and purpose for one's life – Lack track record of overcoming difficulties – Lack strong personal faith – Feel that one's life has always been controlled by powerful others – Are unhappy in life (depressed, etc.) – Strong need for approval by authority figures – Wish to be somebody else

10 Intuitive thinking: afraid for life and safety--and actions were inspired by self preservation. Counter intuitive thinking: concerned about what would have happened to captor, whom she/he now counted on for necessities of life. Why Cover for Captors

11 Getting Help Psychotherapy Trauma therapy? How can one gain an understanding of ones distorted thinking and confusing feelings about being a hostage? How does one help the client to appropriately direct her/his anger at her/his abuse? How does one help another to integrate the past kidnapping with the present reality (to rewrite history)? Others can also help. Some suggestions: – Allow sufficient time and space to recover – Show understanding and empathy – Provide strong and consistent support groups

12 Stockholm Syndrome Overview Mr. Noble Psychology 1 LOHS

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