Paul Sterk

Consultancy, trainingen en advies








paul2012Mind-Spring is developed by drs. Paul Sterk; an ortho-pedagogist and mental Health (GZ-)psychologist. He’s a senior product developer and manager of the prevention department of a mental health organisation in Holland and has been working on the Mental Health prevention programs for 25 years. In between he was a consultant for War-Child, HealthnetTPO and Medicine Sans Frontiers and developed programs for those organisations in Kosovo, Albania, and Romania, working with internal displaced and refugees and in Sierra-Leone with ex-child combatants.

The Mind-Spring methodology was developed in association with a group of 6 highly educated refugees in 2002 and the Vluchtelingenwerk (refugee counsel) in Netherlands.
In seven years, Mind-Spring has
succeeded to become a good practice in the Netherlands1. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands (COA) and Menzis/VGZ insurance companies have acknowledged the Mind-Spring project as an important project in the asylum seeker centre in the Netherlands. The Mind-Spring program was developed with sponsor support of the EVF (Dutch ERF) and the ZRA and Menzis (association for health insurance).

In 2005 drs. Sterk developed a Mind-Spring manual for parenting support.  This program, is now implemented in the Netherlands. Currently, Mind-Spring module is working on a pilot for Unaccompanied Minor Asylum seekers, to start in January 2013.

In 2010 the program was rewarded with the “Theoretically well founded” label by the RIVM the “Dutch national institute for the public health and the environment.” (the organisation assigned by the Dutch gouvernment to guard quality of cure and care)



 In regard to refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands, two pilot projects were carried out: “Asylum seekers as psychosocial counsellors” and “Mental health care for asylum seekers and refugees in the Netherlands”


1) Access and entitlement beneficiary must have access to the groups and training, this is what mind-spring proved  in the Netherlands (over 800 beneficiary up to now, and more than 150 trainers trained);
2) Participation of beneficiary the concept of mind-spring is cooperation between beneficiary and professionals;
3) Holistic prevention project theMind-spring makes use of cognitive and educational theories as well as the cultural specific approach from every culture;
4) Interagency collaboration Mind-Spring is only possible if there is an interagency collaboration and is part of the concept of working together;
5) Cultural sensitivity The use of trainers from the own culture guarantees the cultural aspects of the content and approach;
6) Evaluation There is a monitor and evaluation system. The concept is adjusted to needs during the 7 years of working together in the project.

Kieft et al. (2008) ‘Paraprofessional Counselling within asylum seekers’ groups in the Netherlands: transferring an approach for a non-western context to a European setting’

 HealthNet TPO (2005) Remigratie en Reïntegratie van Afghanen, een pilot

some articles that derived from such researches:

Gernaat HBPE, Malwand AD, Laban CJ, Komproe IH en de Jong JTVM. (2002). Veel psychiatrische stoornissen bij Afghaanse vluchtelingen met verblijfstatus in Drenthe, met name depressieve stoornis en posttraumatische stressstoornis. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 146,24:1127-1131.

Laban, K.J., Gernaat, H.B.P.E., Komproe, I.H., Schreuders, B.A., De Jong, J.T.V.M. (2004) Impact of a long asylumprocedure on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 192: 843–851.

Laban, K.J., Gernaat, H.B.P.E., Komproe, I.H., Van der Tweel, I., De Jong, J.T.V.M. (2005). Post migration living problems and common psychiatric disorders in Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 193,12,825-832.

C.J. Laban, H.B.P.E. Gernaat, I.H. Komproe, G.A. Schreuders, J.T.V.M. de Jong (2005) Impact of a long asylum procedure on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie, 47, 11, 743-752.