Review by Jacqueline, Lieke and Gabriëlle's mom

My name is Jacqueline. I am the proud mother of 18-year-old Lieke and Gabriëlle. I would like to share my daughters' life stories on this page and review our time at Yes We Can Youth Clinics. I hope this will help other parents in their search for help for their children.

Early age

Lieke and Gabriëlle are identical twins and have been spirited individuals from a young age. They quickly knew what they did and did not want, and if they didn't want to do something, you couldn't persuade them otherwise, not even with ten horses.

They found primary school challenging. They felt lonely, and Gabriëlle, in particular, was bullied a lot at primary school. They decided that they wanted to attend different schools for secondary education.

The first few years went reasonably well. At home, things seemed fine. Or so I thought at the time. We had our hands full with the girls, and we noticed that they always agreed with each other, especially when they felt that the outside world was against them.


About two years before my daughters went to Yes We Can Youth Clinics, I first noticed signs of cannabis use. My alarm bells rang immediately, and despite everyone's denials, my gut feeling told me things were heading in the wrong direction. Soon after the first signs of cannabis use, I sought outpatient help for one of my daughters. What a disappointment that was. I didn't feel taken seriously, and my daughter completely misled the outpatient services, which she later admitted.

Incidents started to pile up: lying, manipulating, stealing, skipping school, not keeping appointments, etc. That summer, I came into contact with YWCC through someone I knew. What a breath of fresh air! I felt understood and received support, but I also felt great unrest because the conversation confirmed that I had interpreted the signs correctly. I was immediately impressed with YWCC and convinced the solution could lie there. Unfortunately, at that time, the girls and my partner did not favour such a program. Lieke and Gabriëlle promised to improve, and I was swept along in that promise.

From bad to worse

Following a series of incidents in late summer, it became clear that the problems were escalating and that our family system was flawed more than I had thought. We then sought the help of a (family) psychologist. Many discussions followed, but we could not get to the issue's core. Lieke and Gabriëlle sat through the sessions, denied they were addicted, and reluctantly agreed to things just to end the conversation.

So we muddled through. I tried everything: pleading, lecturing, being strict, getting angry, cutting off contact, making contact. I became sad, desperate, and deeply saddened; such a sense of powerlessness. I was incredibly worried. What were they up to? Where were they hanging out? In their cannabis use, they were truly partners and connected. They lived in their own world, to which I no longer had access. I saw my girls slipping away and felt I could only watch helplessly.

Yes We Can Youth Clinics

Tensions at home grew as the situation became almost unbearable. When it seemed unmanageable, I registered both girls with YWCYC and decided to move out with them. I told the girls that it was no longer a question of if they would go to YWCYC but when.

Shortly after registering, we had the intake interview for Lieke. Just over a month after the intake, Lieke went to the clinic.

All our conversations with YWCYC until Lieke's departure gave me a lot of confidence, but doubts crept in once Lieke had left. Had I done the right thing? Was this the right decision and the right place? The first five weeks passed at a snail's pace. Then came 'bonding day'. We were waiting in a room with other parents, and the door opened. There was my beautiful daughter, shining! It was so wonderful to see her and her eyes sparkle again.

She had a tough time but was full of hope and determined to finish the program. After bonding day, we had regular phone contact. I looked forward to these moments, and my confidence grew.

The das of Lieke's return was bittersweet. It was lovely to have her home again, but I had to let Gabriëlle go on the same day. My heart broke as the girls embraced each other and said goodbye. What was I putting them through?

Saying goodbye to Gabriëlle was hard, as were her first five weeks in the clinic. But by then, I had become somewhat experienced with this situation. Gabriëlle's bonding day was beautiful, hard, and emotional. What a gift it was to see the beautiful mirrors of her soul in her eyes again. Unfortunately, there were fewer contact moments with Gabriëlle in her last five weeks, which naturally brought (unjustified) doubt and uncertainty.

Tools from family counselling

The day Gabriëlle returned was a celebration. What a joy to hold her in my arms again, but also for Lieke and Gabriëlle to be reunited after twenty weeks.

Of course, during the family counselling sessions, we thoroughly discussed that the real challenge begins upon returning home. However, somehow it hadn't fully dawned on me what that meant. My beautiful girls work so hard on their recovery every day, bringing back a wealth of life experience from the clinic. Both Lieke and Gabriëlle have learned a lot about themselves and gained a lot of insight into their own actions and the dynamics of being twins. After returning from the clinic, they had to find a new balance in their relationship. The fact that they both had been to the same place and could share experiences and insights from there really helped them.

I have also learned a lot from this journey, especially about my part in how things developed. The beauty is that we can now share our thoughts and feelings, have deep conversations, and connect on a completely different level. Of course, communication sometimes still goes awry, but we always look for a moment to return to the discussion and delve deeper into what it's really about. We are aware of our pitfalls and are able to talk about them. I am so proud of my girls: what they achieve every day, their battles, and their choices. After returning, they also found much support in the Yes We Do aftercare.

Lieke is now taking her secondary school exams, and Gabriëlle plans to start her studies next school year. I am incredibly grateful to YWCYC for what they have done for us. They provide a warm and safe environment in every aspect and part of their organisation. Lieke and Gabriëlle still miss the clinic regularly. I deeply respect everyone working in this passionate place and cannot thank YWCYC enough for the new foundation they have offered each of us.

I would like to close off my review and story by telling you that the journey with YWCYC is the most beautiful but the hardest 'gift' I could give my daughters. Thanks to Yes We Can Youth Clinics, we face the future confidently every day. Yes We Can!

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