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About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. L. (Laura) Batstra

prof. dr. L. (Laura) Batstra


I  studied Clinical Psychology (major), Social Psychology (minor) and Psychology of Work, Organization & Personnel (minor) at the University of Groningen. After my (cum laude) graduation in 1997, I combined working on my Ph.D. project on the influence of birth circumstances on later mental health, with working as a psychologist at the Departments of Medical Psychology and Sexology of the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG). In 2004, I obtained my Ph.D. in the Medical Sciences with a dissertation titled “Difficult birth, difficult life?” (supervisors: Prof dr. Jan Neeleman, Prof. dr. Mijna Hadders-Algra, Prof. dr. Hans Ormel). I then worked for several years as practitioner in an outpatient clinic for Child Psychiatry, where I coached (parents of) children with developmental, behavioural and/or emotional disorders and developed a home treatment programme for families of children diagnosed with ADHD and/or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). ‘ZonMw’ awarded a grant for research into the effectiveness of this treatment programme (2009).

In 2010 I quit my job in psychiatry because in my opinion children were overdiagnosed and overtreated and discussion about these policies was suppressed. I returned to the University of Groningen as a teacher and researcher at the Department of Child and Family Care. Here, I developed parent and teacher support programs that do not require a psychiatric label for children. In 2012 my book on (debatable assumptions about) ADHD was published; the sixth reprint will be released in 2023.

My research focuses on medicalization of behavioral, educational and societal difficulties. Together with Dr. Allen Frances (chair of the DSM-IV) I developed ‘Stepped Diagnosis’; an approach to reduce over diagnosis without risking under treatment.  With my researchgroup 'Wild & Willful' I implement and study the effectiveness of help for parents and teachers of unruly children, in a pre-diagnostic phase and without a diagnostic label. In my many lectures for varied audiences, I like to interact with and learn from all kinds of people, academics and non-academics, who inspire my work.

Last modified:05 December 2022 3.59 p.m.