Sophie de Valk

Hogeschool Leiden


Sophie de Valk MSc studied Forensic Psychology at the University of Maastricht. Afterwards, she started work as behavioural scientist at JeugdzorgPlus, location De Vaart (Horizon Youth Care and Education). This is where she came into contact with Peer van der Helm’s living group climate research and since April 2014 she coordinates the living group, learning and work climate research planned in the residential institutions and schools belonging to Horizon Youth Care and Education. Here, the focus lies particularly on safety and the integration of care and education. Sophie is also substantive supervisor of graduation processes of TP students and she arranges practical assignments for SW students.

In her doctoral research, Sophie addresses repression.


For her dissertation, Sophie de Valk is conducting research into repression in residential institutions. Staff in residential institutions are often confronted with aggression and as a result are inclined to use a lot of repression (in the form of rules, punishments and force) to keep control. Repression is, however, undesirable because it obstructs an open living group climate. Repression can also lead to a low self-image, fear, aggression and hostility between youths/prisoners and staff. There is however no clear definition of repression and research has never been conducted into the causal processes underlying it. The aim of the research is to highlight these processes in order to be able to make recommendations about how repression can be kept to a minimum.

International Publications

  • De Valk, S., Van der Helm, G. H. P., Beld, M., Schaftenaar, P., Kuiper, C., & Stams, G. J. (2015). Does punishment in secure residential youth care work? An overview of the evidence. Journal of Children's Services, 10(1).


  • De Valk, S., Dekker, A. L., Beld, M. H. M., & Van der Helm, G.H.P. (2015). Is punishment in institutions effective? Forensic Care Festival. Utrecht: Fabrique. 27 January 2015.
  • Van der Helm, G.H.P., Beld, M.H.M., Van Tol, N., Van der Meer, T., Dekker, A.L., & Van Miert, V.S.L.  (2014) Dat zal ze leren. Does punishment help in practice. Annual congress of Association of Universities of Applied Science. Den Bosch: Congress centre Brabanthallen. 17 April 2014.
  • Van der Helm, G.H.P., Beld, M.H.M., Schaftenaar, P., De Swart, J.J.M., Dekker, A.L., & Van Miert, V.S.L. (2014). Psychopathology, learning and rehabilitation in a residential forensic climate: scientific research in progress. XIV Annual Conference of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS). Trauma, violence and recovery: risk and resilience across the lifespan. June 19 th – 22th, 2014. Toronto Sheraton Centre.