• Female

S. de Haan MA

Position: PhD student
Main activities: Research
Specialisation: Phenomenology, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Qualitative Interviews
Focus of research:

In general, my aim is to gain a better understanding of psychiatric disorders, their nature and their impact on patients’ lives. What are psychiatric disorders? When is a certain condition pathological? And how can the patients’ resilience be fostered?


The experiences of patients play a crucial role in improving our insights into the nature of psychiatric disorders. Through the use of qualitative research methods, we can attain a better understanding of their phenomenology. In turn this may be of help in making decisions regarding the optimal means of treatment.


At the AMC, I conduct semi-structured, qualitative interviews with psychiatric patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression who are treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS). The use of DBS for psychiatric patients is relatively new, and much is still unknown. The effects of treatment are mostly assessed with functional and psychopathological scales. However, the effects of DBS may go beyond what is measured by these tests: DBS is a powerful intervention that may change the way in which patients experience their world. Therefore it is extra valuable to assess the patients’ own experiences of the treatment.


What is the impact of DBS on the phenomenology of these patients? What does this tell us about the nature of their disorders? And can we use this knowledge to determine and improve the effectiveness of DBS treatment for psychiatric disorders?


See also my personal website: 

AMC themes: Neurological & Psychiatric Disorders
Departments: Psychiatry: Adult Psychiatry
de Haan S, Rietveld E, Stokhof M, Denys D, Becoming more oneself? Changes in personality following DBS treatment for psychiatric disorders: Experiences of OCD patients and general considerations. PLOS ONE 2017;12 (4):e0175748 [PubMed]
de Haan S, Rietveld E, Stokhof M, Denys D, Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation on the Lived Experience of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Patients: In-Depth Interviews with 18 Patients. PLOS ONE 2015;10 (8):e0135524 [PubMed]
de Haan S, Rietveld E, Denys D, On the nature of obsessions and compulsions. MOD TRENDS PHARMACOPSYCHIATRI 2013;29:1-15 [PubMed]
de Haan S, Rietveld E, Stokhof M, Denys D, The phenomenology of deep brain stimulation-induced changes in OCD: an enactive affordance-based model. FRONT HUM NEUROSCI 2013;7:653 [PubMed]
Rietveld E, de Haan S, Denys D, Social affordances in context: what is it that we are bodily responsive to?. BEHAV BRAIN SCI 2013;36 (4):436 [PubMed]
de Haan S, Fuchs T, The ghost in the machine: disembodiment in schizophrenia--two case studies. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY 2010;43 (5):327-333 [PubMed]
Key publications

All Publications

Research programmes
Other research related activities
  • None reported
Current research funding
  • None reported