An insider-view of the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics
What is the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics?
The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics is a program in the Danish healthcare system targeting ‘functional disorders’. A very large part of this patient group is ME patients. It is lead by infamous Per Fink. He is known for belittling the symptoms of ME-patients and to use completely outdated treatment methods. Per Fink is also known for almost killing a young girl with ME after forcing her on psych drugs, removing her from her family and locking her up in a psych ward. You may also know him from regularly complaining in the media about how he is being ‘bullied’ online by patients.
There have also been a lot of controversy due to the fact that he and his clinic is heavily funded by a large insurance company (a company that benefits when people are labelled with a psychosomatic illness instead of a physical one).1
What exactly goes on in the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics?
An ME-patient that continues to try to get medical attention will eventually be referred to the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics. Here, Per Fink and his team of psychiatrists will diagnose the patients with ‘Bodily Distress Syndrome’ (BDS) or ‘Health Anxiety’. They tell the patients that ME is simply a representation of BDS. Once they have given this diagnosis, it will be extremely difficult for the patient to seek help elsewhere. It basically tells other doctors that “this patient is making his/her symptoms up” and some patients have been treated quite harshly because of the label.
Once the patient has been given the diagnosis they will be put in “BDS School”. Here, they will meet with a group of patients and two psychiatrists or doctors (very vague term here) every week. Patients that have often been sick for a long time and expect to finally be helped. Therefore, a lot of patients are optimistic early on.
Right until they find out what the treatment is.
In these ‘classes’ patients will be advised in CBT/GET, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfullness and emotions. They will show you videos of other people talking about how ‘great’ this clinic is, put CD’s on with mindfullness (not kidding) and make patients do silly role plays. In short, a BDS school is a whole lot of pseudoscience and outdated ideas about illness belief.
A patient told me how absurd it was that actual educated doctors had this as a full time job. In the media, it is portrayed as this super great place that helps people with ‘unknown’ illnesses. In reality, they just gaslighted patients and sit around doing nothing. One of the psychiatrists once, in private (she thought), called a group of ME-patients in BDS school for “a bunch of chronically whiners”. At a meeting with the healthcare authorities, another one of the psychiatrists laughingly said how she and others in the clinic “pretended to believe ME-patients were sick even though they do not believe them”.
Furthermore, the clinic brings in the patients’ families and tell them that their ME-sick family member will only get better if he/she stops looking for treatment, ignores the ME association and stops reading ME research from the UK/US. This has lead to some patients being told by families to stop seeking treatment, pushed to do exercise, locked up in psych wards and much more.
After each BDS class the doctors make patients rate the class. They do this as they sit in front of the patients. And after telling them how they must be more positive if they want to recovery. This strategy is well known from the Lightning Process and is a sneaky way to get better reviews.
There are Facebook groups for ME patients who have been mistreated by the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics. Nobody feels that they were helped at the clinic. Most feel ashamed, belittled and hopeless after being there.
Not surprisingly, the clinic uses one ‘success story’ over and over in the media. The ‘funny’ thing is that it is about a guy who did not have an ME diagnosis, but had chronic pain in his shoulder. Still, the story is used to promote how effective the clinic is.
Ties to Recovery Norway/Lightning Process
What is even more absurd (but not surprising) is that they too are part of the Recovery Norway network. It is a pretty sinister network of people working to undermine proper ME-research. Here, you will find people such as Per Fink (Denmark), Henrik Vogt (Norway), Live Landmark (Norway, Lightning Process) and more.
The Danish doctors are in close contact with the Norwegian ones and every now and then they will meet up. They now spread the Recovery Norway site to Danish patients.
Sadly, they have had just enough power to be able to suppress the booming evidence about ME being a physical illness.
Patient experiences with the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics (sent in via our contact form)
I see you have listed the clinic I was sent to in Denmark. I was a super healthy kid. Always doing sports. Classic ME story. I got mono and just never recovered. My skin burned and I could barely stand upright. I had to drop out of everything. No doctor cared here at all. In 2018 I was referred to the clinic. I was happy. I thought they could help. Instead, they immediately diagnosed me with health anxiety and ‘bodily distress’ (a diagnosis they made up) because I admitted to have googled my symptoms! They said that my symptoms are not real. They put me on zoloft, CBT and graded exercise program. I told them that no matter what exercise I did, it never helped. I could barely stand up. They said that they were working closely together with some Norwegian doctors who used the Lightning Process. Me and everyone in the group just got worse. I stopped showing up and sent them mails that I wanted out. They won’t delete their diagnosis from my files. Please post this mail on your page for Danes too see. I wish I never went there.
I’m writing this for my brother with M.E. He was the happiest boy. And he was bright. Always outdoors doing stuff. One winter he got mono and he just never recovered. He has been treated like sh#t by doctors in Denmark. He got the M.E diagnosis after years of barely being able to stand upright. He was sent to Per Fink’s clinic and that’s when it got really bad. They changed his M.E diagnosis to something like hypochondria. It’s supposed to be THE place for M.E treatment, but NOTHING positive happens in there. It’s strictly political. It’s just a place to dump unwanted people. They give the patients psych drugs, put on mindfulness CD’s and tells them to exercise. My brother was laying on the floor for the group sessions!! I could cry just from thinking about it!! They said nothing was really wrong with him, he just had some ‘blocked emotions’. My brother was fine until infection!! He’s never had a psych disorder! He almost completed their ‘treatment’ and he’s sicker than ever. It’s absurd that full time doctors are paid to ‘work’ in that clinic. This place should be illegal.
In 2019 ME was finally officially removed from psychiatric disorders.
The Danish parliament voted unanimously for the separation of ME WHO ICD-10 G93.3 from Functional Disorders and has called for the Department of Health documentation to be amended to reflect this. The ME diagnosis was therefore also removed from Per Fink and the rest of the psychiatrists’ grasp.
However, it has not stopped Per Fink and the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics yet. They refuse to remove the diagnoses they have given Danish patients and continue to try to have an influence. Therefore, Liselott Blixt (DF), a politician who is fighting for better conditions for ME-patients, now threatens the Danish Health Minister with a no-confidence motion1.
Hopefully, Per Fink and his team will eventually be removed from the field completely.