Elvis Children

The replacementchildforum.com congratulates Ard Nieuwenbroek, Contextual Psychotherapist and Supervisor in The Netherlands, on his upcoming publication: Elviskinderen (Elvis Children)https://www.accouitgeverij.nl/winkel/elviskinderen. The book is coming out in Dutch in November 2023 and will hopefully soon be translated into English.

The subtitle Coming out of the shadow of a missing sibling conveys the therapeutic aim of the book, to explore the ethical/relational dimensions of replacement children. The book offers deep existential understanding and effective interventions. It will be launched at a Symposium organized by OrthoHulp on November 30, 2023 in Zaltbommel, in The Netherlands. The Symposium is open to therapists, replacement children, parents and teachers, and will be mostly held in Dutch. The presentation byKristina Schellinski, Co-Founder and Director of Programs for the Replacement Child Forum, will be in English on the life-affirming effects of recognizing and working through the existential questions faced by an Elvis-Child as laid out by Ard Nieuwenbroek and Judith Kimenai, the authors of Elviskinderen. Participants can register for participation in the Symposium at  https://inschrijven.orthohulp.nl/elviskinderen/, and to receive a video recording of the event. 

The Elvis Child is a genial, new term invented by Nieuwenbroek since the term replacement children in some cases hurts the feelings of parents who are welcoming a new child into the family after the devastating loss of a child. Not every child born after the loss of a sibling (or even a surviving child), is necessarily a replacement child, but for some, being born into a family having experienced loss and feeling as if to make up for that loss can have life-long existential consequences. Elvis Child refers to Elvis Presley who lost his twin brother at birth, Elvis and his mother were deeply affected by this loss, with reverberations across generations.


Below is the lively and deeply personal discussion with Ard Nieuwenbroek and the three Co-Founders of the replacementchildforum.com (Kristina Schellinski, Judy Mandel and Rita Battat). He discusses how he came to discover patients suffering from the replacement child condition in his clinical practice of over 40 years, and at 72-years-old, that he himself is an Elvis Child. Loyalties and protection mechanisms and perhaps an unconscious wish to make mother (or father) happy, may keep an Elvis Child from acknowledging the absence of a sibling. “I noticed I was crying,” Ard says, “when I heard my inner voice questioning myself: ‘mom, am I doing the right thing to speak about this?'”

The discussion among these experts concludes with how replacement children may find relief and healing when they are recognized and able to fully live their own existence.