Stockholm Syndrome

The man who first came up with and utilized the term Stockholm syndrome, was a Swede named Nils Bejerot who was the psychiatric advisor during the Norrmalmstorg robbery. Nils, who is since deceased, was also a criminologist.


In August 1973, the Norrmalmstorg robbery involved four hostages who were kept captive for six days. This major hostage event was the first criminal event to be televised live in Sweden. This was a captivating bank robbery and hostage crisis that took place in a bank in the capital city of Stockholm. It would also be the origin of what we know refer to as Stockholm syndrome.


Jan-Erik "Janne"Olsson attempted to hold up a bank in central Sweden, in 1973, while being on leave from prison. Two policemen entered the bank, one was injured after being shot at by Jan-Erik and the other policeman was instructed to sing while he had to sit. The bank robber proceeded to insist that his friend Clark Olofsson be brought there, along with 3 million Swedish Kronor, two guns, bulletproof vests, helmets, and a fast car. Jan-Erik’s friend, Clark, was a repeat offender who had committed several armed robberies and acts of violence, from the age of 16.

Four hostages were kept captive in a vault, the police attempted to gain access by drilling a hole from the apartment above. After this was done, a camera took pictures of the situation and Jan-Erik shot up into the hole and wounded another policeman.

Finally despite threats of killing the hostages, if gas was used by the police, the robbers did surrender due to a gas attack from the police force.

Jan-Erik is known to be married to his Thai wife and living in Thailand, after serving an extended sentence in Sweden. His autobiography has also been published in 2009. A film has also been made, based on the events of this robbery.

One of the myths that has spread from the Norrmalmstorg robbery, is that one or both of the captors became engaged to a female hostage.

Basically the hostages of the Norrmalmstorg robbery developed empathy and sympathy for their captors and with these positive feelings they also tried to defend the criminals.

Anyone held captive is believed to develop Stockholm syndrome if the following circumstances apply:
•Believing your captor can and will kill you
•Being isolated from anyone but your captors
•Belief that escape is impossible
•Expanding your captor's acts of kindness into genuine care for each other's welfare.

Victims of Stockholm syndrome are known to be strictly isolated. The victims may also be exposed to emotional and physical abuse. Battered spouses, incest victims, abused children, prisoners of war, cult victims and kidnapped or hostage victims can all be classed as displaying characteristics of Stockholm syndrome. In any of these cases, victims may respond in a compliant and supportive way as this is a tactic for survival.

This is traumatic bonding and can occur in any situation where a victim is harassed, beaten, abused or threatened. Stockholm syndrome can also be known as capture-bonding, and is a psychological phenomenon.

For more information, please view: http://counsellingresource.com

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http://www.bbc.co.uk