Psychiatrists working with Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch have called for her to be given at least 10 days of calm following her flurry of interviews about her kidnap ordeal. Helping Kampusch back to psychological stability and a normal life is now the priority for those surrounding the 18-year-old, but the news that she’s ill and exhausted after her television and magazine interviews has already raised questions about the high profile strategy being employed. A media adviser negotiated lucrative rights deals for the interviews, but only time will tell whether the exposure proves worth the financial reward.
Kampusch’s contacts with her own mother Brigitta Sirny have been extremely limited and within a context defined by the team of psychiatrists that accompanies. The mother has complained of the lack of opportunity for spontaneous interaction with her daughter. The psychiatric team says it has acted on the wishes of a mature 18-year-old able to make decisions for herself. Critics have questioned whether someone who has just escaped from 8 years captivity can judge her own best interests. She was ten years old when she was kidnapped by salesman Wolfgang Priklopil, who has since committed suicide.
Dr Max Friedrich is the psychiatrist in charge of looking after Kampusch. He says what she needs is to find her own self and an emotional balance between highs and lows, describing this as an experimental phase. He said that she had now chosen to stay in a neuropsychiatry ward and asked the media not to photograph her should she choose to go on outings.