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Bolk's Companions Group

We are the Bolk’s Companions Group. We are a group of curious Dutch MDs, who just love medical science. We are interested in life, consciousness, healing processes and anything else that can be helpful in treating our patients. We read, write, discuss, teach and practice in this field. And we do research. However, as medical practitioners we encountered a contradiction between what modern science reveals… and what we experience in our daily practices where we treat each patient as an individual!

Here’s the thing:

Ever since modern medical science made a serious start -by analyzing dead bodies for example- it has been a source of countless findings and progression. But modern medical science is reductionistic. In fact, it continued doing exactly what professor Tulp on the famous Rembrandt picture initiated: it seeks to understand life, and life processes, by ‘zooming in’ on specific parts of the human body. After macroscopic examination, the microscope was introduced. You may say, that it became the most significant scientific instrument ever since.

Almost to a point where it seems that zooming in to a molecular or even an atomic level is the only way to understand what life, health and disease are all about. As a result, medical students today learn a lot about the human body, that is basically established through this ‘microscoping’-principle. By the time they graduate, young doctors have their heads full of details and protocols - based on all this knowledge. Heading for their patients, who however still fail to look like very complex bundles of atoms! Well, according to us, anyway.

Now here’s our point:

Can we maintain awareness of the coherence of the changing organism - the human being who is our patient - as we study the details? And if so, how can we do that with a scientific approach? And here’s another one:

Can we give scientific basis to our sense that human beings have unique human features? Finally:

How can we fully understand psychosomatics…?

In other words, how can we unite reductionism with:

  • Our sense of wholeness

  • Pattern recognition

  • And even our clinical intuition… In a scientific way?


Now we are the Bolk’s Companions Group, remember? Professor Louis Bolk was a professor of Anatomy. He became famous for his theory of neoteny, which is an idea about how our bodies were shaped during evolution. But this is quite a complex subject. But here’s what’s important: 

Professor Bolk did something many other scientist didn’t do …yet…. He developed and employed comparative scientific methods of investigation which conveyed new insights to his subjects. With these insights, he was able to place his findings in a meaningful context. To employ his method, he instructed his students to use a ‘MACROSCOPE’ - rather than a microscope, well, not literally, of course. Professor Bolk wanted his students to take a few steps back as well, and then look again, to be able to see more! And to become aware of a coherence that –apparently- can be found in all those details after all.

We found that professor Bolk’s contribution to scientific methodology is so important when searching for answers to our questions, that we curious as we are founded a research group and named it after him. We developed a methodology we now call the 4-step approach, based on Bolk’s findings. And we think that in the oceans of reductional facts and details, this approach helps us to retrieve coherence, insight in psychosomatics, and wholeness in science. And this can also be applied in our daily practices.


Since 2001 we have published over nineteen Bolk’s Companions with the purpose to share our findings with our medical colleagues and students, and made them available at this website. 

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