From a clinical and social psychological perspective, this exploratory study aims at relating the hostage experience to hostage negotiation strategies. Therefore, we conducted 11 semi-structured and in-depth interviews with victims of two types of hostage-taking: sieges and kidnappings. The results showed that all hostages reported feelings of helplessness. Additionally, feelings of uncertainty and isolation were particularly strong for victims of kidnapping, while this was not the case for victims of sieges. Furthermore, our analyses suggest that prudence is called for labeling the positive bond that is likely to develop between hostages and their captors as some sort of psychological artifact. We conclude with some general guidelines for estimating and promoting the psychological well-being of hostages during their captivity. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.