Why do people keep on drinking too much alcohol even if they really want to quit? Why do some people hear voices that no one else can hear? What does disgust have to do with sex?
What is a panic attack? How effective is mindfulness for people who suffer from a major depressive disorder?
You will ask these and similar other questions during your master's year Clinical Psychology. The programme focuses on three important, inter-related topics:
This master takes an evidence-based approach in that the course material covering these three areas is based on findings from (experimental) empirical research. You will learn how to apply scientific findings to clinical practice, and in turn, how experiences in the clinic can be translated to testable research questions.
GGZ Drenthe - psychosis team
When I finished the Master's programme in Clinical psychology in 2010 I was in my early twenties, and I was not sure whether I wanted to find a job as a psychologist right away.
I had done an internship at the Association of Mental
Health and Addiction Care in Drenthe (GGZ Drenthe) and I had
sometimes felt too young, especially when interacting with older
patients. That is why I decided to do a PhD first. I examined the
treatment of patients with a depression relapse. I enjoyed doing
research, but after the PhD I wanted to work as a real
I did the postdoctoral GZ training programme to become a healthcare psychologist. When you finish your Master's degree you are a basic psychologist. This means that you may not yet make diagnoses or perform treatments independently. I did the training whilst working at GGZ Drenthe. During the two year training programme I worked four days a week and went to school for one day a week.
After the training, I could stay at my job and at the moment I work for the psychosis team of GGZ Drenthe. We mainly work with young people with a first psychosis or at risk of a first psychosis. I do for example intakes, psychological research and cognitive behavioural therapy. It is a very diverse job. Sometimes it is hard, but it is very nice to be able to help these young people.
I use a lot of the things I learned during my studies. The research and conversations methods we learned are still useful every day. I think there is not such a big difference between doing research at a university or in a clinic. In both contexts you have a certain hypothesis, about a research field or about a patient, which you have to test. You gather information, it takes a while, and in the end you come to a conclusion. The way of thinking is the same.
My advice for current students is to find a nice internship (which can be hard) and to choose the right courses so that you will be accepted for the postdoctoral training. It is quite hard to get into the postdoctoral training programme, soP it might be useful to have a plan B.
Basic psychologist in the GZ-programme
I did not study abroad during my Bachelor's programme and when I saw a message from this study programme that they were looking for a student who was willing to write his or her Master's thesis in Canada, I immediately responded. This way, I still had the opportunity to go abroad during my studies. I did research on neuroticism with monozygotic twins for half a year there. It was a great experience which I can recommend to anyone.
After the Bachelor in Psychology I decided to do the Master’s programme in ‘Clinical Psychology’. At first, I had to get used to the Master’s programme. At the exams we suddenly had mainly open questions instead of the multiple choice questions, which we had during the Bachelor’s programme. We studied the material in greater depth, which was nice. However, everything was still quite theoretical during the Master’s programme. That is why I am glad that I did an internship; I learned a lot from that.
I did an internship at Maarsingh & van Steijn, a
psychologists practice in Leeuwarden. In the beginning, I watched
the work of my colleagues a lot, but after a while I was also
allowed to treat people myself. I thought that was very scary but
at the same time a lot of fun and incredibly interesting.
After graduating, I was able to stay and I would work for several hours a week on my internship. Gradually, I could work more and more hours and now I am even allowed to start the GZ-programme next month. Then I will have one training day a week and three normal working days at the practice.
I am now a basic psychologist. I am allowed to do a lot of things, but still officially under the supervision of some colleagues. Usually, I see about five people a day; I talk to all of them for about an hour. I do coaching, assessments, psychological treatments and diagnostics. I also write reports and contact GP’s and employers. Once I am officially qualified as a GZ psychologist I can write my own name under the reports, and I will have more basic knowledge I can rely on.
I really like my job. It is very diverse, I treat people with all kinds of problems. I also give group trainings, for example, to people with a negative self-image. At the moment, I only treat people under 35, because otherwise the age difference becomes too big. I see a lot of students, because I am still quite young and it is easier for me to understand them.
I chose this programme because I am really interested in psychotherapy.
My name is Magdalena Hristova and I'm from Bulgaria. I came to Groningen five years ago to follow a Bachelor's programme in Psychology. Now I'm following a Master's programme in Clinical Psychology. When I left school in Bulgaria, I knew I wanted to study abroad, in English. I looked at universities in the Netherlands, because I knew I liked the country, and found the Bachelor's programme in Groningen. It was not only the only programme taught in English, but also the most appealing.
During my Bachelor's programme I became really interested in psychotherapy. I chose the Master's programme in Clinical Psychology because I wanted to learn more about it. I had learned Dutch during my Bachelor's programme, so was able to follow the Dutch-taught Master's programme – at the time it was not taught in English. It's been hard at times, but my lecturers and fellow students have really helped me. I love the Dutch openness and the freedom to do what you want.
In my work as a student assistant at the UMCG, I help train medical students, and this got me interested in working with groups. As I wanted to learn more about this, I started a second Master's programme in Utrecht: Social and Organizational Psychology. In future, I would like to combine both Master's degrees in my work.
I like the city of Groningen. Everything is close by, so you can
go everywhere by bike. In Bulgaria you always have to take the bus,
but the bike is a lot better, for yourself and for the environment.
There are a lot of student societies that you can join in
Groningen. I joined a student swimming club in my second year,
which really improved my Dutch.
In my time here I have really challenged myself. Even if I thought something was impossible I still went for it. The Master's programme has been difficult but I haven't given up. This made me realize that I'm capable of more than I think I am. If you think you can't do something, I would say go for it anyway. You'll find help along the way.
Marieke Pijnenborg - Associate professor Clinical Psychology & Experimental Psychopathology
I teach the course units 'Evidence-based interventions' and 'Diagnostic models and strategies' on the Clinical Psychology Track. Although I work for the departments of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, my research lies somewhere between the departments of Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology. I feel at home in both fields.
My particular expertise is in psychotic disorders. Psychoses are extremely interesting. They create a very unique clinical picture, with many different manifestations and affecting many different types of people. It is fascinating to see how the brain can fool itself. People believe unimaginable things that other people cannot understand or see, regardless of contradictions or external proof. The next question is how best to help these people return to functioning in society. Increasing social participation and counteracting stigmatization are thus my most important objectives.
Psychology is a branch of science that is very close to daily life. Psychologists study day-to-day social processes. The main attraction of clinical psychology is to make a difference for other people. Curiosity is a major factor – curiosity about the causes of problematic behaviour and the motivation to find out how to best treat these problems.
The Clinical Psychology Track has a lot to offer prospective students. For example, we look at scientific themes from a clinical practice point of view, while at the same time paying attention to innovations in care. We also conduct experimental research to see which processes lie behind certain forms of psychopathology. The expertise of the lecturers is very varied – we have a lot of knowledge from many different domains.