During the exchange year in my bachelor’s, I discovered the bilingual study offers of the University of Fribourg. To me, the possibility to study in several languages (French, German and sometimes English) at the same time was perfect both on a personal level as well as well as an academic one. What brought me to clinical psychology was the opportunity of working in a one-to-one setting, where you can feel that your work has a real positive impact. Knowing that what I’m doing has a purpose is really important to me. Finally, the approaches taught in Fribourg are mostly client-centered and cognitive behavioral. I think that anyone considering a master’s in clinical psychology should take this into account when choosing where to pursue their degree. Ideally, you identify with the approaches taught—which is my case in Fribourg. (As a side note, the same holds in psychotherapy: therapists who are convinced by their approach also tend to be more successful!)
How do you feel about your choice today?
I’m very happy with my training in research methods. We even had an optional class dedicated to meta-analysis. I had very engaging and interesting classes in neighboring fields such as epidemiology and Applied Behavior Analysis. Last but not least, the psychology department in Fribourg being quite small, this meant I enjoyed close follow-up from my thesis supervisor. I never felt like just a number on a list. However, it also means that the selection of classes is not as big as what you could maybe find in larger universities. Sometimes I found my options a bit limited when filling in the last credits of my program. All in all, I’m very pleased with what I’ve learned, and the skills I’ve acquired during my studies here, doing hands on work, such as practicing structured clinical interviews.
What are some future career options that you consider?
I’m currently I’m aiming to do a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and enroll in a post-graduate program to become a psychotherapist. I could also picture myself working with in a public institution in the field of health promotion. I believe the methodological and clinical skills I’ve picked up in Fribourg will help me follow that path.
Thank you for your time Niels! That’s all for this season! Good luck to all future master’s students out there!
In my Matura thesis, I had already taken an interest in the homo economicus and analyzed whether this conception of man is still up to date. For me, human behavior in an economic context is extremely exciting, because we are presented with consumer decisions every day.
Before I decided on a field of study, I took a RIASEC test at the career counseling center. I scored full marks for a career in the field of psychology. My career counselor advised me to follow that path, and I choose to go with that piece of advice.
I then started looking for a specific program, and I sat down to learn more about the different career possibilities in psychology. During my search, I came across a new bachelor’s degree in Business Psychology, offered by the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. The courses combined everything that interested me. I liked it so much that at the end of my bachelor’s I decided to pursue a master’s in the same field.
To this day, I have no regrets about my choice and can only recommend studying business psychology!
How do you feel about your choice today?
I absolutely love it. My academic education has enabled me to enter the field of behavioral economics consulting. I am also finishing my master’s degree. I am extremely happy with my academic and professional decisions and highly recommend it.
What are some future career options that you consider?
After my studies, I would like to start working full time for my current employer, elaboratum, a consulting firm. I am really looking forward to it, and I’m already involved in many exciting projects and look forward to going to work every day.
My co-students from the master’s program work in related fields. Some have moved into marketing, others are user-experience researchers, product managers, market researchers and many other professional fields where the perspective offered by someone with a background in psychology is welcome.
The exam period is upon us once again, and if you’re like us, you probably don’t mind a little break from studying. Why not use your pause for something useful, like reading a few suggestions on how to make the most of the time you have left to prepare for your exams?
Now before we dive into this, I want to make a small disclaimer. I wrote The Official psyCH Study Tips! in the title because it sounded better, but I have to be honest with you, Kristian’s Personal Tongue-in-cheek Suggestions for Students Approaching an Exam, is closer to what I’m actually doing here. In essence, everyone has their own preferences, strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning. I for one am almost unable to remember anything I hear. To compensate, I take notes all the time. Talking to my mother, or talking to my thesis advisor, it makes no difference. If it’s not spelled out in letters, it’s gone in 5 minutes. I even have to check my ID to remember my age every now and then. Sometimes I wonder how I even made it beyond my bachelor’s, but I digress. All I’m trying to say is that these suggestions seemed to have worked for me, so maybe they can work for you. Let’s get into it!
Make a study plan
You don’t learn from just sitting in the library, you learn from studying. At first glance this seems so obvious that it’s bordering on a truism, and yet it’s easily forgotten. Only time spent actually working is valuable to you when preparing for your exams. The first step towards minimising the gap between library-time and effective-work-time is to get organised. Draw up an overview of all the hours at your disposal, and assign specific tasks to each timeslot.
Don’t just put general things like “studying” (then you’re going to end up like me, writing blog posts when you should be writing summaries). Be as specific as possible, for example: 10h-12h: Social Psychology: Write summaries of chapter 3-4. Specify what, when and where, with a concrete goal in mind, so you know how far you’ve advanced. Above all, be realistic in your goals, you can always adjust them later if you’ve misjudged your capabilities.
Now before you start drawing up 14 hour days, have a look at the next suggestion
Stick to your usual schedule!
Imagine for a moment you’re preparing for a sprinting competition. You need to run 60 metres as fast as possible.
This is basically what an exam is. You can argue that exams are far from the best way to assess you abilities (I’m sure there is some psychological model explaining the different phases of despair when facing an upcoming exam, trying to argue against the importance of exams is probably the first one) and you may be right, but the fact of the matter remains: you have been assigned a very short period to show all you’ve learned during the last semester.
Now back to the race. How would you prepare for a sprint ? Would you spend three weeks running as many marathons as you can, and then show up on race day with a few cans of red bull, hoping that you make it to the finish line?
It sounds ridiculous when put like this, and yet this is what plenty of students do each exam period, and they keep doing it year after year.
In concrete terms, this means that when preparing your schedule, you use short intervals, just as if you were trying to increase your cardiovascular fitness. For me that means at maximum two hours for each task, longer then that and I’m bored to death long before the end. Even more importantly: pace yourself. Despite what many students seem to think, you don’t get a medal for sitting in the library until 2 in the morning. You don’t get a medal for doing good on your exam either (unless you do VERY good, but you’re reading this instead of studying, so we both know that’s not going to happen), but good grades are always helpful, and being exhausted on the third day of your study period because you worked for 14 hours yesterday is not going to get you anywhere.
Try to stick to your usual schedule as much as reasonably possible. Only hours spent working effectively count towards your exam, so make sure the hours you spend in the library enter into that category. When the sun has settled, and you’re so hungry and tired that you keep confusing b’s with d’s, it’s time to head home.
Some Roman guy once wrote “Mens in sana in corpore sano”, which translates to “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. You’ve probably heard this before, but I’m going to help you understand what it means for your exam preparation. The exam period is not a good time to stop exercising! That being said, make sure you do something fun, like playing football, climbing or whatever you like ( I personally hate football). Despite what the behaviourist wants you to believe, you’re not actually a rat (even though you might smell like one). Running in a wheel or pushing buttons up and down are not fun ways for humans to exercise. Pursue physical activity during your exam period for the fun of it, not just to move. Your grades will improve.
Talk to other students about the material
As you get closer to the exams you have a better grip on the materials. Now it’s time to clear any misconceptions from your mind, and above all, do some active rehearsal. Find the smartest girl or guy in your class or friend group, and ask them to study with you. Ask each other questions, exchange summaries, discuss what parts you find the most interesting, and tie it to something from your everyday life.
For example, if you’re revising evolutionary psychology you can talk about how you can’t seem to find anyone willing to reproduce with you, or if you’re studying social psychology, talk about how the the Dunning-Kruger effect relates to your personal experience at university!
So there you go. I hope these suggestions help you, and if they didn’t, then you’re probably doing it wrong 😉
« No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness“
-Aristotle, 384-322 BCE
The representation of mental illness and the way society treats it has changed significantly throughout the years. Findings of 7000 year-old skulls, with holes in them, assumed to have been drilled with the goal of releasing evil spirits, believed to be the cause of mental illness (Stanwell-Smith, 2019). People with mental illnesses were considered as possessed, or even worse, as otherworldly. The treatment they were given was even more inhumane like cold baths and lobotomy (Stanwell-Smith, 2019).
But, with time and progress, research and diagnosis – pioneers in psychiatry such as Philipe Pinel fought to abolish the negative stigma of mental illness, and for a more humane treatment (Corrigan & Bink, 2016).
Slowly but surely, people with mental illness started to be considered as real individuals, capable of both contributing to, and to be a part of society.
It goes without saying that the negative stigma has still not been entirely erased from the public consciousness. History still casts long shadows into the present, and psychopathology is still associated with violence and dangerous behavior. This has consequences for the social and professional integration of those suffering from mental disorders. As a result, people do not seek help or even seek to avoid hospitalization, (Overton & Medina, 2008). « We can say that mental illness is like a two-edged sword. On one side, there are the symptoms, the distress and the disability that withhold people from pursuing their personal goals. On the other, there is stigma: the social injustice many people labeled mentally ill experience » (Corrigan & Bink, 2016).
This matter also influences the young generations. It is still taboo to talk about mental health problems. TheZETA Movement was created precisely in order to fight against the stigmatization and silence facing the young generations regarding the topic of mental health in Switzerland.
Read on for a short interview with one of the founders of the ZETA Movement, Emma Broggini!
As the co-founder of this project, how would you describe the ZETA Movement ?
I would say that the ZETA Movement is a group of young people who have decided to actively do something for mental health awareness. We recognize that mental health is a very important and relevant topic in our society that is too often stigmatized. We decided to engage with the issue and break the cycle of stigma.
What are the goals you want to reach with your project ?
I think the first goal we have is to start the conversation on mental health issues, because we are convinced that to talk about it is the first step towards a society that is more tolerant and understanding regarding mental health. We do this by creating safe spaces in which this type of conversation can take place. The more we talk about it, the less taboos and prejudices we will have about the topic.
Are you satisfied with the results of the ZETA Movement so far ?
Absolutely! I would even say that I’m way more than satisfied. I am surprised, and definitely proud of all our achievements and the milestones we’ve reached. Not only in terms of the number of people that are joining our movement, but also because of the recognition that we receive. That being said, I think that the most important success and achievement we have had, is that people and young people in particular are benefitting from the ZETA Movement, meaning that they can find a safe space to talk about mental health.
What is the ZETA Movement doing to fight the two-sided problem of stigmatization faced by people with mental health issues ?
The ZETA Movement is trying to act on both sides of the problem. On one hand we are telling people that they are not alone in whatever they’re going through, and that they can find help. And on the other hand we are providing safe spaces where the stigmatization you find in society is absent, and you can just talk, listen and be yourself with whatever bagage you have regarding mental health issues.
Thank you so much for your time, is there anything which you would like to add ?
Yes, one of our biggest projects is training young Ambassadors. They are young people who have experienced mental health issues in their lives, and go to various locations where there are young people, like schools, associations and youth centers, to talk about their experiences. We just started opening for new applications. We would be very happy if anyone reading this post would like to apply and contribute. Click here to apply!
Corrigan, P. W., & Bink, A. B. (2016). The Stigma of Mental Illness. In Encyclopedia of Mental Health (p. 230234). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-397045-9.00170-1
Overton, S. L., & Medina, S. L. (2008). The Stigma of Mental Illness. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86(2), 143151. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2008.tb00491.x
Stanwell-Smith, R. (2019). Mad, bad and dangerous to know? History and mental health. Perspectives in Public Health, 139(3), 110. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913919838164
Have you ever looked for a therapist or has anyone ever asked you to recommend one? If so, you likely asked yourself which type of therapy would be good for the person in need of help.
Finding an answer to this important question is not easy. Treating a mental health condition is not a one-size fits all approach. Patients with the same mental health diagnosis can be heterogeneous with regard to underlaying disease mechanisms, etiological factors, course and response to treatment. This means that “symptoms” of the same diagnostic category can have very different functions and histories. Psychotherapy should be viewed and practiced while considering the patient’s unique context. And it should be flexible enough to be dynamically guided by theoretical and empirically testable principles and procedures throughout the therapy.
This is where a process-based approach to therapy comes in. Process-based therapy (PBT) puts processes rather than packages at center stage. Processes are not static, mechanical “techniques”. They refer to the modifiable elements of treatment, that help a particular patient in a particular situation resolving problems and increasing well-being. PBT represents a shift in perspective on human suffering and the process of behavior change. The new MAS in PBT offered by the University of Basel is dedicated to cultivate this shift in perspective for the new generation of psychotherapists. So doing, it trains clinical psychologists to handle the complexity, individuality and context-sensitivity of human behavior in the service of helping their patients live better lives.
Apply now for a start of your psychotherapy training in fall 2021 or 2022 and get more information here: https://mas-pbt.unibas.ch/
Authors : Dr. Elisa Haller, Prof. Dr. Andrew Gloster & Victoria Block, M.Sc.
A few posts back on the blog, we decided to talk about the flow experience, which is basically the experience of being fully engaged with a task and being in a state of deep concentration. This experience was notably associated with increased well being. The contrary to this appears to be mind-wandering, an activity that I know a lot of my fellow students are very familiar with during those zoom classes.
Mind-Wandering refers to those moments where our minds stray from the here and now to go towards internal thoughts, that are unrelated to the events that are going on around us. We can also refer to this as “stimulus-independent thought” (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010), and it occurs when our cognitive and attentional resources for the external world are low. The capacity we have to wander allows us plan, learn and reason, but it may also have a negative effect on our emotional state. Indeed, mind-wandering has been often linked to unhappiness. For example, Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) conducted a study that used an iPhone application which sent notifications throughout the day to participants who then had to answer three questions. These questions were : “ How are you feeling right now ? What are you doing right now ? and are you thinking about something other than what you’re currently doing ?” (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010). The mains results showed that people tended to mind-wander a lot, but most importantly, that they reported being less happy when they were mind-wandering compared to when they were not. This happened even though most people tended to wander to pleasant thoughts (42% of the samples) (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010).
If mind-wandering is linked to unhappiness, it would be important to consider what kind of thoughts people have during this state. This is important because the effect of having past-focused thoughts is different from having future-focused thoughts. In fact, healthy individuals show a reduction of positive mood as well as increased cortisol levels and depressive symptoms while having past-focused thoughts. On the contrary, when people wander towards the future, they experience an increase in positive mood and a lower stress response (Hoffmann, Banzhaf, Kanske, Bermpohl & Singer, 2016). A study aimed to investigate where the mind of clinical depressed people wanders, took into account whether the thoughts they had were past, future, self or other related as well as their valence (Hoffmann et al., 2016). This study found that patients with major depression tended to mind-wander more than healthy individuals and that they experienced more self and past related thoughts that had a negative valence (Hoffmann et al., 2016). These findings are relevant because they show the importance of identifying the content of the thoughts while the mind is wandering. More importantly, it also shows the advantages of mindfulness-based therapies in treating depression, since the goal of these therapies is to train the capacity of being in the here and now.
Hoffmann, F., Banzhaf, C., Kanske, P., Bermpohl, F., & Singer, T. (2016). Where the depressed mind wanders : Self-generated thought patterns as assessed through experience sampling as a state marker of depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 198, 127‑134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.03.005
Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Science, 330(6006), 932. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1192439
The Swiss Professional Association for Applied Psychology
What does the SBAP offer ?
SBAP fights for the concerns of psychologists on a political level and offers a variety of services such as further education (emergency psychology, coaching in ADHD and autism spectrum disorder, etc.).
What is the benefit for me as a student or young professional to be part of the SBAP ?
At the moment, three areas are being developed and expanded from which you can benefit as a member.
The first area is personal support. A pool of SBAP members from various areas of the psychological world provide answers to individual questions from students and young professionals.
The second area includes workshops, trainings and company visits that are tailored to students and young professionals. As a member, you receive discounts, and all interested parties can take part.
Unfortunately, the company visits had to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19 and will not be resumed until 2022.
Online Webinars 2021:
Job application workshop (April 2021)
Opportunities and Diversity in the psychological World of Work (October 2021)
The third area is online support, which is still in progress. In the internal members’ area there will be a platform with FAQs on studies and career entry, portraits of psychologists from various fields as well as further information on further education and employers.
Who can become a SBAP member ?
Psychologists from studies until retirement.
Would you like to get to know the SBAP? Then sign up now for a trial membership. For the first year you pay only 50% of the student rate (CHF 50.- instead of CHF 100.-) and still benefit from all advantages. Send us an e-mail with the subject “Schnuppern 21” and your details (surname, first name, address). For further information, please contact the office (email@example.com).
We look forward to hearing from you and are happy to answer any questions you may have. The SBAP team (www.sbap.ch).
These past months have been a huge work in terms of adaptation. Between closure and reopening of schools, the program kept on going and exams still took place. How would we stop education?
Yet, the impact that the lockdown has on students is very considerable. When for some it is way better to study from home, for some others it is a nightmare. Closed in a 15m2 room, all alone, having to motivate yourself to study every day with no interaction can be very heavy with time. The difficulty is emphasized for the students who just began their first year of university. Indeed, the start of studies itself is a very big step in one’s life and feeling all alone can be very dangerous for the continuation of the studies. In France, the situation of students is not very considerate (#Étudiantsfantomes, 2021) and due to the suicides of several students (Nouveau suicide étudiant. La politique du gouvernement est criminelle !, s. d.) they decided to mobilize together to be seen and to protest against the situation. Thus, they created a hashtag named ghoststudents (#etudiantsfantomes) to collect testimonies in which they express how they feel towards the home studying, their impression of not being considered as part of society and not being supported. The main reason for this hashtag is to raise awareness and connect students together in order to feel less alone in their difficulties. There are some accounts on Instagram under the name @anxietudessuperieures (higher studies anxiety) in France and Belgium and there is also one for the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Claire, a student at the University of Bern, manages the account for the French part of Switzerland (@anxietudessuperieures.ch). I asked her a few questions on her motivations to hold such a platform and here are her answers:
What prompted you to follow the French movement?
“This period is very tough for every student and me included. When talking with some friends I could realize that I wasn’t the only one suffering and just the fact of knowing that gave me a little comfort. Besides that, frustration began to grow more and more with months passing by because my university worked less and less on listening to student’s difficulties and adapting the right conditions to lessons, exams and access to its infrastructures (our libraries closed during our exam session!) So, when I saw that the French launched a movement to break the silence around the conditions of students, I told myself let’s try and see if it will work in French-speaking Switzerland. As I suspected, the problem is not limited to France only…”
Did you have any specific expectation when you launched this account?
“No, I only thought that if I could make a student feel less alone with this account then all the work would have been worth everything. And according to the feedback I already received this goal is largely achieved and this is awesome.”
Do you plan to evolve or stick to the testimonies?
“For now as the account is still in growth and I have exams, I will keep going with posting testimonies for a while but I have some other ideas to add to them as for example a Discord platform to exchange, an open letter to Universities to ask more recognition and support and why not a demonstration (let’s be ambitious!).”
Is there any form of exchange or collaboration between you and other countries?
“I exchanged at the beginning of the account with France and Belgium to have some tips but now I mainly exchange with Swiss pages who respond to my stories like groupement of students, meme pages and mental health promotion association such as stopsucide.ch.”
Apart from collecting testimonies, the platform talks about mental health subjects that we often mix nowadays. Generalized anxiety, stress, depression, burn-out are all put in the same bag and yet they are not the same and the response you need to give each one differs.
Now, you know where to go if you feel alone and isolated due to your studies, seek help, your emotions are valid, we are not robots.
#Étudiantsfantomes : Le malaise des étudiants face à un confinement qui dure. (2021, janvier 13). France 24. https://www.france24.com/fr/france/20210113-étudiantsfantomes-le-malaise-des-étudiants-face-à-un-confinement-qui-dure
Nouveau suicide étudiant. La politique du gouvernement est criminelle ! (s. d.). Révolution Permanente. Consulté 29 janvier 2021, à l’adresse http://www.revolutionpermanente.fr/Nouveau-suicide-etudiant-La-politique-du-gouvernement-est-criminelle
Instagram account : @anxietudessuperieures.ch
Featured image :
Caz. H., [@henri_caz], (2121, January 15). N°15: Prisonné. https://www.instagram.com/p/CKERw7wDBio/?igshid=13a6yi0g6xk5u
Every good student knows that he should learn complex theories for his exams by repeating them constantly over several months, even though a glimpse in the overcrowded libraries one night before the exams proves that most of us don’t actually do that. But who am I to judge right? Learning, as we students know it, is often boring and exhausting. First, you have to fight to get a spot in the library, then you have to successfully ignore all the coffee-break requests from your buddies and by the time you start getting productive, it is already time for your lunch. One could now argue that you can start working after your lunch break, but as we all know you’ll get sleepy after eating so you take a nap. And after a nap you need a coffee. And after your coffee-break at 4 o’clock there is barely any reason to open your laptop for two more lousy hours. This scene describes a typical problem faced by students all around the world. But what if I told you that there are other ways to learn?
You don’t have to sit at a table for hours to learn. Most athletes learn while doing the exact opposite. Through repeated execution of movements they gain knowledge and control over their bodies. This is the so-called physical practice (PP). Although it is the most common way for athletes to learn and improve their skills it is not the only way. Mental Practice (MP) is also a well-established part of the training of athletes. They visualize a certain situation and the related movement before they actually move (Suinn, 1997). Or how Jack Niklaus, one of the most successful golfers, would put it: «I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head» (Niklaus, 1974, p. 79). Since this kind of practice works without any physical movement you can do it anywhere and anytime, even in your dreams! Well, provided that you have control over them which is exactly the definition of lucid dreams. In this rare condition which occurs mostly in the REM-Phase of sleep, you know that you are dreaming. Not only does this allow you to move freely through the landscape of your subconscious, but you can also influence it. This basically means that you can go to bed and when you’re getting lucid, create your individual learning environment and start practicing. In 2016 Stumbrys, Erlacher and Schredl compared the outcome of this lucid dream practice (LDP) with PP, MP and a control group in a field experiment. 68 individuals were asked to memorize a sequence of five numbers by pressing four keys on a computer keyboard as quickly and accurately as possible. After that, they went to bed and all participants, except for the control group, trained this task in different ways during the night. The MP group by visualizing, the PP group by performing and the LDP group by dreaming. The morning after, they repeated this task and the results were compared to the data from last evening. And indeed, they all made significant progress compared to the control group.
Learning by dreaming? This is literally a dream come true, right? Well there are a few points to consider before you hop in your bed to learn for the next exams. First of all, even though it seems possible to learn lucid dreaming, only 5% of the population has at least one lucid dream per week (Schredl & Erlacher, 2011). Secondly, there were no significant differences between the groups which indicates that LDP is not superior to the other forms of practice. And thirdly, you can only recreate something in your dreams if you have a memory of it. So, there is really no way around it, at some point you have to sit down and learn these psychological theories before you can recall them in your dreams.
So, what is the conclusion on LDP? It is a unique technique to learn and improve skills while sleeping. Particularly people who want to practice under special circumstances have the possibility to create a perfect learning environment without putting others or yourself at risk (e.g. surgeons, athletes etc.). Nevertheless, I doubt that you’ll pass next semester without some old-fashioned learning session in your local library. But now you have at least a good excuse for your next visit at the sleep room in the university. When your colleagues give you a judging look because you leave the table to take a nap, just tell them you will continue learning in your dreams.
Niklaus, J. (1974). Golf my way. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Schredl, M., & Erlacher, D. (2011). Frequency of lucid dreaming in a representative German sample. Perceptual and motor skills, 112(1), 104-108.
Stumbrys, T., Erlacher, D., & Schredl, M. (2016). Effectiveness of motor practice in lucid dreams: A comparison with physical and mental practice. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(1), 27-34.
Suinn, R. M. (1997). Mental practice in sport psychology: where have we been, where do we go?. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 4(3), 189-207.
Featured image :
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, (2004, December 12). Fat man and little boy. Giphy. https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6MbbT5ctRJeOnPIA/source.gif
Roxane is a student who is currently doing her Master degree in health Psychology in Lausanne. She took part in the Trainers’ School of this summer and here is her story.
“I confess that even though I had enthusiastically enrolled in PsyCh trainers’ school on the advice of a friend, I remember arriving in Därstetten, far from home and a bit stressed. Indeed, I was a bit afraid of not having the knowledge and skills to achieve thisweek of training.
In spite of this, I was still looking forward to learning how to give training and to getting more familiar with original training techniques, which could go beyond the rigid and formal framework of academic presentations. I wanted to stimulate my creativity and develop my skills in managing group dynamics and oral presentation. It was with this slight apprehension and these expectations that I walked through the door of this large chalet in Därstetten.
It’s been already a few weeks since I attended this training, and I can truly confirm that it was sensational, so enriching, so dense but so interactive and constructive. Very quickly I forgot my fears and I felt really comfortable and integrated.
During this week I had the opportunity to attend, day after day, lessons about adult learning and oral presentation skills. I also learned progressively how to structure a training, how to define the different stages of reflection that participants should go through, how to set goals, to identify the participant’s needs and to adjust the content of a training according to each person’s experience and expectations. I learned how to give constructive feedback, enriching debriefings, how to facilitate and moderate group discussions.
I learned how to give training, but not from the point of view of a teacher who would know everything and students who would know nothing. One of the things I liked the most during the PsyCH trainer’s School 2020 was the philosophy behind the trainings. The fact that knowledge is built together, and that we are not there as experts. Everyone is an expert and everyone brings something to the training. It is this idea of participation that I really appreciated. It was lively, it was rich.
I also got familiar with a multitude of equally creative methods to transmit content, to make this transmission dynamic and interactive. To link it with our life experiences so that it is imprinted in our memory for much more longer.
The trainers did an amazing job throughout the week to pass on what they knew and so that we could apply it as much as possible. One thing I also loved was the benevolence that reigned throughout all the week, this solidarity, this complicity. Everyone contributed to create a safe space, where everything was possible and every attempt was constructive and allowed us to learn. I learned in one week so much more, so much better! I will be able to apply all this knowledge, both in my academic cursus and in my everyday life.
For all these reasons, I recommend the experience of participating in the PsyCh trainer’s school. It will allow you to develop original and creative presentation techniques and skills. To transmit knowledge and content in a dynamic and participative way. This experience will also allow you to become part of a team, a family, and create very strong connections. I definitely recommend it.”
Internships offer the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into a sector or a company, to make contacts, to learn about other aspects of one’s own field of study, or to put learned theory into practice.
In order to choose the right internship position, clear ideas should first be developed about which position will help you advance professionally. Interested students need to know which practical experience is desired in a particular sector.
If there is a clear desire for a specific job, first experiences in this area can already be gained with a concrete internship. This is an advantage for later applications. Example: Practicing the handling of interviews and questionnaires during an internship at the career guidance office.
If your job wish is still unclear, you can use an internship to get a taste of areas that are of interest to you. For example: During a research internship you can try out whether you enjoy your scientific work.
When should I do an internship?
It is never too early to gain professional experience. It is ideal if you have already completed an internship or several internships during your bachelor’s degree. At this stage, you probably have not really made up your mind and can get a taste of different areas. This makes it easier to find your professional focus later on. In the Master’s program, you should be able to decide on a specific field.
It is still possible to change even then, but the more intensively you concentrate on one area, the quicker you can get used to it. For example, companies appreciate it very much if you know your way around a field well and have some experience.
Possible practice areas:
Psychiatric and psychosomatic clinics (e.g. UPD, UPK, PUKZ, etc.)
Child and youth psychiatric services
Universities (research internship, assistant)
Organizational area (personnel selection and development)
Educational guidance centers
Career and occupational guidance
School Psychology Service
Outpatient psychological and psychiatric services
How or where can I find an internship?
The search for an internship is of course very different for everyone due to individual interests, which is why the search and the approach is always different. Therefore, I will try to mention some points that might help in general.
Network: By network, we mean a pool of friends, relatives, colleagues, seminar instructors, or even lecturers. Through these networks it is possible to collect information from various internship offers from different institutions. Depending on this, you can even learn from the network that an internship will soon be announced and that you can send an unsolicited application before. The bigger the network is, the more information one has available for the potential search for an internship. Exciting information can be obtained from every contact. If one person is not able to help you with your intern search, you can ask the person for another person who can help you. In this way, you might be able to find a person who has a vacant internship place through a recommendation. By the way, this principle also applies to all jobs in general.
Find open internship positions: This link list is a little help. It contains the most important links from my point of view and should give you some ideas on how and where you can search for internships in psychology. It is worth clicking through the pages to find out more.
psyPra:There you will find internships in various fields (organizations, clinics, institutions, universities, etc.)
Aerzte-Jobs: It helps to find a job for clinical psychologists. From time to time you can find internships in various clinics.
Research internships at the UZH: There is a wide range of internships available at the University of Zurich. Of course, all other university institutions also offer research internships. You only have to consult their sites regularly and look out for vacancies in the corridors from time to time.
SKJP: Internships in the field of child and youth psychology (school psychology).
I hope I was able to help you with this link list and this article. Of course, there are many more search options on the internet, but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that you can exchange information with others so that you know much more and expand your network. As I said before, the bigger your network is, the bigger your success for a cool internship.
The most important thing you need to know if you are looking for a PhD position is what you want to be working on in the future. Try to figure out what fascinates you and what skills you want to learn in the next couple of years. This can be rather broad – I knew that I wanted to work with brain imaging data, genetic data and psychiatric disorders. Search for positions accordingly.
Activate all resources
There are many ways to look for a PhD position. The most helpful one in my opinion is to ask people from your current lab and especially your current supervisor. They will know all important groups in the field and write your reference letters. Also talk to the career service centre at your University. They will assist you in writing a good CV and motivation letter.
Don’t settle for the easiest option
If you like your current lab and think that you will achieve your goals within this group – great! However, doing your PhD in a different lab will give you new perspectives, foster new collaborations, introduce you to new methods, it will look great on your CV and you might get the chance to spend some time abroad. This usually comes with more organisational problems but I think it’s worth it.
Find a great supervisor
One of the most important people in the life of a PhD student is his/her supervisor. They decide on which projects you will be working on, introduce you to other scientists in the field, help you progress, evaluate your findings and finally recommend you for post-doc positions. If you can, visit the group and talk to lab members in person. This gives you an idea of how you might fit in and a broad approximation of how happy other PhDs are with their supervisor.
Don’t give up and keep looking
Searching the perfect PhD position can be very frustrating. You will spend a lot of time looking for positions, applying and probably receive several rejections. Don’t get too fussed about it. Some Universities will turn you down and others won’t. This usually does not tell much about your qualifications.
Reach for the stars
Always be courageous! Everyone questions their competence and qualifications. Try to focus on your potential and highlight your strengths. If you find an interesting PhD position at a prestigious University, which seems out of reach, try anyway. You might be lucky and end up in Cambridge.
The semester is past the halfway point and the next one around the corner. If you are looking for a new challenge, joining an association might be right for you. The following article lists a few of the reasons some of our members and I joined psyCH and what we have been able to gain from it.
Connecting with others
For me and many others connecting with others was and still is one of the main reasons for joining and being a part of psyCH. Apart from making new friends, it has been a great opportunity to get insight into life at other universities and surpassing the language barriers within Switzerland.
Insight in different fields of psychology
PsyCH has created ways for me to deepen my knowledge about different areas of psychology. At the psyKo for example, different workshops and lectures let me learn about fields I had never heard of. The same goes for other students I have met through psyCH. Furthermore, as a part of the blog-team writing articles about different topics has the perk of getting to know more about various topics through research. Joining an association is certainly a way to deepen your knowledge on topics that interest you and meeting others who share your passion.
Becoming active in an association is a great way to gain new skills and insights. Obviously, these experiences depend on which tasks you are involved in, so the following are about my personal experiences. Being part of the psyKo organization team was challenging but at the same time very rewarding. It was interesting to see how much work goes into a congress behind the scenes and trained my coordination and improvisation skills when faced with challenges. I especially enjoyed having the freedom to turn my ideas into reality. In comparison being part of the blog-team has been an opportunity to work on other skills. There I have been given the chance to work on my writing as well as researching topics that interest me. In conclusion, there are many tasks to be done in associations, so if you are interested, ask around and you are likely to find a task that suits you.
Associations are a way to immerse yourself in new worlds and find new opportunities that can support you on your way. Before joining I did not know much about psyCH or EFPSA but since I have become a member lots of new doors have been opened. Obviously, many things can also be found on the internet these days but nothing beats a good personal recommendation (which you are sure to get in associations). Two examples of things I have discovered through psyCH are EFPSA and the trainer school. EFPSA is the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Organisations, which organizes a one-week long conference with tons of workshops about psychology every year. Furthermore, it is a gathering of psychology students from across Europe. So far I have not been able to attend the congress but it has been highly recommended by people who have visited it in the past. Apart from EFPSA I was introduced to the trainer school (organized by psyCH), where you learn how to lead trainings on team building, learn more about yourself and much more.
The above-mentioned points are only a few of the reasons to become involved. If you think psyCH might be right for you, check out our website! We are recruiting new members right now, so maybe you will find a task that is right for you.
Exams are around the corner and it’s time
to hit the books. As a psychology student, you have probably learned lots of
theories on how to maximize your study success and are aware of the importance
of distributed studying and taking breaks. While theories are nice, the
following article will introduce some useful tried and proven study tools, to
help you get through the coming weeks as smoothly as possible.
one of my favorite study tools. It is an App, that lets you create personalized
flashcards. The free version gives you access to all of the basic functions,
while the premium version lets you take your cards to the next level and add
images and diagrams. One of my favorite features is that you can share and
co-edit your sets with others. Depending on privacy settings you even have
access to cards others have created in the past, which can save you lots of
work. The software can be used on laptops or smartphones, making it easy to
study on the go or even creating your cards during lectures.
Maybe you are not into flashcards and
prefer mind maps in order to get a good overview of your classes. Mindjet
offers the option to create mind maps digitally. Some create the basic
structure before class so that they can add their notes during the lecture. I
personally use OneNote for mind maps, because I like drawing them by hand.
That, however, requires a laptop with a touch screen. So Mindjet is a good
alternative. Mindjet isn’t free but in order to get it inexpensively, you can
buy it from your university’s software store. (The same place where you can buy
This section is probably most important for
new students. One of the greatest tools to use during your studies are
summaries of literature and lectures. These can either be created in study
groups or found on different student platforms (different at every Uni, if you
do not know the platform used at your university, that’s a great reason to talk
to fellow students and possibly make a new friend 😉).
Uniboard is a general platform, that has some material on it. While that is
one, the most commonly used platform differs between universities, so it is
best to find out which one is used at your university.
After constantly seeing Grammarly adds on
YouTube, I gave in and gave it a try. I was surprised by how useful it was. It
is a program you can install and use as an add-on in tools like Word. It
corrects grammar and spelling surprisingly accurately. So far, I have only used
the free version, which has been enough. The premium version goes even further
and gives you advice on your word choice and sentence structure. It is worth
giving it a try if you ever need to write something in English.
Unfortunately, they are not available for
all classes and all universities. Nonetheless, when available, the pre-made
flashcards are a very useful tool to prepare for exams. They can be a lifesaver
when you are low on time or have lots of exams in a short amount of time. The
main drawback is the price (37.-) but by buying ones from older students or
buying a set with a fellow student they can be made more affordable. Along with
the physical cards you receive a code, that lets you use the digital version.
The content is created by students and is based on the slides and literature. I
usually complete them with my personal notes.
This last tip is not as much a tool, as a
platform with many useful tips. The founder creates useful YouTube videos where
he focusses on studying effectively rather than constantly (Spoiler: LOTS of
repetition and lots of breaks). I found one of his videos during my third year
of studies and still learned new things on how to make my studying more
efficient. On his website he also has various templates and resources to create
study plans etc. If you are in a study crisis I would highly recommend checking
out some of his content. (Unfortunately, his content is in German but under
downloads there are templates you can adapt to your own language)
Are you interested in psychology and want
to find out if it is the right choice for you? Or are you unsure whether your
expectations and skills fit with reality? Maybe you’re already studying
psychology are second guessing your
choice and would you like further information.
Then you should check out the Online Self-Assessment Test written by the
University of Applied Sciences and Art Northwestern Switzerland and the
University of Applied Sciences in Zurich.
The test is structured in three main modules which can be done separately. At the end of each assessment you’ll receive an extensive feedback on your results, including further information and personalised diagrams. Each test takes around 10-40 minutes. You are not obligated to complete the whole module, just fill out the tasks you are interested in.
The module “My interests and expectations” consists of three tests. The test “Expectations” tests, whether your expectations correspond with the reality of the courses you will be taking at the university. At the end of the questionnaire you will receive information on how strongly your expectations correspond with reality. If your expectations are unrealistic, you will be given information for clarification. The next test asks about your interests in different fields of psychology. As a result, you will get a personalised diagram about the psychological fields you are the most interested in. They also provide further information about the different fields like clinical psychology, work psychology, sports psychology etc. The same test is offered, concerning different fields of psychology.
The module “My skills and competences”
tests your ability to understand English and German texts, your capability to
read statistical diagrams and your skills in “mathematical and language
thinking”. This module is useful to help you
gage how prepared you are or whether you should work on certain skills
before you start your studies.
The module “Frequently asked questions” is
an overview of the study programmes and where you can get help to find more
facts. There is also information about employment rates, salaries and the areas
psychologists work in.
assessment should provide basic information about studying psychology and the
different fields you can work in later. Furthermore it’s a tool to prevent future students from starting a
degree in a field they are not interested in or one they have unrealistic
expectations of. Even I, a real psychology enthusiast, learned new things about
the different directions psychology has to offer. Moreover I found out which
fields interest me the most (with the surprising outcome that I am more into
work psychology than I thought). I think it is worth going through certain
tests if you are unsure about your interests or psychology in general. It can
help you learn more about yourself, no matter how far along you are in your
Two years ago, I earned my master’s degree in
psychology and I am finally allowed to pursue the profession of a
psychotherapist. But what does it mean to work as an assistant psychologist?
What do you learn in the psychotherapy training? How does all of this feel?
These questions have often occupied me and I am sure
others have the same difficulties.
university you are
thought a lot about people. Clinical lectures and seminars in particular deal
with a wide variety of disorders, diagnostic instruments and different
approaches of psychotherapy. And yet it is something completely different when
you’re sitting in front of a client for the first time, conducting an initial
consultation, a diagnosis or a psychotherapeutic intervention. “What am I
doing here?”, “Am I doing this the right way?” and “Does my
client notice that I am still completely inexperienced?”. Such questions came
to my mind during my first therapy sessions in my time as an assistant
psychologist. Yes, I felt thrown in at the deep end. But isn’t that the case
with every career start after graduation? Maybe as a psychotherapist it’s
different again because you work so closely with people and their wellbeing is
After a few
months and a higher number of cases there was a certain “routine”.
Through structures, more precise considerations on case conception and a larger
repertoire of interventions, I was able to gain confidence day by day. Among other
things, the psychotherapy training made a proper contribution to this. Exciting
seminars ranging from depression to ego-state-therapy gave me inputs that I was
often able to try out and implement directly in coming therapy sessions.
every day you are confronted with difficult situations from the clients’ lives.
I had to learn to distance myself from them and not take the stories home. It
was just as important for me to learn that I could not “save” every client
and take responsibility for their lives. These are processes that took time, where
the therapeutic self-awareness and supervision were an important support and
part of it. My best friend always had an open ear for me in the initial phase.
I also managed – mainly through sports – to get a certain distance from work.
to the fact that day-to-day work is not always easy, the profession as a
psychotherapist also has some incredibly beautiful facets: situations in which
you become aware that a good bond between the client and you as a therapist has
developed, when clients regain more self-confidence and show a more functional
approach to situations that were previously impossible, when personal goals of
the clients are achieved or when a therapy can be completed in which the client
reports a fulfilled life with an improved state of mind.
the path is long and there are always difficult moments, I am very happy to be
able to carry out the profession of psychotherapist.