Blog

Welcome to our Blog! We will inform you about psyCH and their upcoming events, give you some insight into students life, inform you about important political changes or post-graduate opportunities in sponsored content and finally keep you up to date with the hottest research being done in psychology!

Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

Charles-Bonnett Syndrome

Did you know hallucinations may arise as a result of sensory loss (e.g. age-related vision and hearing loss)?

Here's an interesting, accessible TED talk about Charles-Bonnett syndrome held by the best-selling author and neurologist Oliver Sacks. Among others, he's the author of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat", which you might recall from cognitive psychology courses.


Here's the link: TED - Charles Bonnett Syndrome

Cécile Vitali, University of Basel, Master Social, Economic, and Decision Psychology

Finally, I am a psychotherapist. But how does it feel at the very beginning?


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.

At the 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 at stake.

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.

Almost 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.

In addition 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.

Even though the path is long and there are always difficult moments, I am very happy to be able to carry out the profession of psychotherapist.

 

Author: Silvio Deplazes

Picture: Pixabay

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Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

Projekt Kompass – The workshop for a successful start in life!

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Nowadays, young people in Switzerland grow up in an environment in which they need to live up to very high standards at work as well as in private life. A closer look behind the scenes and an open ear however show, that many young adults seem to be missing an important piece in the puzzle of life or get lost along the way. At school, they learn the peculiarities of hydrogen bonds, swot French verbs or use the Pythagorean phrase – framed in a curriculum that is fully scheduled to the minute. However, when it comes to important life decisions turning to school courses or textbooks is often not an option. Navigating through life and functioning in the real world thus becomes part of self-studying and the life lessons have to be learned the "hard way".

If you feel like you could use some guidance about your future, learn about important life lessons, communication, partnerships or stress management, Projekt Kompass might be the right thing for you! The workshop Projekt Kompass was developed to prepare young adults to start successfully in life and offers a "toolbox for the young life". The content includes a range of useful psychological knowledge and tools, which were not taught in school. Twelve free evening events provide twelve valuable lessons for the young life!

Motivated, young students between the age of 18 to ca. 25 of years, are warmly welcomed to join the workshop, which will be held in German.

If you are interested and want to know more about the specific events, feel free to visit the website:

www.projekt-kompass.ch


All the best and maybe see you soon in Baldegg (LU)!

 

Author: Samuel Felder 

Picture: pixnio.com


Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

Psychology as a minor


I started out studying Psychology as my major and English as my minor. Due to failing one of the exams in the Propaedeutikum, I was excluded from continuing my studies as a Psychology major, I therefore, changed to English being my major and Psychology my minor. At first, I wasn’t happy, but I soon saw the positive aspects of that change. First of all, I knew that I would not have to visit further statistic lectures, which are all very theoretical and a tad boring. It is also quite a bit of statistic lectures, if you count 4 semesters together. Furthermore, was I kept from the horror of diagnostics. I have heard that it was one of the most annoying subjects and probably one of the most difficult exams in the bachelor of Psychology. After continuing my third semester, I noticed quickly that I can still visit the lectures that interest me the most, such as “Psychopathologie”, “klinische Psychologie” etc. Those are the subjects that actually interest me and why I started studying Psychology in the first place. Of course, there is a bit of a downside, especially in my case, but I still believe that having Psychology as a minor is perfect and you probably learn the things that are not only interesting but come to mind when you think of studying Psychology. What I like about having Psychology as a minor is that you are more or less free to choose when you do the different lectures and a seminar. However, other than choosing what type of seminar you want, there is hardly any other choice that you can do. Everything else is given and you just have to follow the core curriculum. But then again, I do not know how that is handled if you have it as a major.

 

Author: Cheyenne Blatter

Rahel Steuri, University of Bern, Bachelor in Psychology

Our experiences in “psychologie du travail”/ “arbeits- und organisationspsychologie” internships

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As psychology students, if we do not see ourselves working in the clinical context, we may often think that we have few “hard-skills” with which to convince employers to hire us. As this may not be entirely false, the blog team would like to share its experience concerning internships in economic psychology (e.g. “psychologie du travail”/ “arbeits- und organisationspsychologie”).

Often, psychologists that were hired in this context are required to better understand the needs of a given target group, as well as to use their good communication skills in order to gather this information. To meet this demand, diverse tools are used; such as workshops, dyadic interviews, focus groups, customer journeys and online surveys. Luckily, psychologists are often thought to excel at these things. They are therefore asked a lot to use these methods, as well as to analyze and interpret the data. Moreover, online surveys are used particularly often, which can be seen as quite satisfying given the numerous hours spent at courses like “test theory” and “questionnaire construction”.

Nonetheless, I’m not sure that each and every one of us has spent a lot of time in their studies training these other communication-related competences. That’s the first challenge: our colleagues – who often aren’t psychologists – do not exactly know what we did in our studies or what are our competences. So it might be challenging for them to develop an accurate idea of what tasks they can assign us to when we are not busy making interviews and online surveys.

In fact, in our studies, we have developed an understanding of diverse facts regarding human behaviour, like the importance of environmental influences in light of stable personality patterns, the interplay between genetic predispositions and environmental chances and challenges, the fact that human rationality is an illusion, the statistical tools to investigate these questions, and so on. But how can we use this knowledge in the professional context is a difficult question to answer.

I think that everyone finds his/her own way to answer this question, depending on his professional field of interest. Some of us might focus on human resources, recruiting and team development (using their diagnostic-related knowledge), while others will sharpen their competences in market research, consulting, user-centred design and human-computer interaction. Moreover, in daily business, as budgets are limited, we must compromise between the benefits of high-quality results and economy of resources. Therefore, when psychologists’ job is full-time and that they are not devoted to their costly field of interest (f. ex. interviews and workshops), they turn themselves to fields like project management, which is also interesting. All in all, we shall not underestimate the fact that most competences will have to be acquired during work – which is not bad given the fact that demands of the modern working world are ever-changing.

Photo: Pixabay.com

Cécile Vitali, University of Basel, Master Social, Economic, and Decision Psychology

What studying psychology has caused


When I first started studying psychology, I had no idea what I was expecting. I didn’t have psychology in high school, barely knew who Freud was and had absolutely no idea what a operant conditioning was. Then the first day rolled around. I can still remember the enormous, almost frightening yet exciting lecture hall with all of those strangers sitting there. I would have never thought that I could become friends with any of these people. Not because they were unkind or uninteresting, but because I had yet to understand that strangers can become acquaintances and acquaintances can become friends. The first semester went by in a heartbeat. Passing my first exam- statistics and methodology- kick started my second semester. Acting on the advice of an older psychology student, I started studying for my summer exams rather early (luckily) and I really liked reading through the material we’d covered over the last semester. Surely, not everything resonated with me, still not everything does, but enough for me to find purpose in it. This way, studying became fun and I understood that, in order to be knowledgeable in psychology, I’d have to truly study, to memorise terms and models. Simply put, to go the extra mile. When I was still in high school, I’d never study more than necessary. However, being confronted with all this material to learn, I discovered a side of myself that I didn’t know I had, but was glad to meet. It was the side of me that could. From this realisation on a lot changed. I passed my exams, albeit one I had to retake. I studied even when I didn’t feel to. It even changed how I began behaving myself in a social context. Gradually, I got more open to meeting new people and breaking the ice felt more like a challenge than a plight. Of course, it was not only my understanding that studying was important, but also what I was studying. What I am still studying. Studying psychology has given me insight into how the human mind works, including my own mind, but also the mind of others. This way it has helped me to, at least partially, understand myself a bit better and to understand other people better. It has taught me to not judge too quickly, to not take things as they come but to view them from different perspectives, and, most importantly, it has shown me that everybody is human and I am not the only one. This way for me, studying psychology has gone beyond the textbook. It made me more aware of what I was- human- and has enabled me to discover more about myself. This in turn has helped me to develop myself and to form social connections, something I used to be so afraid of. 

Rahel Steuri, University of Bern, Bachelor in Psychology

There’s an App for That – Smartphone Applications for the Treatment of Mental Health Problems

Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat are probably some of the most frequently used Apps in western cultures. But if you think that apps are only here for fun, business and posting pictures that can only be opened once, you may be wrong.

Since 2006, when the first apps were created, many have followed. Including apps that aim to improve our health and well-being. There are apps that serve as fitness guides, help us to eat healthy, convince us to quit smoking or teach us how to meditate.

Not surprisingly, they did not stop here. During the past few years many apps have been designed for people who suffer from psychiatric disorders. These apps aim at treating mental health disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and anxiety and can be used as stand-alone self-help programs or in combination with a classic psychotherapy.

 But do they really work? What are possible advantages and why might they help us? How can clinical psychologists profit from these apps? These and more questions are addressed in an extensive review by Donker et al. (2013) and the answers are briefly summarised below.


What are possible advantages and why might they help us?

There are many different reasons why mental health apps are necessary. First, a lot of people on this planet own a smartphone. Having a therapist on an iPhone certainly improves treatment accessibility around the world. Second, classic psychotherapy is very expensive and sometimes patients are on a waiting list because there are not enough psychotherapists available. Apps are always ready to go and they come with a heavily reduced cost. Third, an app is always by your side. Imagine someone who suffers from panic attacks. Usually, a therapist is not around if panic attacks happen and the patient is forced to endure this situation by himself. Apps however are always at hand and could offer help during the panic attack. Last but not least, psychotherapy and psychiatric disorders are still stigmatized and some people don’t seek help because of that. Using a smartphone application is anonymous and no one needs to know.

Do they work?

In general, studies that were included in the review by Donker et al. (2013) showed promising results and seem to have the potential to be effective. Various apps were able to reduce depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety and substance use. However, these results need to be taken with precaution. Many studies had only few participants and did not report on long-term efficacy. Much more research will be necessary to develop and test evidence-based programs.

Can I see for myself?

Yes, you can. Some of these apps are publically available and not liable for costs.

  • MoodHacker (Depression): http://www.orcasinc.com/products/moodhacker/
  • PTSD Coach (PTSD): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=is.vertical.ptsdcoach&hl=de

 

Author: Eva-Maria Stauffer

Picture: https://www.maxpixel.net/Smartphone-Technology-Cellphone-Phone-Mobile-593346

Reference: Donker, T., Petrie, K., Proudfoot, J., Clarke, J., Birch, M. R., & Christensen, H. (2013). Smartphones for smarter delivery of mental health programs: a systematic review. Journal of medical Internet research, 15(11).


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Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

A quick review on the Internet-based intervention


The Internet was invented through the 60s when the US government launched the "Arpa" project (Advanced Research Projects Agency). The main aim of this program was to strengthen defensive functions (“The Internet | Encyclopedia.com,” n.d.). Nowadays, using the Internet has many advantages and disadvantages. One of the most notable benefits of using the Internet in psychology is the use of the internet for therapeutic intervention.

The online treatment phenomenon is growing and has recently been very much considered in the world. This kind of technology is tied to technologies called E-Therapy and E-counseling, Cyber-Counseling, and Teletherapy (Chakrabarti, 2015). Online treatment is an online intervention which in this type of treatment, the counselor or psychologist connects with the authorities through the Internet, supports the referral or conveys psychological advice. Online treatment can be done by email, Video, Online Chatting, and unguided method (Chakrabarti, 2015). Online treatment can happen in the same way as talking in a conversation or online chat rooms or by late delivery, for example by sending an email. Remote correspondence between a therapist and a referral is not a new issue. Sigmund Freud used the letter to communicate with his patients (“Psychoanalysis: Freud’s theory and the ideas that have followed | Life and style | The Guardian,” n.d.). However, the use of the Internet for self-help purposes in 1982 is for healthcare purposes. Today, there are various mental health services sites that are specialized and somewhat more general.

Several Internet interventions have been developed and tested for common mental disorders, and the evidence to date shows that these treatments often result in similar outcomes as in face-to-face psychotherapy and that they are cost-effective. Internet-based psychological treatments have a relatively short history (Marks, Cavanagh, & Gega, 2007). Nowadays the Internet is widely used by patients and their significant others to seek information about mental health issues. The model of Internet-delivered treatment for which there has been most research activity is Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT) (Andersson, 2009). However, other forms of psychotherapy (e.g., psychodynamic and interpersonal psychotherapies) have also been delivered via the Internet to a much lesser extent. Through the ICBT, subjects login regularly to a website over a specified period to access, read and download online materials arranged within a series of lessons or modules. They receive preparation tasks which they are expected to complete before the next module is available. They also regularly complete computer-administered questionnaires relevant to their presenting problems, which allows a therapist to control the progress, safety and results. Two dimensions which can be used to categorize ICBT are whether it involves therapist contact and whether it aims to treat mental disorders or prevent their development. Internet interventions that involve therapist contact can be further divided into those that involve real-time (synchronous) or delayed (asynchronous) interaction with patients (Andersson & Titov, 2014).

In a short-review, using this technique has its either advantages and disadvantages, below some of these advantages and disadvantages, are shown:

Advantages:

  •  It saves time and money;
  •  Helps people who have a lot of work to do at their free time;
  • Although the therapist and the authorities are deprived of face-to-face contact, the therapist does not affect the cultural, class, and social backgrounds;
  •  It is a good choice for those living in remote areas;
  •  For those with physical limitations, it is a good option;
  • People can easily get information about mental health;
  • It is a good option for those who can not afford the cost of traditional therapists and, on the other hand, need treatment.


Disadvantages:

  • This method is not effective in highly critical situations and suicide attempt;
  • Those who have severe psychiatric disorders cannot use these services;
  • The therapist is deprived of relevant information such as body language and tone and voice;
  • The formation of trust and confidence is difficult.



Author: Khodami Mohammad Ahsan


References:

Andersson, G. (2009). Using the Internet to provide cognitive behaviour therapy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47(3), 175–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BRAT.2009.01.010

Andersson, G., & Titov, N. (2014). Advantages and limitations of Internet-based interventions for common mental disorders. World Psychiatry, 13(1), 4–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20083

Chakrabarti, S. (2015). Usefulness of telepsychiatry: A critical evaluation of videoconferencing-based approaches. World Journal of Psychiatry, 5(3), 286. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v5.i3.286

Marks, I., Cavanagh, K., & Gega, L. (2007). Hands-on help. Maudsley monograph no. 49. Retrieved from https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?hl=en&publication_year=2007&author=IM+Marks&author=K+Cavanagh&author=L+Gega&title=Hands‐on+help.+Maudsley+Monograph+no.+49

Psychoanalysis: Freud’s theory and the ideas that have followed | Life and style | The Guardian. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/07/freud-jung-psychoanalysis-behaviour-unconscious

The Internet | Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2019, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/science-and-technology/computers-and-electrical-engineering/computers-and-computing/internet

Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

Introduction to studying psychology in the capital city of Switzerland - Fachschaft Bern


There are plenty of things you don’t know about studying before you dive right into it. Actually it is quite possible that the unknown things prevail. How does studying even work? Will I ever be able to pass the exams? How on earth should I make friends? Don’t worry: You are not the only one. Everyone joins university with similar struggles. Let’s give you a short introduction of how to study psychology in the beautiful city of Berne.

First, the basics. To achieve your degree as a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Berne, you need to gain 180 ECTS. Most of the credits - 120 to be exact - you gain at psychology courses. You attend those courses based on a pre-fixed timetable. Be prepared to acquire broad and fascinating knowledge and learn a lot about many subfields of psychology! The shadow side is that you will have to wait for the master studies to choose in what fields you would like to specialize. The other 60 ECTS, you gain within one or two minor subjects of free choice. As this is still one third of your time, we advise you to choose something that captivates you. While many people choose a related field like social or educational sciences, it is also perfectly fine to choose something completely different. You will have no disadvantage if you do so. There is no such thing as a wrong choice, and if you find yourself unhappy, you can change your minor quite easily.

Many people study psychology. Be prepared to sit in a lecture with over 400 other students. It can be a bit of a challenge to meet new people and make friends among so many people. Sometimes, it may seem as if everyone knows each other except you. Believe us, that’s just not the truth. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to meet other people. There are smaller courses with no more than 30 people. You can attend language courses, participate in one of the various programs of the University Sports or visit events organized by the Fachschaft. Among psychology students in Berne, collaboration weighs higher than rivalry. It is common to set up learning groups, exchange summaries and help each other. You can ask people from advanced semesters what to focus on for exams. Usually, if you have a question, you will find an answer. Just be free to ask your fellow students, lecturers or the Fachschaft.

If you decide to take up your psychology study at Berne, we strongly advice you to join the Patenprojekt. Organized by the Fachschaft, it always takes place just before the fall semester begins. Someone who already studies for a year or two shows you and a small group around and introduces you to the psychology studies in Berne. The great thing is that you can kill two birds with one stone: While you learn a lot and have the opportunity to ask questions, you also meet other people in a similar situation as you. And who knows, maybe can make friends right at the start.

Link to the Fachschaft Bern: http://www.fs.psy.unibe.ch/

Authors: Lydia Hausmann & Seraina Manser (Fachschaft Psychologie, Universität Bern)

Rahel Steuri, University of Bern, Bachelor in Psychology

Improvise, adapt, understand why: Statistics

Believe me, most of us have felt the exact same way you might feel right now. You are in the beginning of your psychology studies and eager to learn everything there is about psychology, just like I was. I was passionate about the way individuals, inhabiting planet earth, think and behave and I was keen to explore the phenomena they bring with them. This is the reason why I chose to study psychology. Eager to plunge into the world of psychology with all its amazing, mind-blowing findings, I began my studies. As a naïve first semesters I, eventually, discovered something odd in the curriculum. In black and white font there it was written: statistics I. Excuse me? Cold sweat ran down my back. Did I miss something? Did I accidentally enrol to another study plan? No, I was enrolled in psychology all right. I remembered the few things I knew about psychology. Classical conditioning, rats, reinforcement, Freud, Oedipus complex and some other things. Where would numbers and figures fit in? I couldn’t believe it and gradually, I began to doubt my choice. I would have thoughts like: Is psychology really the right thing? Should I better choose a subject that won’t incorporate any statistics, or maths in general? Maybe I should just switch it from my major to my minor? But let me tell you something, some of us have followed those suggestions made by our lazy, biased minds, but most of us haven’t. I’m glad I haven’t because now I can reap the rewards. Sure, it was not all fun and games learning the formulas and the lingo, but once I did I found myself understanding much, much more. Reading through a research paper now is very different than when I started my studies. I actually understand what they are trying to say in their results and discussion parts. Statistics is not as amazing and mind blowing as other subjects of psychology, such as neuropsychology or social psychology, but it is a vital tool to not only understand, but also work professionally and successfully within the field of psychology. So, what does statistics give you? A headache, countless hours of procrastination and definitely a deepened understanding of psychology. Without statistics it would be very hard determining whether a finding is important, significant, or whether a person is below or above average. It is necessary. All those mind-blowing findings in psychology wouldn’t be mind-blowing at all because without statistics you couldn’t see where the significance lies. 

Rahel Steuri, University of Bern, Bachelor in Psychology

Presentation of ROCK YOUR LIFE as an opportunity for students


Do you want to contribute to equality of opportunities and educational justice and acquire useful and precious mentoring and leadership experiences at the same time? Then you are exactly at the right place with ROCK YOUR LIFE!

ROCK YOUR LIFE! is a mentoring program that supports pupils in the 8th and 9th school year on their way to apprenticeship and further education. During the course of 1.5 years, participants are accompanied and guided by students or young employees in a close one-to-one mentoring relationship. The aim is to help the adolescents in their transitioning phase from school into apprenticeships on offer, that resonate with their interests and strengths. The mentoring will help the teenagers with practical concerns like preparation of formal applications and the search for the right apprentice position, and moreover offers opportunity and room to explore their own potentials and goals. ROCK YOUR LIFE! mentoring is complemented by a swiss-wide network of companies, through which these partner companies enable first insights into working environments. Since 2013, already over 550 mentoring pairs could be brought together at eight locations in Switzerland. ROCK YOUR LIFE! has a vision of a society, in which social mobility, educational justice and equality of opportunities is reality for everyone. Studies show that young adults, who are voluntarily committed and involved, gain confidence, develop self-initiative and expand their cooperation skills. Students and young employees, who successfully worked as mentors at ROCK YOUR LIFE!, strengthen and improve their self- and social competences, are aware of their liabilities towards society and also the dual educational path, and can make practical use of their mentoring experiences in the later profession as well as in their own applications as an additionally acquired expertise. Learn more about the scopes and possibilities to involve oneself on schweiz.rockyourlife.org.

Author: Jonas Töngi

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Alina Mari Sartorius, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

News in psychology

The good, the bad and the bigly   

It’s been almost 8 years since the replication crisis has plunged psychology into a serious scientific crisis. Ironically, by now, one of the most replicable findings in psychology is that only half of psychological studies can be successfully replicated. While some find themselves either in despair or in denial about this circumstance, I would argue that this is rather a huge opportunity to rethink, renew and complement our methodology. We’re so used to applying alleged gold-standard testing paradigms that originate from the 40-60ies that we’ve gone somewhat blind to the new and amazing construction kit that IT and the virtual world are offering us for conducting observations on a completely new scale.

The internet has connected the world and allows us to go way beyond the confinements of small-scale brick and mortar lab-based psychology experiments. Taken together, it constitutes a package that allows us to put psychological research on a completely new footing. It might provide the evidence we currently still owe, if we only examine WEIRD people in small groups. Now, we can not only conduct field research globally with hundreds of thousands of study participants simultaneously, we can also continuously interact with them; all we have to do is to be bold enough to use the new opportunities and work closely together with different professional groups to make this happen.

Yet, two requirements are central for such a web-based world-wide research endeavour to be truly successful:

1. The whole setup needs to focus on the user experience and benefit of the study subjects. This may well be in the form of “infotainment”, as the typical monetary compensation for tediously boring experimental setups is simply out of question for ultra-large global cohorts.

2. Collecting psychological and thus highly sensitive data on a global scale needs a failsafe forward-looking data protection policy and guaranteed anonymity.

The first point can be addressed by using psychological instruments in the guise of entertaining computer games, as well as to provide individually tailored and understandable feedback to everyone taking part. In addition, the interesting research results drawn from such a project should also be made directly accessible to the general public.

The second point concerns citizen empowerment; provinding them interesting insights about how individuals' minds work. However, it requires an additional independent institution to guarantee data privacy: indeed, the personally identifying data should always be strictly separated from the completely anonymized “content data”. Basically, it's the complete opposite of Facebook and the likes: it must not be possible to turn your data into a business model without your clear consent or without giving you the lion’s share of the earnings.

Advancience is a startup that is based on the COSMOS research project from the University of Basel. We have learned that our research goals require scaling-up psychological studies and that it is easier to achieve if we go down the entrepreneurial road. The Healthbank Cooperative is our strategic partner, which ensures that the data generators themselves own the data and are always in charge of how their data is being used.

Together we’re building a research basis for publicly funded scientists. Get ready to think big: What would you investigate, if you had a cohort of more than 100 k individuals?

Author: Dr. Christian Vogler 

Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

On the malleability of opinions and group belonging


These days, and thanks to personalized facebook news feeds, one is constantly confronted to information that fit our pre-conceived opinions. This may lead to a reinforcement of our prior opinions, or it might even render those views more extreme. Here's an interesting account of the malleability of opinions that may help shed light on the growing polarization in the public discourse.

Here's the link:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-political-opinions-change/

Cécile Vitali, University of Basel, Master Social, Economic, and Decision Psychology

Coverage of psychotherapeutic care


The Federation of Swiss Psychologists (FSP) has launched a petition. Add your signature to it!

The time has come to act. On 17 November, the FSP launched a petition demanding the coverage of psychotherapeutic care by basic health insurance when prescribed by a doctor. It’s crucial to get as many signatures as possible to prove the necessity of changing the current system (that of delegation).

Mental illnesses and crises are frequent occurrences. Nearly one in every two people suffers from mental illness at least once in their lifetime. Access to ambulatory psychotherapy is fraught with obstacles, resulting in largely inadequate care. The fact of not treating mental illness in time has disastrous consequences.

There is a simple solution to this problem: the psychotherapy carried out by psychologists must also be covered by basic health insurance when prescribed by a doctor.

Sign the petition! You’ll be contributing to greater recognition of the profession of psychologist and better access to care for people suffering from mental illness.

How to sign

  • Online, at www.eliminer-les-obstacles.ch (F) or www.huerden-abbauen.ch (D)
  • By printing out the petition form (F or D) and filling it out by hand. It will hold around fifteen signatures. When completed, put it in an envelope, stamp the envelope and send it to the address on the document.
  • By ordering ready-stamped petition forms from the FSP (send an email to [email protected]). These will hold five signatures.

Note: anyone can sign a petition, including minors and people who do not have Swiss nationality.

Spread the word!

If every psychology student gets involved, the potential number of signatures is huge. Please share the link to the petition (www.eliminer-les-obstacles.ch, www.huerden-abbauen.ch) with as many people as possible, circulate the explanatory video (in French or German), follow the Facebook page and encourage everyone you know to do the same, send the link to the petition to your contacts on WhatsApp and include it in your email signature. Talk about it with your student friends from other faculties too. If we all work together, we can make things change.

Many thanks in advance for getting involved!


Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

Pimp my CV – A guide on how to write your curriculum vitae

Sooner or later we are all faced with the challenge of presenting ourselves as the intelligent, successful, motivated and experienced people we are on one piece of paper: the curriculum vitae. We have summarized some of the most important points for you.

A CV should be tailored to the specific position you are applying for. The goal is to present yourself as the best fitting person for this job. So, do your research, be sure about what they are looking for and adapt your CV accordingly.

Usually a CV is 1-2 pages long. It is advisable to put some effort in design elements so that employers see your motivation for the job. A typical CV consists of the following elements:

Contact information:

Name, address, phone number, email address, professional media (LinkedIn, Xing, …), nationality, and date of birth.

Photo:

Professional quality is very important. Usually Universities offer free opportunities to get a professional picture, for example at the Long Night of Careers.

Education: list the universities where you have studied, start with the most recent one.  

  • Indicate the duration of your degree
  • Write the title of the degree, specialisation, the name of the University
  • Specify your focus, show them what you’ve learned

Hint: If you had outstanding grades or if a specific project might be interesting for your future employers, make sure to highlight it. If you are applying for an academic position, make sure to include the names of your supervisors (“name-dropping”). If you are applying for a position in a country with a different grading system, translate your grades in words (e.g. “excellent”, “very good”, …).

Professional experience: list relevant experience as bullet points

  • start by specifying the date/duration of employment
  • then the title of the position, the company name and if you think it might help include the names of your supervisors
  • describe your activities, the technical skills you developed and highlight the ones that are of interest for the position

Hint: Show them very clearly what your skills are and where you have acquired them.

Professional training:

If you had the opportunity to do a special training, follow a specific course, attend a summer school or got a relevant certificate, it is important to mention it, this could help you to stand out from the other candidates.

Technical Skills:

Here you will mention all the software that you are able to use. If you like you can state your level.

Publications and Conferences:

If you are applying for an academic position you should mention publications and the attendance at conferences. These kinds of Super-Curricular activities show your enthusiasm for your field of interest.

Languages:

Mention all the languages that you studied and your level (native/ proficient /conversational/basic, or alternatively: B1, B2, C1, etc.)

Extracurricular interests:

This part is not to be neglected; it can very much positively distinguish you from the other candidates. In this section you can list your activities and hobbies (e.g. association, sports, music, art, volunteering, …) and the quality that you developed through them (organization, supervision, budgeting, …).

References: there are 2 possibilities:

  •  either you mention the references: name, relationship (professor, internship supervisor, …), email, and phone number
  • or you keep the references private at the first stage and simply write “References upon request”. The recruiter will have to contact you first to get your reference contact and you will be able to notify your reference person that he/she might receive an email from this particular company for this specific position.

Finally, make sure to ask someone for proof reading and good luck with your application!

 

Author: Sonia Lebboukh

Edited by: Cécile Vitali


Cécile Vitali, University of Basel, Master Social, Economic, and Decision Psychology

psyKo 2019

All about psyKo!

PsyKo is a National Congress for the psychology students of Switzerland organized by the psyCH. About 100 psychology students will gather in a big house in Hasliberg Reuti (BE) on the weekend of 26-28 April 2019 to take part in interesting presentations, workshops and trainings. The program is in English (with a few exceptions in French or German).

Why should I go there?

Do you want to enlarge your knowledge of psychology outside of your studies? Do you want to meet psychology students from all over Switzerland? Are you thinking about a career in research? Or do you miss the camp feeling and want to have a fun weekend with your study buddies?

All of the above are valid reasons to participate psyKo! The broad program ensures that everybody finds lectures and workshops they are interested in. Contrary to other psychological congresses, psyKo chooses not to have one specific topic in order to cover a vast majority of different fields of psychology.

With fun welcome games and a party on Saturday night, you will get the chance to meet psychology students from different universities. Have you ever considered studying on a different campus? This is your chance to ask your fellow students all about their university!

Thanks to student lectures you will get the chance to present your bachelor or master thesis and to gather your first congress talk experience.

Another highlight of psyKo Congress are the psyCH trainings given by the psyCH trainers.

That does sound fun… how can I apply?

Applications will be possible between 23 November and 23 December 2018. As the number of seats is limited (100 students + our organization team), you need to show your motivation via a google form and only the 100 selected psychology students will have access to the link for the final registration. This is NOT a first-come, first-served system. Therefore, it is all in your hands! Think about your motivation to attend psyKo 2019 and fill out the google form since the selection will be primarly based on that. The participants will have to pay a participation fee to cover food and logistics.

Great! So we will see you at psyKo 2019 in Hasliberg Reuti (BE)!


Rahel Steuri, University of Bern, Bachelor in Psychology

University: A fantastic new world

University is a world full of wonders. It is a world where people come together in the pursuit of knowledge, passion, science, sports, art, music, friendship and so much more. It is the place where people find their true interest, where they learn how to become who they want to be and hopefully meet some companions along their way. University is the place where people discuss complex problems with excitement and strive to revise their beliefs. It’s also a time during which you can party on a Thursday night without feeling bad because: you are a student.

Of course this new world can be overwhelming at first: you need to learn the rules, you need to learn where you can go, how to get there and how not to get lost. But don’t worry. We got your back and support you with advice from older, wiser and successful students.

The first thing you will probably be worrying about is what every student is worried about: exams! It’s the one occasion where you can show what you can (and also cannot). The most important thing you should do to be effective is buying a calendar; these are cheap and look nice. Make a plan that clearly states when you are going to do what, and how long it will take you. List your tasks, do urgent things first and most importantly: start early to avoid panic studying in the middle of the night. Skip a party, if you have a lot of things to do the next day. There will be many, many more of these. If you have one of those bad Mondays, don’t beat yourself up, take the day off and work on Saturday instead. Go ahead and make that coffee break, but maybe don’t discuss Marxism or how you feel about Donald Trump and his latest tweets for three hours. Don’t stay up till 2:00 am, if you have to get up at 6:30 and of course you can take a weekend off every now and then, but don't fly to Madrid two weeks before your exams.

The second thing you will realise when studying psychology is: there’s so much free time. While you might really enjoy this at the beginning, you might get lost along the way. So get active! University offers all kind of activities: yoga, volleyball, kung fu, sailing, orchestra, theatre, students associations (psyCH maybe?), fraternities and sororities. Whether you want to get politically active, show your talent on a stage or swim across the ocean, your University supports you.

The third most important thing is: you are in an environment where you can try everything, be great at something, fail at another thing and observe where life is taking you. People usually tell you that they had the time of their life when they were at University. Now this might not be true for everyone but this time for sure is unique and we should try to enjoy it while it lasts. University is a world full of opportunities waiting to be grabbed, go ahead and take them. Explore your potential and lead others to new ideas.

And welcome to our world.

Eva-Maria Stauffer, University of Basel, Master in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience