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Interpersonal Professional Skills


Entry requirements



This course centres on the psychologist in training as a professional. In order to function adequately as a professional in the field, you need to be aware of your own motivations, your skills (conversational and other) and competences, your personal effectiveness, your own unique talents and pitfalls, your self-sabotaging patterns, your decision-making process and your reflective skills. It is important to be able to reflect on your own behaviour and the response it evokes in others. Another component of the learning process is learning to reflect on group dynamics, i.e. the context in which a given behaviour occurs.

Course objectives

  • The ability to adequately observe and perceive persons, situations and relationships;

  • The ability to adequately use the following skills: basic interview techniques, feedback skills and regulating skills;

  • The ability to use these skills with flexibility in various contexts, including real-life professional situations;

  • The ability to adequately reflect on your own behaviour and that of others; and

  • The ability to link theoretical knowledge to learning experiences for professional development.


Exemptions from the Interpersonal Professional Skills course are only granted to students who already teach social skills and/or communication skills at a professional education/university level, and who have relevant work experience of at least 2 years, representing at least 0.5 FTE. No exemption from the course will be granted on the basis of other work experience and prior education. If you are of the opinion that you qualify for an exemption from the Professional Interpersonal Skills course, submit your application to the Student Services Centre (SSC) no later than 1 November.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable
Check the Brightspace page for this course for an orderly timetable.


Students need to enrol for lectures and work group sessions. Students can choose to follow this course in Block 3 or Block 4 of the second semester. The institute works with a single registration. All workgroups run in parallel. The staff assigns students to workgroups once registration has closed. In assigning students to workgroups, the staff takes into consideration life and work experience. Age plays a role in this context.

Important Note: Make sure that you choose the period carefully so that there is no overlap with other courses (MVDA) or examinations, bearing in mind the 100% compulsory attendance requirement for this course. Consult the study guide. No exceptions will be made! There may be changes in the course days as a result of holidays and free days. Check the timetable overview carefully.

NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December.
The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC). First year Bachelor students as well as premaster students will be registered by the Student Service Center; they do not need to register themselves.

The registration period for this courses closes 14 calendar days before the start of the course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

This course is taught twice in the course of the second semester (Block 3 and Block 4), and consists of the following:

  • 5 2-hour lectures

  • 10 3-hour work group sessions

This course covers a period of 7 weeks and attendance is compulsory for all participants on Thursdays and Fridays. The course may also include additional evening sessions. This schedule may be subject to some modifications due to holidays and free days. For details, see the timetable overview above.

Professional skills are taught using a combination of teaching methods:

  • Lectures, that focus on the theoretical background of the weekly themes and information on how to use these in real professional situations;

  • Work group sessions, that offer the opportunity to actively practise the various skills in a group;

  • Reflection and integration assignments, in which observations and experiences (Kolb’s experimental learning cycle) are linked to the theory;

  • Study of the literature with the goal of actively linking knowledge and learning experiences;

  • An interim evaluation interview, that focuses on the student’s professional development;

  • The inclusion of 2 diagnostic interviews to allow the student to monitor and reflect on his or her own progress in acquiring interview skills;

  • Role plays aimed at practising interview skills and giving and receiving feedback;

  • Role plays focused on decision-making and leadership; and

  • A written meta-reflection and a final oral evaluation: the final interview.

The time frame of the course is as follows: The entire course covers 7 weeks. Weeks 1 to 5 consist of a weekly lecture and two active workgroup sessions of 3 hours each. Every week, students are assigned compulsory reading materials and required to complete written reflection and integration assignments. In Week 1 and Week 4, students record a diagnostic interview in order to monitor their progress in developing interview skills. Half-way through the course, an individual interim evaluation interview takes place with the student’s own workgroup lecturer(s). After Week 5, students are required to write a meta-reflection, and to hand it in before the final interview which takes place with the student’s own workgroup lecturer(s) in the last week (Week 6 or Week 7).

Assessment method

Contrary to other second-year courses, the final grade for this course is determined on the basis of the assessment of the following 3 skills: interview skills, reflective skills and professional development. Students are required to have a satisfactory score for all 3. Half-way through the course, students are issued with an interim assessment. Unsatisfactory functioning in one or more of these 3 areas can only be improved within the time frame of the block in question so as to achieve a positive final assessment. There are no resits available in the event of an unsatisfactory final assessment, because the learning process requires a group context and the group in question no longer exists at this time. This means that students are required to repeat the course in its entirety. They have to re-enrol for the course in the following academic year. Satisfactory partial grades are no longer valid in the following academic year.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.


The following can be found on Brightspace: extensive information about the course and assessment, as well as some reading materials, lecture slides, exercises covered in the workgroup sessions, weekly integration assignments, video links, online tests, etc. The course staff are responsible for enrolling students for Brightspace (students cannot register themselves).

Reading list

  • Hoffman, E. (2018). Diversity Competence. First edition.

  • Remmerswaal, J. Group Dynamics, an introduction (2015), ISBN: 9789024403707

Contact information

Sandy Overgaauw Ph.D. (general coordinator, logistics and group assignment, student affairs such as exemptions and attendance) s.overgaauw@fsw.leidenuniv.nl