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Psychopathology and Therapeutic Skills


Admission requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Clinical Psychology and research master’s students track Clinical and Health Psychology.

This course is offered twice a year


Psychopathology and therapeutic skills is a course in professional skills in which the student will learn to understand and apply basic psychotherapeutic skills in a clinical psychological setting. Lectures are focused on obtaining advanced knowledge about the most common psychiatric disorders (symptom presentation, psychotherapeutic dynamics, evidence based interventions). Workgroup sessions consist of supervised sessions where students practice therapeutic skills that are essential when working with specific forms of psychopathology (in the context of delivering psychoeducation, handling difficult situations, psychological interventions and following evidence based guidelines). Additionally, the student will reflect upon the therapeutic process with other students and staff, and discuss relevant literature. An additional focus is the process of self-monitoring and reflecting upon one’s own professional development as a therapist.

Course objectives

  1. Gain in depth knowledge about different forms of psychopathology, differential diagnostics and validated treatment options and communicate this to both patients and professionals.
  2. Communicate information on diagnostics and treatment to both patients and professionals.
  3. From a theoretical perspective, students will understand what patients need from a psychotherapeutic relationship in order to benefit from treatment, and how this can diver between different forms of psychopathology.
  4. Apply basic therapeutic skills (such as observational skills, establishing rapport, delivering psychoeducation, handling difficult situations) combined with clinical knowledge about different forms of psychopathology and interventions.
  5. Students will learn how to integrate and apply scientific knowledge, evidence-based guidelines and validated treatment outcome measures in daily clinical practice in mental health care settings.
  6. Students will learn to critically evaluate their own and their group members’ therapeutic skills, attitude and behaviors and reflect on their own and their group members’ progress as a therapist.

Mode of instruction

  • 7 two-hour lectures

  • 2 three-hour work group sessions each week, during 7 weeks.

Full attendance is mandatory.

You will be scheduled to a workgroup on one of the following days:

  • Block 1: Monday (13.15-16.00) or Tuesday (13.15-16.00) or Thursday (09.15-12.00)

  • Block 3: Monday (13.15-16.00) or Thursday (9.15-12.00)
    Please take into account that scheduling could occur in any of these timeframes and that you will have to be available during those times. We will take into account language preference (Dutch or English), but not personal preferences.

Workgroup sessions consist of supervised meetings where students:

  • present on clinical topics

  • practice and obtain therapeutic skills through exercises, role plays, modelling, and mini therapy sessions;

  • reflect upon the therapeutic process with other students and staff, and

  • discuss relevant literature.

A central tenet is the integration of scientific knowledge about psychopathology and evidence based treatment with practical clinical and psychotherapeutic skills.

An additional focus is the process of self-monitoring and reflecting upon one’s own professional development as a therapist.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.

Exams (if applicable)

You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Assessment method

Assessment will be based on:

  • Oral presentation during the workgroup (30%)

  • Written reports and participation during the workgroups (20%).

  • Final assignment on a clinical case (open book) (50%).

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Syllabus, course materials and information available on Brightspace.

Contact information

Clinical Psychology: Dr. M.A. Koenders