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Clinical Specialisations preparing for a career in Mental Health Care

1 October 2019

The 1-year master’s programme in Psychology offers five clinical (MHC) specialisations that qualify students for the Dutch post-master training programme in Mental Health Care psychology (GZ-opleiding): Child and Adolescent Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Health and Medical Psychology, and School Psychology.

Mental Health Care psychology in The Netherlands

In the Dutch healthcare system, only MHC psychologists (GZ-psychologen) are licensed to practice psychology unsupervised. ‘GZ-psycholoog’ is a legally protected professional title in Dutch healthcare, registered in the BIG-register. MHC psychologists are generalists who can work in several different settings, for example private practices, somatic health care (medical psychology), psychiatry, institutions for disabled people, forensic psychology, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centres.

To become a licensed MHC psychologist in The Netherlands, you need to complete a 2-year post-master training programme (GZ-opleiding). The programme consists of a theoretical part (20%) and a practical part (80%). The latter requires a job position under supervision of a licenced MHC psychologist-teacher. Vacancies for this programme are scarce and only a minority of master graduates manages to get into the programme. Although it is hard, it is not impossible.

After graduating from one of our five clinical specialisations including a 20 EC clinical internship, you meet the entry requirements of the post-master MHC training programme. Each specialisation ensures you have the required theoretical background and basic diagnostic skills. Within each specialisation, students need to opt for the 560-hour (20 EC) clinical internship in order to meet the entry requirements regarding practical training. Please note that these internship positions are scarce and there is a lot of competition between students applying for these positions.

Students who are not fluent in Dutch are unlikely to find a clinical internship position in The Netherlands. An alternative option is to find a clinical internship abroad. For international students who wish to pursue a career in MHC in their home country, it is recommended to find an internship where they can speak their native language. International students who wish to do an internship in The Netherlands are advised to apply for a 10 EC internship, for example in research, or apply for the Internal Practical Internship. For more information, please contact the internship coordinator of your preferred specialisation. 

How current students can prepare for the post-master MHC training

When applying for the GZ-opleiding, you need to prove that you fulfil all entry requirements by showing the LOGO-verklaring. Please see the website for the application process and all requirements. One of them is having a certificate stating that you have sufficient skills in diagnostics, the Verklaring Psychodiagnostiek. You can acquire this certificate after a clinical (20 EC) internship covering diagnostic cases. Qualified internship supervisors (as specified on the form) can sign the certificate. Another requirement is a declaration of your theoretical knowledge, the Verklaring Vooropleiding. If you graduate from one of our MCH specialisations and have completed a 20 EC clinical internship, all theoretical requirements are covered. You can have the certificate signed by study adviser Evelien Wolthuis.

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