Our fifteenth alumni presented in this series of Alumni of Psychology is Sarina Kers. She graduated in 2016 from a bachelor of psychology, and pursued her career at Radboud University in Nijmegen. At the end of 2019 she expects to finish her studies to become a healthcare psychologist (GZ-Psycholoog). She currently works at Kairos, ambulatory forensic MHI.
How long did it take you to find your first job?
During my graduation period, I started to search for a job. My plan was to stay at my internship at psychologists practice Derksen and Kleinherenbrink to gain more experience after graduation in a so-called work experience place. During my search for a paid job as a psychologist, I discovered that in particular, psychologists with a lot of relevant work experience were asked, what was of course limited for me as a young psychologist. For a few months I volunteered one day a week to help in group therapy sessions. This helped me to gain more experience and confidence so that, after looking at many vacancies, I finally found the courage to apply for a job as a psychologist. The step of applying for a job led me to work as a paid psychologist at Dimence in the SGGZ, right after graduation. Then quickly a new opportunity came by, namely Plan Connection where I started four months after my graduation at Pro Persona as a psychologist with the study to become a Health Care (GZ) Psychologist. (https://www.rcsw.nl/praktijkinstellingen/plan-connectie-big-gz).
What are your tasks and responsibilities?
At the moment (year one of the study). I am working as a psychologist in training to become a Health Care (GZ) psychologist at Pro Persona. I am working mainly with adults with Anxiety disorders, an Obsessive-compulsive disorder and a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The main focus of the treatment is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, that means that certain feelings, behavior and thoughts that maintain the problems are discussed and treated. In addition, the majority of the patient population within the team I work in is familiar with a PTSD, for which also a guided treatment such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Imaginary Exposure (IE) is offered. The training to become a Health Care (GZ) psychologist gives me the opportunity to gain experience, gain expertise and learn from my colleagues. The classes also ensure that I gain more theoretical knowledge which I can put into practice right away. Working towards more responsibilities as a Health Care (GZ) psychologist is also a process in which I am growing more and more during the study.
What have you taken along from your study which you now profit from?
The study helped me to obtain psychological information about things like psychopathology, treatments and interventions that I can apply in practice. The acquisition of psychological theories during my study ensures that I can draw up hypotheses in daily practice. This contributes to the fact that I can continuously look critically towards someone's problems by acquiring different hypotheses and test them. Last but not least, I profit a lot from my internship during the master study. I was able to perform psychological tests, intakes and group treatments to gain more experience.
What do you hope to achieve in your career?
Since I started almost one year ago as a psychologist in training to become a Health Care (GZ) psychologist, my main focus right now is to finish this study successfully. I hope to develop my skills and knowledge as a psychologist further, through this study, but also through, trainings like cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR. Developing these two areas will immediately help me further in practice (mainly because I like to work with a target group where this could be a recommended treatment method). What I like about the profession psychologist is, that I am never done learning. This because of continuous new scientific insights. In addition, there are many methods, techniques and studies that I can dive into in the future. This will help me to further develop my skills as a psychologist.
If you think about your study time, which memory comes up first?
When I think back to my Bachelor's period at the University of Twente specifically, I think back to the TOM model. All bachelor programs at the University of Twente are now based (I think, I am not sure) on the Twente Education Model (TOM). During my Bachelor program they just started to test this model so it was a challenge because it was new, what was accompanied by changes. I especially remember that working in groups was / is what the model stands for. Central to each module is a project in which a team of students address a real-world problem. This way, students put scientific theory into practice and work with a lot of different students. I remember that I worked with different students each module, which had advantages and disadvantages. By participating in surveys and questionnaires, the University has been able to further refine and sharpen this model. Finally, I look back to an instructive and fun period with great people I met. (https://www.utwente.nl/en/tom/)
Which tips and tricks would you like to give to current students?
I think that there is a lot of pressure nowadays to get good grades and to do things besides your study, such as a study-related job, to distinguish you from the rest of the students. It is hard to say, what helped me specifically in my career. I think that my experience in working in the elderly care next to my study helped me in making contact with people. Because of this experience, I got used to working with clients and making contact. It could be beneficial to do things beside your study, especially for your own experience. However, because of the pressure from the study, I would recommended to combine things. Would you like to earn extra money next to your study? Try to combine this, if possible, with something that is related to your future work field. In addition, I also like to say that it is important to take risks sometimes. It is a bit scary maybe to apply when you have just graduated. But only applying for a job gives you an idea of what you can expect from your future work field. If you're enthusiastic, and willing to get more knowledge about psychology, then I'm convinced that you're going to find a nice job.
Any questions to Sarina?
This alumni has given the opportunity to answer questions about his/her work. If you have a question you are invited to mail this questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our moderator will bring you in touch with the alumni, who will answer your questions. For direct career opportunities you are advised to get in touch with the Human Resources department of the employer.
Get in touch!
Do you know someone who has a nice job, has an inspiring career of otherwise is interesting to join the Humans of Psychology series? Please get them in touch with us. To be able to keep this weekly series going more alumni are needed.
Published: March 18th, 2019