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PhD Psychologist

Last updated on 30 September 2022
The PhD psychologist is available for all PhD students at VU Amsterdam who experience psychological problems during the PhD trajectory.

This may concern:

  • Feeling insecure or not good enough
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Difficulty in managing stress levels or feeling overstressed
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Problems with assertiveness or handling feedback

This February Victor Kraak started at VU Amsterdam. He is a licensed therapist (GZ-Psycholoog) and has extensive experience in treating a wide range of psychological problems. He has worked in several mental health services and practices, also with (international) PhD students. He offers treatment with elements of cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapies. In his approach he focuses on one’s personal background and highly values good assessment and appropriate treatment. He speaks Dutch, English and Spanish.

Registration and procedure

You can register by sending an email to together with the completed registration form. He will then contact you for a short screening by phone and schedule an intake interview. Sessions are free of charge and take place at the VU campus Transitorium 0D-28 or online. If after intake it appears that different treatment is needed other than the PhD psychologist can provide, then the PhD psychologist can advise what form of treatment is more appropriate elsewhere. Treatment is not offered for problems such as severe suicidality, addiction, eating disorders or trauma. For these problems you can contact your GP who will refer you to a suitable healthcare provider.

Course: Feeling not good enough

Do you have the feeling that you are not good enough as a PhD-candidate? Are you compensating for this by constantly trying to do things perfectly or by postponing? Do you fear that your presumed incompetence will be discovered? In this group course you will learn ways to think differently about yourself as a Phd-candidate. Moreover, you will find out that you are not alone.

The course consists of 5 meetings on Wednesdays 10.00-11.30 am: September 21, October 5, 19, November 2 and 16. Location: Transitorium 0D-28. Register by sending an email to

PhD support group

Doing a PhD can be a lonely process in many ways: physically, socially or emotionally. How do you regain a good work (and life) balance after the pandemic? How do you disclose difficulties or dissatisfaction at the department or institute? How do you deal with inevitable setbacks, irregularities or doubts during the PhD process? In this group we will talk about what we encounter during the PhD trajectory and in what ways we can find support to feel less stressed and more connected.

Bi-weekly on Wednesdays 10:00-11:30 a.m. Starts when there are enough participants. Location: Transitorium 0D-28. Register by sending an email to


Everything you discuss with the PhD psychologist will be treated in the strictest confidence. This means that the PhD psychologist can only provide information to third parties only after your written consent.

As a licensed psychologist (GZ-Psycholoog), the PhD psychologist is bound by the Professional Code of Psychologists. This professional code can be downloaded from the website of the Netherlands Institute of Psychologists (NIP). The Medical Treatment Agreement Act (WGBO) also applies to psychological treatment.

Further information about privacy and about how data is processed in the context of the GDPR can be found in the privacy statement


How to Thrive and Survive your PhD - York Graduate Research School, University of York

Golden-rules-phd-supervision.pdf (

What I wish I had known about doing a PhD (July 21, 2022) - YouTube

Growing up in science (

Academia and mental health

Levecque, K., Anseel, F., De Beuckelaer, A., Van der Heyden, J., & Gisle, L. (2017). Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy, 46(4), 868-879. 46(4).

Nicholls H, Nicholls M, Tekin S, Lamb D, Billings J (2022). The impact of working in academia on researchers’ mental health and wellbeing: A systematic review and qualitative metasynthesis. PLoS ONE 17(5): e0268890.

Sverdlik, A., Hall, N. C., McAlpine, L., & Hubbard, K. (2018). The PhD Experience: A Review of the Factors Influencing Doctoral Students’ Completion, Achievement, and Well-Being. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 13, 361-388. 

Are you looking for information on these topics too?

PhD Psychologist

Monday - Wednesday 08.30 - 17.00

020 598 4532