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PhD Psychologist

Last updated on 10 April 2024
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, fear of failure, feeling not good enough
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, having panic-attacks
  • Burnout symptoms or feeling overstressed
  • Procrastination or working too many hours
  • Problems with assertiveness 

In 2022 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 Victor Kraak 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.

Fear of failure training

Are you quick to think that you are failing when faced with setbacks or feedback? Do you feel that you are not good enough as a PhD? Are you coping with this by constantly wanting to do things perfectly or by procrastinating? In this group training you will learn ways to think less negative about yourself as a PhD, and focus more on what is going well.

The training consists of 6 meetings. There will be individual assignments as well as exchange with group members. Dates: May 16 and 30, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25. Time: 10:30-12:00 am. Location: Transitorium 0D-28. Sign up before May 3 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. 

PhD Psychologist

Wednesday - Friday 08.30 - 17.00