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Gerbrand van Hout

He graduated in clinical psychology in 1984 and has worked in the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist for over 20 years.

“I examine and treat patients with psychological problems that are related to physical conditions at the Department of Medical Psychology at the Catharina Hospital. Most of the patients that I treat suffer from severe obesity or cancer, or they have overcome cancer. Some of my patients have medically unexplained symptoms.”

Why did you decide to study in Tilburg?

“In those days it was the Catholic University of Tilburg, and unfortunately it was not my first choice, but it was my best choice. On the advice of my tutor I initially chose to study psychology at the University of Leiden. But after just two days I realized that studying in Leiden was not for me. So I opted to do my military service early and brushed up my math skills, and the following academic year I began to study psychology in Tilburg. The desire to help people, my curiosity and my interest in people were all decisive factors in my decision to choose psychology.”

Who was your favorite professor and why?

“Without any doubt, that was Guus van Heck, a man who is special because he is always himself. I graduated and gained my PhD with him. The fruit of our collaboration has been ten international publications and a very nice thesis. It was a great pleasure to work with him.”

How has your career progressed?
“When I graduated in 1984 the job market for psychologists was not great. My only work experience was one internship, but I went to work as a first-line psychologist in Etten-Leur. I enjoyed that very much: I had a diverse group of patients, a pleasant relationship with the GPs and a growing practice. I did not do badly after a year and I was able to take on a colleague. However, my need to work in a team was growing. Partly as a result of my internship experience within the Alcohol and Drugs Unit (CAD) in Tilburg, I got a job at the CAD in Sittard. This was the beginning of a rewarding and productive period in Limburg. In the four years that followed, I completed my studies in psychotherapy, and was offered a job in the Psychiatric Outpatient Center in Stadskanaal in the north of the Netherlands. So I moved northwards. But homesickness set in after two years of living in Drenthe, and we returned to Brabant. I started work as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven and I still work there with great pleasure.”

What are your future ambitions?
“I hope to be able to continue working as a Medical Psychologist for a long time so that I can contribute to the quality of life of patients with physical and psychological symptoms. Being a medical psychologist is a wonderful occupation, combining the best of both disciplines. In 2008 I obtained my PhD on the subject of ‘bariatric psychology’. This discipline focuses on the psychological aspects of obese people who undergo surgery. If I ever have the opportunity to become a professor by special appointment in this field, that would be a dream come true.”

How do you look back on your time as a student in Tilburg?
“It was a wonderful time and I do not regret a minute of it. The Catholic University was a relief after Leiden and it had a very friendly atmosphere which made me feel right at home. I set up the Tarantula rugby club while I was a student there, where I had a great time. I owe so much to the professors, other teachers and my fellow students. I had so much fun studying at Tilburg, even though it was hard work at the time. By studying psychology, I laid the foundation for my career and all the pleasure I get from my work.”

What is your advice to today’s students?
“Choose a subject and a university that you feel at home with and where you can be yourself. If you have a secure foundation, you can develop into a successful professional.”