Climbing back out - how are things now?
Last month I wrote about how I had finally gathered the courage to register with the student psychologist in Delft. My story even ended on a positive note, with an appeal to others who recognized themselves in my story to take advantage of the available help. Here we are a month later: how are things now?
Well, actually not a lot has changed. The week that my last column appeared, I did indeed have my first appointment in Delft. Six weeks I had waited, which felt like an eternity. Finally I would be able to get started, take that first step towards feeling better again, content with myself. Unfortunately I was conned. After about forty minutes, the psychologist in Delft came to the conclusion that there was nothing she could do for me, and that maybe I would be better off seeing a ‘real’ psychologist (?). Although the two do of course have the same diploma, seeing a ‘real’ psychologist means embarking on a standard course of psychological help. In other words, you are referred by your physician.
This felt like a slap in the face. It felt like I'd had to wait so long to get help, then when I thought I'd finally found it, I was immediately sent off to play the waiting game again. From pillar to post and back into the well of darkness.
Sadly, inquiries among friends about their experience of the student psychologist in Eindhoven revealed often disappointing accounts. These varied from the feeling of not being taken seriously to being told they would have to seek help elsewhere. What took the biscuit was that appointments were sometimes simply forgotten. Oh yes, when even your psychologist forgets you, imagine what that does for improving your self-image…
So it comes down to this: the student psychologist (in both Eindhoven and Delft) can help you only with purely study-related problems. For deeper analysis or longer treatment programs there simply isn't enough time, because they can offer only three or four sessions.
On the one hand this is understandable, it's an open question whether the university should have to offer this kind of help to its students and staff. On the other hand, some transparency about the options would be useful.
In short, if there is any trouble in your study paradise, you may benefit from paying a visit to the student psychologist. If something else is going on, you will have to seek help elsewhere. If only I had known this a few months ago … For me right now it is still a question of 'simply' carrying on. We kindly ask for your patience.