Psychology in Medicine [EL026]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date


End date


Course days



A. van 't Spijker, PhD

Course fee

€ 1680






Basic medical knowledge required.


  • Medical Psychology


How to apply

Detailed information about this course:


Medical psychologists study the way somatically ill people think, act and feel. The aim of this course is to teach students about psychological determinants of illness and illness behavior, the psychological consequences of somatic illness and psychological care for somatic patients. First, you’ll learn about ‘normal’ reactions to disease. We’ll then focus on abnormal and pathological reactions to somatic illness and on problems that patients might have in adjusting to their disease.

We will discuss models that explain why some people find it difficult to adjust to their disease, such as the stress coping model and the stress vulnerability model. Other models that will be discussed in this course include the Health Belief Model, the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Stages of Change Model. These models are widely applied by medical psychologists in interventions for somatic patients. Modern neuroscientific models for understanding behaviour and behavioural disorders will be addressed as well.

In this course, we will focus on various somatic problems, such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, organ transplantation and chronic pain.

Finally, basic theories of doctor-patient communication will be discussed, as communication between doctors and patients has become more and more important.

The learning method in this course is problem-based learning. Furthermore, you will build a new model for understanding a complex and realistic problem in medical psychology.


  • Understanding and applying the major models and theories in medical psychology;
  • Understanding the complex relationship between somatic, psychological and social aspects in disease and health;
  • Gaining state of the art knowledge about psychosocial interventions in health care;
  • Understanding principal theories of doctor-patient communication.


Attendance, Assignment(s)

Reduction on fees


No fees are charged for participation of Erasmus MC PhD candidates

Please note that in case of cancellation or no show, the cancellation policy applies based on the full course fee.

50% reduction on our fees for participating institutes of NIHES

This 50% reduction is offered to participants formally appointed at the departments or sections participating in NIHES.

University Medical Center Rotterdam/Erasmus University Rotterdam:

  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Psychiatry, Section of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy
  • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology
  • Department of Medical Informatics
  • Department of General Practice
  • Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management
  • Generation R

50% reduction on our fees for NIHES affiliated partners

This 50% reduction is offered to participants formally appointed at the following NIHES affiliated partners:

University Medical Center Rotterdam/Erasmus University Rotterdam, departments of:

  • Dermatology
  • General Paediatrics
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Rehabilitation Medicine

UMIT, Department of Public Health, Health Services Research and Health Technology Assessment.

25% reduction on our fees for Erasmus MC employees

For participants formally appointed at all departments of Erasmus MC (except the departments mentioned above and Erasmus MC PhD candidates).

25% reduction for all (international) PhD students without formal appointment at Erasmus MC

Upon receipt of your application you will receive a request to upload proof of enrollment as a PhD student.