The double demographic shift in most Western and Asian countries leads to the increased need of evidence-based interventions in mental health care with for the elderly. Evidence-based psychological intervenations with senior citizens in mental health care however, especially for severe psychic disorders, are far and few between. This holds true for among other things diagnostics, treatment and behavioural advice for personality disorders in the elderly population. That is why the assignment is focused on personality disorders and related problems with the elderly. 


The Clinical Senior Citizen Psychology chair leads to further internationalisation of research projects based on evidence-based interventions that have the goal of reaching a broad implementation of knowledge and an optimalisation of elderly psychology in the practice of mental health care in Belgium and the Netherlands. More specifically it concerns the following research areas: 

  • Development of empirically founded diagnostic test instruments to map the personality and personality pathology of senior citizens as well as diagnostic accuracy research of personality tests for the elderly
  • Effect studies into psychotherapeutic interventions in elderly with (co-morbid) personality disorders
  • Developement and efficacity of behavioural advice with a focus on personality traits
  • Expert opinion aimed at psychological interventions with senior citizens in mental health care


The Nederlandse Stichting Mondriaan, GGZ-instelling Zuid-Limburg (Heerlen-Maastricht)

Chair holder

Prof. dr. S.P.J. van Alphen is active as a health psychologer and manager treatment affairs at the care program personality disorders with Mondriaan Ouderen, Heerlen-Maastricht. In 2006 he obtained his PhD with a dissertation on the diagnostic aspects of elderly with personality disorders at Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Since 2012 he is a professor Clinical Senior Citizen Psychology in the research group Clinical and Life Cycle Psychology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Promotors of this chair are prof. dr. Gina Rossi and prof. dr. Eva Dierckx. As an author Van Alphen is linked to more than 150 scientific publications. Furhtermore, he is active in editorial boards of academic journals, advisory boards and expert panels.