Are you a PhD candidate, and is there something you’d prefer to discuss with someone other than your thesis director or supervisor? The confidential counsellor for PhD candidates is here to help. You can speak to him/her in confidence and receive advice. If you experience symptoms of physical or mental illness during your PhD research, you can go to the university doctor or psychologist.
Problems with your supervisor or colleagues
Researching a PhD is an intensive process that takes several years, and things don’t always go according to plan. You will be able to discuss most issues with your PhD supervisor or mentor, but that is not always possible. You and your supervisor or mentor may experience persistent problems with your communication, or you might strongly disagree about the direction your research should take. It’s also possible that your working relationship with a colleague might become unsafe due to discrimination, bullying, sexual intimidation or violence.
Don’t wait too long to ask for advice
If you experience problems during your PhD research that are too big for you to sort out on your own, you can talk to your Graduate School’s confidential adviser for PhD candidates. Alternatively, you can also approach a confidential counsellor from another Graduate School. All your meetings with the confidential counsellor are confidential.
What the confidential counsellor does
The confidential counsellor is available to all PhD candidates at the university, including self-funded and external candidates. He/she is there to listen to you and offer advice. If necessary, he/she can refer you to another confidential counsellor who has more specialist expertise.
What the confidential counsellor does not do
The confidential counsellor will not mediate in a conflict and is not in any way a healthcare worker. Nor is it his or her intention to seek the truth behind a problem. He/she is there to support PhD candidates in efforts to restore a workable situation.
Your meetings with the confidential counsellor are confidential. The counsellor will not take any of the steps you discuss without your permission. You always have the final say.
When you should go to the university doctor
If you are experiencing medical or psychological health problems, you can go to one of the university doctors. They will also be able to put you in touch with a psychologist.
The psychologist at university, specialises in issues that are relevant to PhD candidates. The PhD psychologist has expertise in short-term treatment of anxiety issues, mood complaints, concentration and motivation problems, fear of failure and more.
In case of acute mental stress, you can consult the PhD psychologist and/or your GP directly. They provide the first line of care and can refer you to more specialised help if necessary.
Meet the confidential counsellors
Read on for an overview:
Confidential Counsellor for PhD candidates in the faculty of Archeology
"PhDs can face stress and problems at any given moment of their trajectory. Often, these problems feel too big to be dealt with alone. The confidential counsellor is here to help you find solutions."
Get in touch with Mariana Françozo
Confidential counsellor for PhD candidates in the Humanities and KITLV
“A person might feel like they can never meet their supervisor’s expectations, as if more is always expected of them. Or something could go wrong with the balance of power. There’s always more than one side to the story, so you try to get to the heart of the problem.”
Marije Bedaux is a confidential counsellor for personnel affairs at Leiden University. She has followed various training courses, including a mediation course. After obtaining her law degree, she worked as a lawyer for a number of years. She then continued her career in recruitment and selection and worked as a career coach for some time.
Please contact Marije Bedaux via firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: +31715272727.
Confidential counsellor for PhD candidates in the faculties of Governance and Global Affairs and Social and Behavioural Sciences
“To begin with, it’s important to understand the situation – how do matters really stand? Then you can work together to look into the potential consequences of any actions you might take.”
Tromp studied Cultural Anthropology and was a researcher and director at the Leiden Institute for Social Scientific Research. He is the confidential counsellor for personnel matters within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, and the confidential counsellor for PhD candidates in the Faculties of Governance and Global Affairs and Social and Behavioural Sciences.
Get intouch with Henk Tromp via email@example.com or +31 6 34 09 55 29.
Confidential counsellor for PhD candidates in the Faculty of Law
“Sometimes a supervisor doesn’t clearly communicate what they expect from the PhD candidate. That causes a lot of stress, which has an impact on the research, which in turn leads to even more stress.”
Holtmaat worked for the Faculty of Law for over 30 years. As a retired lecturer, she is well aware of how things work and the different paths you can take to find a resolution to your problem.
Get in touch with Rikki Holtmaat.
Confidential counsellor for PhD candidates in the Faculty of Science
“The kinds of things I see a lot are communication problems, fear that you’re not going to make it, the supervisor’s style or too little supervision.”
Boersema has a lot of experience in supervising PhD candidates and was on the PhD committee at the Leiden Institute of Environmental Sciences.
Get in touch with Jan Boersema via firstname.lastname@example.org or 071 527 5650.
Confidential counsellor for PhD candidates in the Faculty of Medicine/LUMC
"Every scientist comes to a point where he/she needs a sounding board, good advice and a nudge to discuss problems. I am happy to help with that."