Problems in your PhD?
What kind of PhD problems?
“I have problems with my supervisor/department”
In this case you should contact the confidential adviser or mentor in your department. If you do not know who it is, ask your secretary. The confidential adviser is someone working at your department with whom you can have confidential conversations about issues you might have. They can provide some practical tips and suggestions, and for more profound/structural problems, they can refer to a coach, psychologist, or other specialist.
If you prefer to talk to someone outside of your department, there are two options:
- The welfare occupational officer of the university, https://intranet.uu.nl/en/staff-welfare-service. They are social workers who can help you with minor issues or refer you to other professionals. English language could be a barrier.
- The staff confidential adviser (ombudsman), https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/governance-and-organisation/confidential-advisor . The staff confidential adviser can help employees who have complaints, grievances or questions regarding conditions or events at work. In some case, given your authorization, they can act as mediators between two parties.
“I would like to improve my research/academic skills”
Your supervisor and promoter are the main persons with whom to discuss problems in the conduct of your research. If you think you should improve your academic skills you could discuss with them and with the secretary of your department. There might be possibilities to follow courses, trainings or a summer school.
“The PhD is a bit overwhelming. Can we get any support to better tackle/cope with challenges?”
There are in principle opportunities for coaching at the university, https://intranet.uu.nl/coaching (info in Dutch) but it has to be approved by your supervisor. So, first discuss it with the supervisor, and/or the confidential adviser of your department.
“I’m concerned with my mental health (feeling stressed, anxious, unfocused, or depressed). Can I talk to a psychologist?”
Yes, but (for now) there are no psychologists available for PhDs or staff at Utrecht University. Here are your options.
- Huisarts/GP. Make an appointment with your GP and ask if there is a psychologist available at your health centre (gezondsheid centrum/ praktijk). The consultations with the psychologist at the health centre are free when you have a Dutch health insurance; but not every health centre has a psychologist. Sometimes there are only social workers. If you have serious problems or a depression, your huisarts can refer you to a mental health clinic who will contact you for an intake. The costs are partly covered by the insurance (depending on coverage).
- Contact the confidential adviser in your department. They might have contacts of external psychologists that they recommend. In this case you have to cover the costs.
If none of these options are helpful, or you have other questions, feel invited to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.