Bounce back: handling the mental and emotional challenges of doing a PhD

Professional skills courses

Course information

Number of sessions: 3
Hours per session: 3 
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • € 450,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607 (Graduate School)

In the academic year 2023-2024 this course will take place offline.

Session 1
May 15 (Wednesday) 2024
Mandeville building (campus map), room T19-01

Session 2
May 22 (Wednesday) 2024
Mandeville building (campus map), room T19-01

Session 3
May 29 (Wednesday) 2024
Mandeville building (campus map), room T19-01

Enrolment available from December.


Writing a PhD is a demanding, complex and sometimes lonely activity. It requires not only intellectual, but also mental and emotional strength and flexibility. In other words: you need resilience.

People’s resilience differs. Some people feel they can handle just about everything, while others may feel less secure from time to time. The good news is that you can learn to be more resilient. This workshop teaches you the skills to do just that.

Aims and working method

The workshop combines lectures with exercises, reflection and practical tools, all aimed at giving you a personalized recipe box that helps you knowing what you can do when things are getting strenuous or difficult.

Entry level

This workshop is suitable and relevant for all PhD candidates. Participation does not require any particular experience, skills or knowledge.

Learning objectives

After the course, participants will:

  • know what resilience is;
  • understand what unhealthy pressure, stress and anxiety do with mind and body, and how they can minimise the effects;
  • learn how to handle feelings such as anger, sadness, shame or fear;
  • and know and use their strengths and resources.

About the instructors

Drs. Alexandra Gerny is an experienced coach with a background in psychology and systems psychodynamics. She works with professionals in science, culture and law, helping them to fulfil their professional roles in a powerful balance. She wrote half a PhD, until she realised that her coaching and training skills are better (and more satisfying) than her academic skills. She works independently in Amsterdam.