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PhD psychologist and confidential PhD counsellors

Erasmus University Rotterdam places great importance on its staff’s ability to work in a pleasant and productive atmosphere. Several confidential counsellor are available for PhD candidates on a variety of issues. On this page you will find a complete overview. Always feel free to contact the Graduate School if you feel your issue cannot be resolved by the counsellors listed below.

PhD confidential counsellor

PhD candidates are dependent on their supervisors. If the relation between supervisor and PhD candidate is problematic, for whatever reason, this endangers progress and the finalisation of the PhD project. 

Therefore, the Graduate School has appointed Professor Sabine Severiens as a confidential counsellor especially for PhD candidates to seek help and resolve supervisory issues.

Contact details

prof.dr. Sabine Severiens (profile page)
Woudestein campus Rotterdam
Mandeville Building T16-13

T    +31 (0)10 40 89516

When contact the PhD confidential counsellor?

The PhD confidential counsellor can help you resolve issues such as:

  • Lack of, or irregular supervision time and effort
  • Assignment of extra work that is not part of the PhD trajectory
  • Unfair assessment
  • Absence of training possibilities
  • Unfair or unaccredited usage of PhD work (although this could also be taken to the academic integrity coordinator). Also consult our Good Academic Practices Guide on joint publications for our guidelines on this issue.

You can schedule an appointment with the counsellor if your doctoral supervisor (Dutch: 'promotor') is part of any of the Graduate School faculties and institutes:

  • Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT)
  • Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)
  • Erasmus School of Philosophy (ESPhil)
  • Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)
  • Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
  • International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)


  1. Make an appointment to see the counsellor ( / +31 (0)10 40 89516)
  2. She will treat your issue(s) confidentially
  3. She will help you develop scenarios that may lead to a solution
  4. Or may try to mediate directly if you would prefer such help

PhD psychologist

Your PhD is a demanding trajectory; you’re in the lead of challenging research projects, you’re trying to position yourself in the academic field and you try to determine your own path, but in agreement with your supervisors. It can be very challenging and stressful to be dealing with all these topics. Talking with a psychologist can help you to continue your PhD in a healthy and productive way.

Research shows that at least 25% of the PhD’s are at a high risk for developing burn-out or depression.
Do you notice some of the below mentioned complaints or do you have other personal issues? You can block a non-commital intake!

  • You find it difficult to let go of your work in spare time and/or you keep procrastinating.
  • You have troubles falling asleep or you feel tired during the day.
  • Every question or task feels like too much.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate and/or to focus.
  • You doubt your capacities or you’re feeling insecure.
  • You are withdrawing from social activities.
  • You regularly deal with headaches, stomach aches or you’re easily agitated.
  • You find it difficult to relax.

The PhD psychologist is Ms. I. (Iris) Bergwerff - van der Giessen.
You can schedule your PhD intake interview below. Please use your EUR email address for registration.

Work-life balance coaches

Doing a PhD can at times be stressful. Balancing research with teaching and a social life might at some point even raise difficult questions. How do I say ‘no’? How do I set the right priorities? What are the factors that makes me feel stressed? What gives me energy and how do I retain pleasure in my work?

In order to help you answer these questions, Erasmus University has assigned several work-life balance coaches. On your initiative and when it suits you best, you can contact one of these coaches and request an individual coaching session. The conversations will be during working hours and are strictly confidential. You do not have to inform your supervisor.

Dr. Claartje van Sijl is one of these coaches. Claartje obtained her doctorate in Philosophy and specialises in coaching academics. She can discuss challenging work-life balance situations that occur in your life as a PhD candidate and help you find solutions.

Search for work-life balance coaches in for more information.

Company welfare worker

If you have problems that are a result of your work or affect your work, you can turn to the EUR company welfare worker. What can you expect from him or her?

The overall purpose of social work is the well-being of people with regard to their social environment. The place in which you work is part of that social environment. The reasons for existing problems could be found in the job itself or in your work situation and these can affect your personal situation, or vice versa.

If you experience any type of obstacle that prevents you from doing your job properly, the best thing is to discuss this with an independent person who is not directly involved in your work situation. A person such as the staff welfare officer can help you find a solution to a problem and will assist you – and your manager if necessary – in dealing with the problem.

When contact the company welfare worker?

The company welfare worker can help you resolve issues such as:

  • Stress or work pressure related issues
  • Work progress related issues

Contact details

Raoul Koolen
Woudestein campus Rotterdam
Hatta Building, room 0.18

T  +31 (0)10 40 82247 / 06 53116650

Faculty coordinators academic integrity

Since 2002, Erasmus University Rotterdam has an academic integrity code. This code contains three key values: professionalism, teamwork and fair play. With these key values, we give direction to the desired conduct of our staff and students. In addition, the code gives the university staff and students the scope to demand accountability from each other with regard to their responsibilities.

When contact the faculty coordinators academic integrity?

  • The faculty coordinators academic integrity can provide consultation and advice in matters related to academic integrity.

dr. Flora Vanlangendonck
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

prof.dr. Stijn Reijnders
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

prof.dr. Jack Vromen
Erasmus School of Philosophy (ESPhil)

drs. Linda Johnson
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

prof.dr. Antoinette de Bont
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

EUR Ombudsman

The Ombudsman can offer support if you have questions, dilemmas or conflicts in the workplace or within a study programme. The Ombudsman can support you by, for example, conducting a more detailed discussion, offering advice, referring you to another party, through mediation or the establishment of an independent investigation. All information will be treated confidentially.

Edith Weijnen was appointed as Ombudsman of Erasmus University Rotterdam as of 1 June 2019. You can reach the Ombudsman confidentially via the e-mail or telephone number. Appointments can be made both within EUR and outside.

The Ombudsman holds consultation hours on Tuesdays on even weeks in the Hatta building from 10.30 am - 12.00 noon, room 018. You do not need to make an appointment.


Mr. drs. Edith Weijnen

Email address

+31 (0)6 54 23 43 42

Hatta Building | Building

More information:

Confidential counsellor unwanted behaviour, unequal treatment or other issues

Erasmus University Rotterdam places great importance on the students’ and staff’s ability to work in a pleasant and productive atmosphere. EUR has two appointed two confidential counselors. They serve as the contact persons for anyone who has been confronted with unwanted behaviour or unequal treatment in their study or work environment.

When contact the confidential counsellor?

The confidential counsellors can help you resolve issues related to:

  • Harassment (sexual or otherwise)
  • Aggressive behaviour and/or violence
  • Teasing
  • Stalking
  • Unequal treatment
  • Other issues

You can also contact them for issues not covered by the counsellors above, such as personal issues and emotional issues. First of all, they will lend a listening ear. In addition, they can advise on a structural solution. For example, mediation with the supervisor, referral to the company welfare worker, if necessary, referral to your general practitioner.

Download the flyer #MeTooAcademia Now what?!

What to do in case of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment occurs when a person is the object of another person’s unwelcome attention or conduct and experiences this as sexually suggestive. Attention of this nature may be verbal (remarks, insinuations), non-verbal (staring, making certain gestures), or physical (touching).

Download this flyer for a step-by-step guide on what to do if you or a colleague has been affacted by sexual harassment

Download the flyer #MeTooAcademia Now what?!

This flyer was part of the EGSH event #MeTooAcademia: The Learning Curve.

Martin Blok
T    +31 (0)6 2379 2496 

Luciënne van Hooijdonk
T    +31 (0)6 2379 2580


Search for confidential counsellor (Dutch: vertrouwenspersoon) in for more information.