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Psychologist for PhD candidates

The PhD psychologist can offer support to all Leiden University PhD candidates who are experiencing psychological issues that are either caused by, or are directly affecting, their PhD trajectory. 

The PhD psychologist is very much aware of the unique position occupied by PhD candidates and as a result, can provide assistance that helps to meets their specific needs.

Intended for who?

The PhD psychologist is available to all PhD candidates at Leiden University, irrespective of their contract type. In other words, for employed candidates (paid contracts), contract candidates (subsidised by grants) and external positions (self-funded). 

How can the PhD psychologist help?

You can turn to the PhD psychologist with problems arising from your PhD trajectory and other related personal problems, for example: 

  • Excessive (work) pressure, work-life imbalance
  • Physical and mental stress
  • Exhaustion and burn-out
  • Concentration problems
  • Motivation problems
  • Procrastination
  • Anxiety issues, including fear of failure and panic attacks
  • Mood issues
  • Perfectionism, imposter syndrome
  • Uncertainty (about your future)
  • Difficulties being assertive
  • Low or negative self-esteem
  • Social isolation, loneliness
  • Adjustment problems, culture shock
  • Problems with supervision or other aspects of the working environment
  • Problems caused by the corona crisis

Intake interview

You can make an appointment for an intake interview via phdpsychologist@sea.leidenuniv.nl. The purpose of the interview is to determine what type of help would be appropriate for you. Interviews last one hour and can take place online via Teams video call, or in-person at Plexus student centre in Leiden. 

Make an appointment

Next steps

After your intake interview there are a number of options available, depending on your needs: 

  • One-off advice and information 
  • Individual guidance sessions with the PhD psychologist (max. 4)
  • Participation in a group
  • Participation in a course, such as Get more success with less stress
  • Participation in an e-health programme
  • Referral to another care provider 
  • (Academic) career coaching via the HR department


In the following situations the PhD psychologist may decide to refer you to another source of help: 

  • You need long-term or specialised help.
  • Your complaints are urgent or severe, for example if you are having suicidal thoughts.
  • You have multiple problems (e.g. in different aspects of your life).
  • You have experienced these complaints for a long period of time.
  • There are cooperation problem in your working environment that require mediation. 

If you are referred to a more specialised mental healthcare provider, you will need a referral letter from your GP. If after reading the information on this page you already feel that you need more specialised help, you are of course welcome to contact your GP right away.

Free of charge

Appointments with the psychologist for PhD candidates are free of charge. 

Privacy and confidentiality

Conversations with the PhD psychologist are strictly confidential. The PhD psychologist has a duty of confidentiality and will never share information with a third party, such as a GP, manager or (co) supervisor, without the permission of the PhD candidate. 


The 'Get more success with less stress' course is intended for PhD candidates who are experiencing mental well-being challenges due to work-related pressure or stress. The course is open to all PhD candidates, whether you have already sought help from the PhD psychologist or not.

Read more and sign up

Who are the psychologists for PhD candidates?

Agnes van Rossum

Agnes van Rossum worked for many years as a scientist in the position of technician, PhD candidate and post-doc, obtaining her PhD in 2006. She quit science in 2010. Agnes studied clinical and health psychology at Utrecht University, after which she started her own practice as psychologist and walk-and-talk coach. In the role of PhD psychologist, Agnes brings her two worlds together. 

Agnes van Rossum, psychologist for PhD candidates
Agnes van Rossum, psychologist for PhD candidates

Margarita Lourido

Margarita Lourido obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology in Barcelona in 2016. She has an extensive international background which has included work and study in numerous countries such as Colombia, the US, Spain and the Netherlands. Since 2018, she has had her own practice as a coach-psychologist through which she channels her passion for helping highly-educated internationals navigate the challenges of establishing a life and career abroad.

Margarita Lourido, psychologist for PhD candidates
Margarita Lourido, psychologist for PhD candidates
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