In maximum 7 meetings, spread out over a year, a group of 5 or 6 PhD’s discuss and explore actual work-related issues. Participants share experiences. They explore and develop methods and strategies to deal with complex situations at work. During the meetings, PhD’s receive practical tools and develop skills (i.e. communication skills, managing your own project, giving and getting feedback, negotiation strategies). The exchanges and analyses among peers, allow for personal reflection and new insights and ways to handle complex situations.
Typical for these meetings is that the participants are neither colleagues who work together on the same subject, neither are they working at the same department. Often they have never met before. Mostly they (hardly) know each other. Interests don’t interfere which makes it possible to exchange and explore in a safe environment. Most of the time, participants evaluate those meetings as valuable; their problems are not unique, their colleagues deal with the same type of issues.

Typical for the Peer Consultation Group for PhD’s

  • all participants are PhD’s at the university / a scientific (medical institute)
  • a group consists of 5 or 6 PhD’s, plus the supervisor
  • a group that consists of 6 participants meets 7 times (5 participants meet 6 times) spread out over a year. Every meeting lasts 4 hours (in the morning, afternoon or evening) and takes place at the office of one of the participants, depending on one’s possibilities
  • the fee is € 975,- per participant. Because Van Og Advies is registered as an educational institute, costs are free of BTW.

Examples of topics discussed and explored

  • what I am going to do after I have finished my PhD?
  • what are the possibilities within and outside the University?
  • how can I deal with demands / expectations of my (co) promotor/ supervisor?
  • when have I done enough/ how to set my limits?
  • what freedom do I have to stick to my own ideas (about my dissertation?) balance
  • in which degree are my data really mine
  • in which situations is it allowed to ask for help?
  • how to deal with annoying or bossy colleagues
  • how to negotiate in a successful way
  • how to deal with the pressure to publish/ deadlines/ competition
  • how to become less overwhelmed by work/ demands of colleagues
  • how to deal with the Dutch/ the Dutch (academic) system/ UvA culture
  • how to deal with conflicts / power relationships
  • how to deal with gender issues
  • balancing between work and private life (priorities)
  • how to set your limits (saying ‘no’)
  • how to deal with stress / how to prevent a burnout
  • how to become less overwhelmed by work/ demands of colleagues/ deadlines etc.
  • time management/ what are my priorities?
  • how to deal with own standards/ integrity when I doubt the way my data are interpreted?
  • dealing with an intimidating supervisor
  • how to keep enjoying my job?

Underlying topics:

  • self-confidence, self esteem
  • getting overview and taking a step in
  • diminish (feelings of) insecurity
  • personal efficiency
  • what is my place in the world
  • self-reflection: one’s strengths and weaknesses

Strengths of ‘Professional Peer Consultation’

  • the combined approach (working in a structured way, offering broader concepts and practical tips and tools and zooming in on psychological and sociological processes entails that participants are addressed at various levels; what is discussed and explored sticks better.
  • the Peer Consultation does not take much time (6 or 7 meetings spread over a year)
  • the Peer Consultation group consists of a max of 6 PhD’s. Under professional supervision the group can develop into a place where participants feel safe and explore situations that are bothering them and find constructive ways to handle them.
  • the fact that participants come from different faculties/ institutes and have different interests, contributes much towards the success of these groups.

About Riky van Og, the supervisor, what does she bring with her

  • knowledge of and experience in the academic world and its various internal power
    structures en processes
  • 20 years of experience as a psychologist in coaching and supervising university and medical staff with regard to complex situations at work
  • 20 years of experience in supervising and coaching university and medical staff towards a higher level of professionalism – at all levels (from PhD tot professor) – both at an individual level and in groups, at universities as well as other (medical) institutes of science.

Riky van Og