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Mental Health during the PhD

We are aware that pursuing a PhD is a particular challenge, which can have effects on your mental health as well as your social life. Anxiety about the future, procrastination, writer’s block etc. are – to a certain extent – ‘normal’ aspects of this challenge. However, they can also be the first signs or already serious symptoms of a mental health issue like depression or burnout. At the GCSC, we want to raise awareness of this and support you if needed. To this end, we offer regular workshops on topics like resilience and stress management.

As a graduate centre, we cannot offer psychological counselling ourselves. Yet we know that, especially in exhausting and distressing periods, it can be difficult to go looking for help on your own. To make this step as easy as possible, this page lists support organisations and helplines that you can approach when necessary. Please do not hesitate to ask the relevant institutions whether they provide their service in English. If you need help getting in touch with any of them, you may contact Lena Nüchter at the GCSC (confidential).



November 2023

Workshop: Good is better than perfect: Stress resilience, mindfulness and the ability to navigate one's inner stress drivers

Termin: Thursday, November 30th 2023, 09:00 to 05:00
Ort: MFR, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Otto-Behaghel-Str. 12, 35394 Gießen

Pursuing a PhD is an endeavour of high uncertainties and precarity. Research in general is rarely plannable, nevertheless reliable exposés have to be written. Additionally, time management is a key task, since candidates have to split their resources besides their project on several activities such as teaching, conference presentations, publishing as well as career development and acquisition of key qualifications. Finally, academia as a social field is shaped by values such as excellence and competition; reputation is it‘s currency, continuous critical questioning is the motor of scientific progress. All of these factors can cause stress and anxiety – both of which, in turn, might hamper what innovative research needs: creativity, openness, focus.

The workshop provides the participants with basic knowledge of how stress works and combines it with an introduction to practices of mindfulness. Through personal reflection, theoretical knowledge is transformed into self-awareness of individual stress drivers and via hands-on exercises it is transferred into daily life. Furthermore, mindfulness practices such as meditation, but also simple physical exercises (mindful movements) and structured reflections can increase awareness of one’s perception and thinking, emotions and sensing.

Dr. Christine Normann is a trainer for Mindful Leadership. She has worked in science management at research institutions and universities for over ten years. She holds a PhD in political science and has experience in research and teaching.

Ruben Pfizenmaier M.A. is part of the Management Team at the consulting firm Concadora and works as trainer for Mindful Leadership. He studied Philosophy, Literature and Cultural Studies in Hildesheim, Cork and Berlin and finished his PhD at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture in Gießen in 2023.


max. 10 participants 


Please register on Stud.IP for this event. The deadline for registration is 27th October 2023.

Cancel your registration by email (and on Stud.IP) at least 7 days prior to the deadline. Please note that your registration is binding and commits you to full participation in the respective course which includes an individual preliminary chat with one of the trainers. These will take place virtually in the two or three weeks leading up to the workshop, the appointments will be arranged individually.

If you are not able to attend the course, please give others the chance to participate. Should more people register than places are available, we will as usual apply the first come, first served-principle.

Should you need further information or have questions, please contact Jacqueline Sim or Marcel Frentzel.

You can find more information here.

Where to get help

At JLU  

Psychologische Beratung - AStA


Stressbewältigung - FB 06


Studiencoaching - ZfBK


Zentrale Studienberatung

In Gießen  

UKGM Gießen - Klinik für Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie


Vitos Klinik Gießen

crisis line: 0641 ‐ 4030


Marburger Bündnis gegen Depression



Deutsche Depressionshilfe


Deutsche Depressionsliga


Crisis line

0800 - 111 0 111


Readings/Further information



Studies dealing with the subjext of PhD/academic work and research & depression/mental health problems