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Psychological Support Groups for Ph.D and early career scientists

Andreas H. Schei, psychologist in the Occupational Health Service (BHT) at UiB, invites PhDs and young researchers to a group discussion about the challenges you may face in an academic career.

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"Thank you again for setting up and facilitating the group on Thurs. It really helped me to hear other people share their experiences and to feel like I was being listened to and empathized with. And I really liked that we all worked together to find solutions." 

PhD, spring 2022 


Welcome to a group conversation where we will talk about the issues that you bring into the group. Most of the time it turns out that the issues are common experiences for all ph.ds and post docs. In sharing and talking about this together we can share support, insights, and solutions on how to handle it. It is open for any faculty; it is held in English and no issue is too small or too big to bring. The feedback has been very positive, and people leave feeling refreshed, having renewed hope, experiencing community and solidarity. 

How do we do it: 

The format is a three-hour session where all participants bring a work-related problem, emotional and/or concrete. If it is something in your private life that messes up your work, then that is totally okay to bring. You are also very welcome to come to these groups if you are just starting up your Ph.D. and using the group to release some stress or address what is happening to you in a supportive environment. 

Typical topics:  

  • Frustration or conflict with the supervisor 

  • Challenges with colleagues 

  • Cultural challenges in Norway or in the lab 

  • Hopelessness with the research - does it matter? 

  • Work life balance, family issues, self-care 

It is you who knows what you need support with for you to thrive in your life and work. 

The group is held with the following structure: 

  • You will get a few minutes to share with the group what is going on for you. 

  • We will turn your chair away from the group. 

  • 10-15 minutes of group exploring your sharing with you listening in to the conversation. 

  • First focus is emotional awareness, what emotions were present for the person sharing and in the listeners. 

  • At the end the group will look at possible solutions. 

  • Completing by turning your chair back into the group and you will get the opportunity to share your experience if you would like. 

This approach might seem odd, but this is a recognized intervention based on "reflective teams". People experience relief in not having to respond or react in any way to other peoples’ reflections. To be able to have a break and just get the reflections of what you have shared and think about them in your own time and on your own terms.  

On sign-up you will receive an email with additional information. If all places are booked, we recommend that you sign up on the waitlist. If less than 5 people attend the group will be cancelled.