Universiteit Leiden

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Personal circumstances

A student psychologist can help you to deal with personal and study-related circumstances that might be impacting your academic progress.

Students of Leiden University are entitled to visit our student psychologists during their open consultation hours. All students are welcome, be they full-time or part-time, Dutch or international, Bachelor or Master.  

Urgent situations

Are you being overwhelmed by negative thoughts? Do you feel you just can’t cope? Or are you experiencing problems that are not related to your studies or academic issues? If so we strongly advise you to contact a general practitioner (family doctor) to discuss the best form of psychological support for you. Your general practitioner can quickly refer you to a primary care assistant or the municipal health authority (GGZ).

Recognising problems

You are welcome to speak to Leiden University’s student psychologists about a wide range of problems that might be holding you back in your studies.  All our student psychologists are qualified registered psychologists and/or cognitive therapists. When treating students they employ techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy, solution-focused therapy, ACT, RET and mindfulness. Treatment can take the form of individual sessions, training courses or workshops. Our student psychologists can also refer you to other organisations or individuals if they think it would be beneficial.

Problems and situations

You are welcome to speak to Leiden University’s student psychologists about the following types of issue:

- Study-related issues:

  • Concentration and motivation problems
  • Planning, time management and self-discipline difficulties or procrastination
  • Problems carrying out assignments and writing your thesis
  • Falling behind in your studies, problems with internships or graduation
  • Giftedness

- Exceptional family situations:

  • Care or concern for a family member (being a carer)
  • Disputes with family, friends or relations
  • The loss of a family member or loved one

- Psychological or personal problems:

  • Anxiety (exam stress; fear of failure, public speaking or writing)
  • Lack of self-confidence, low self esteem
  • Feeling insecure
  • Stress and emotional exhaustion
  • Self-harming
  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia or binge eating)
  • Depression and extreme sadness, excessive worrying and feelings of dread
  • Addiction (drugs, drink, gaming or internet)
  • Difficulties arising from traumatic events

- If you get into a rut and/or your academic results are going downhill and you don’t know why.

- Any other psychological or personal issues and situations not mentioned above.  

Notify someone about your situation

If you are having difficulties and need academic assistance make sure to notify your study adviser or coordinator right away. Together you can decide on the best plan of action to avoid you falling behind in your studies and/or being issued with negative binding study advice. If you follow the official procedures for reporting and minimising your academic delay the board of examiners must take your circumstances into consideration when issuing binding study advice. It is very important that you officially notifying someone about your situation to avoid problems escalating.

Taking action

In general you’ll feel a lot better if you talk to the people around you about your situation. You can also take action yourself and try to get to grips with the problem. The tips and advice provided below might be of some help:

  • Take the SMART test to help discover the strengths and weaknesses in your approach to studying.
  • Read our study tips for advice on common study-related problems.
  • The Student Support Services library has a selection of helpful books you can borrow, as well as a range of useful articles and brochures. 
  • The university holds frequent workshops and training courses on subjects such as time management, overcoming exam stress and assertiveness. Take a look on this page for more details.
  • Send your question to a student psychologist by email.
    • You will receive a reply within 5 working days.
    • Your details will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
    • Your question and our reply may be added to our Q&A archive for the benefit of other students. All details will be rendered unrecognisable and anonymous, but if you object please mention this in your email.
    • Keep in mind that it may not be possible to give an extensive reply to highly personal and complex questions by email.
    • For more complex questions you are advised to visit during open consultation hours.
    • The Q&A archive is intended only for students of Leiden University.

We hope the tips, advice and options mentioned above will help you get back on track. But if you need more support you can arrange this via the university.

Support via the university

If you are unable to resolve the problem yourself, if it keeps recurring, or if you feel you need more support, you are welcome to ask our student psychologists for help. They can assist you in looking for solutions and finding any additional help you may need.

Open consultation hours

Your initial contact with a student psychologist should take place during open consultation hours, in other words without an appointment. Consultation hours take place Monday to Friday from 11:00 till 12:00 at Plexus Student Centre. You will spend 15 minutes with the student psychologist explaining your problem and discussing the best course of action. Make sure to be there by 11:45 at the latest. If it is very busy you may be asked to come back another time.

Individual sessions

During open consultation hours the student psychologist may advise you to come back for individual sessions to address your problems. Be aware that you may have to wait several weeks for your first appointment. Our secretariat will call you to make arrangements. Individual sessions take place as follows:

1. Intake session

Your first appointment will be an intake session. Together with the psychologist you will take the time to gain a clearer picture of your problems, whether they be study-related or otherwise. You will also discuss what you hope to achieve during the sessions and the best possible course of action.

2. Guidance

You will attend a number of individual appointments with the psychologist. The nature of your appointments will depend on the type of help you need.

3. Evaluation

At the end of your series of appointments you will discuss whether you have achieved the goals you set and what your next steps should be. The psychologist may recommend a training course or workshops, or refer you to another specialist or organisation for further therapy. 


Appointments are free of charge, however you must pay a contribution towards the costs of training courses and workshops.

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