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Queen Mary Academy

PhD Support Group

Finally I can open up and talk about my problems that have been bothering me for a long time, but I didn't know how to deal with or how to talk about it with other people. And it feels nice to know it is not shameful to have these problems and it doesn't mean I am not good enough.
— PhD Support Group participant

Queen Mary’s Advice and Counselling Service and the Researcher Development team will offer Support Groups for PhD students for a fourth year in 2021-22. The groups aim to provide a safe, confidential space in which PhD students support each other with personal, emotional and relationship issues that are holding them back.

Support GroupThrough sharing with others who have similar experiences you can gain a clearer perspective and identify more effective ways of managing the tension between personal and emotional issues and academic demands.

Some themes that could be explored in the Support Group are, among others: isolation, finding it hard to maintain confidence or motivation, worries about career prospects, the relationship with supervisors and how stress, anxiety or other worries can affect research progress.

The groups are facilitated by Ben Priest, Counsellor at the Advice and Counselling Service, and Dr Fryni Panayidou, Researcher Development Adviser for Postgraduate Research Students.

The groups will run online in the first instance, until it is possible to run them without disruption in person again.

It was great to not feel alone. I felt like I could share my problems without judgement. I now feel confident that I will be successful in the PhD. Even if I didn't have a problem to share in a particular week it was useful to listen and help others.
— PhD Support Group participant

To Sign Up

Each PhD support group will run for 8 weekly sessions on Thursdays from 11.00am to 12.15pm, initially online, with a maximum of 8 participants in each group. You are expected to attend all 8 sessions and an individual appointment with the facilitators before you join any group.

Places will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

The provisional dates of the groups are:

Group A: 23 September – 11 November 2021
Group B: 
13 January – 3 March 2022
Group C: 
17 March – 12 May 2022 (excluding 14 April)

If you would like to join a group please complete a short form at The facilitators will be in touch soon to arrange an appointment.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Fryni Panayidou.