Ires Ghielen blij met vergrootglas

Coaching Program

1 on 1 guidance for 4 months to help you reach that finish-line without breakdowns!

(Wo)man! That PhD turned out different than you expected or hoped…

So much is coming your way and you have multiple jobs into one. Being a researcher does not mean only labwork, it also means you have to be a writer, a presenter, a graphic designer, a statistician, a supervisor for interns, a teacher, and probably even more.

And on top of that, you also get to know the actual scientific or academic world, in which lots of interests are in play, and supervisors are not always helpful or supportive.

Not so strange you feel overwhelmed!

You are not the only one, since over 70% of PhD students feel very stressed out, according to scientific studies. Those numbers are important to show you you are not alone, and for everyone ‘being stressed out’ looks and feels a bit different.

It all comes down to this: you are not happy with the current situation and how you are feeling, and I am here to show you how to improve that!

Ires contemplating on the beach

Does this sound a little bit too familiar?

  • You feel insecure about basically everything you do
  • You feel nervous to hit the ‘send’ button to e-mail your supervisor or open an e-mail from him/her
  • You sometimes wonder if you are ‘cut out for this’
  • Your to do list expands faster than it reduces
  • You feel like you are failing and work-life is out of balance
  • You feel tense when you have to talk to your supervisor(s)
  • You think you won’t finish your PhD in time
  • You find it difficult to relax and have fun in practicing science
  • You feel like an imposter.
  • You feel like you are working on auto-pilot, yet you feel tired or even exhausted.

You try to work MORE, and do everything FASTER and BETTER.

But eventually, this takes you further from your goal…

Because when you start working harder, there is no end, because there is always more to do in science and it will NEVER be good enough. It is impossible to avoid negative feedback, because it is the way the academic environment works. 

When you say ‘yes’ to everything, your supervisor(s) will keep adding more tasks, because they think you apparently have time to spare. Your to-do list will keep on growing, and finishing your PhD on time becomes more and more unrealistic.

When you never rest and refuel in time, this is making you more tired and miserable. And then a PhD is a long way to just ‘power through’.

Have you ever thought something like; “But when this is finished, then it will be better”. Be honest with me, did things get better then? In science, there is always the next thing…

It’s time for some change!

You always have 3 options whenever you aren’t happy with your current situation:

1. Leave it

Which basically means; quit your PhD or academia

Accept it

Settle for this and wait to see if it gets better (spoiler: it won’t without changing something yourself..)

3. Change it

And that is where I come in to help you do this!

Even though it might feel impossible to change it, this is definitely doable.

Because I am the living example of this. When I did my PhD, I went through a burnout and made this exact choice; to change my situation.

And that all has to do with putting your time and energy into the things you can actually change, where you have the power.

This power lies especially in how you communicate (and set boundaries), your stress-management skills, letting go of things you cannot change, and HOW you do the work (in order to be more productive).

All this makes you feel more in control, more relaxed, and focused. So you can finish your PhD on time, without feeling burned out.

Ires Ghielen

I find it important that you are seen for who you are, as a human being, not as a robot to work as much as possible for someone else. Your needs and desires come first.

I will help you..

  • Learn how to deal with the academic pressure and competition, and decide what part you want to play in this.
  • Feel more relaxed and stop feeling guilty whenever you are not productive.
  • Find out what works best for you, instead of trying to adapt to all the expectations, which makes practicing science more effortless.
  • Stop feeling as if you are not good enough or not ‘cut out’ to be a scientist (goodbye imposter).
  • Learn how to practice science in a more efficient way, which costs you way less energy. 
  • Go to bed at night with a feeling of fulfillment instead of feeling as if you are falling short.
  • Make use of your freedom and set healthy boundaries, without getting into conflict with your supervisor.

“I am actually not a PhD student anymore (but still in temporary contracts). I struggled a lot during my PhD and this program is very insightful to better understand these past situations and to avoid such situation with the PhD student I am following right now. It also speaks to me as a researcher more generally and how to face current challenges (even if I am beyond the PhD).

student of Stress-Free PhD

With my coaching program, you also get access to lots of helpful content on my online platform!

There you have access to 6 modules (containing multiple lessons around the subject):

1. Stress & brain theory

Neuropsychological background on how it all works, because it helps to understand and know exactly what to change

2. Strategies

Discover exactly why you feel stressed, and clarify what is helping you and what is not, know where you have that power to change things

3. Become the future you

Work towards how you want to feel, how your relationships are, and how prominent work/science takes a place into your life

4. Supervisor communication

Discover the academic communication patterns and how to use them towards your advantage, especially regarding to your supervisor(s)

5. Stress-management strategies

Practice skills that will last a lifetime, so you become and stay resilient, calm, and confident (or in just 1 word; chill)

6. Work smarter, not harder

Become your most productive self! Start working in the way that works best for you. Make use of the freedom that academia gives you.

So how does this work exactly?


We start with a 1 hour kick-off, to pinpoint the best way for me to help you! You get immediate access to the online platform so you can start your journey rightaway.


4 coachcalls

We have 4 (30-45 minute) coaching Zoom-calls, 1 each month. We tackle your struggles, guard  your progress and determine your focus for the coming month!

I got your back

During the program you can always message me for support or advice through a free app. I am rooting for you all the way. Let’s do this!

Only €1590,- for these 4 months

(including taxes and possible to pay in 2 or 4 monthly installments)

Do you want to check me out and see if my coaching fits for you?

Schedule a FREE Healthy Science Kickstart, after which you can make a clear decision about investing!

“I am actually not a PhD student anymore (but still in temporary contracts). I struggled a lot during my PhD and this program is very insightful to better understand these past situations and to avoid such situation with the PhD student I am following right now. It also speaks to me as a researcher more generally and how to face current challenges (even if I am beyond the PhD).

student of Stress-Free PhD

Hi, I am Dr. Ires Ghielen, experience expert and licensed therapist in one

After my first year of PhD, I couldn’t handle the pressure, competition, demands, and expectations anymore. I was working so hard, I had exhausted myself. And at that point, it felt like I was failing. I couldn’t ‘hack it’ in the academic world and I was not a good scientist (to put it nicely, in my head this was way more cruel).

I called in sick, official label ‘burnout’, and went into therapy. As a psychologist you can imagine this feels like you’re failing as well when it comes to your mental health. I felt like ‘I should have seen this coming‘.

I came to the conclusion that the learning I had to do was about; not wanting to let others down, my difficulties setting boundaries, insecurity, perfectionism. I can put down a few more, but you get the gist. So that is what I did!

Since then I am on a mission to help other overcome the same.

Ires Ghielen

Frequently asked questions


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I am not doing a PhD, is this for me?

Because overwhelm is so apparent in PhD students, I focus on those people here on the website. But a PhD is only 1 period in your academic career, and this environment with all its pressure and competition is hard to deal with in every academic stage. With other roles (Postdoc, intern, research assistent, you name it) come different responsibilities, and you are also at a different stage of your life. If you work in academia, and recognize yourself in what you’ve read so far, then definitely this program is also fitting for you. I will be happy to help!

I find it (a bit) too expensive

The reason I can do this so cheap (because it really is…), is that the online platform is a huge supportive system in itself. That way, the 1 on 1 support can be less intensive. You are the only one who can determine what it’s worth to you, no hard feelings at all! But if you don’t invest, probably nothing will change…

I have a big time difference with the Netherlands

That can be a bit of a challenge regarding the coaching calls, I can imagine. Up until now, it has never been a problem, if we both are a bit flexible (we can schedule it in the evenings for example). The nice thing about the online platform is that it is available to you whenever you need it, 24/7, so time difference is not an issue here :-).

I am still in doubt…

I understand! Although it is worth every penny, it can be quite a big investment and you just want to make the right decision. Always feel free to schedule a [FREE] Healthy Science Kickstart with me to get to know me a bit, and I am always honest about what I can help you with and what not. 

I am looking for support for my students

First of all, that is amazing! I really celebrate supervisors who are willing to support their students in the best way they can.

Let’s talk to see what fits for you and your students, send me an e-mail through

The coaching program is also available for institutions/universities to coach a group of students. Please contact me to ask for the specifics >>>