Collegial Counseling

Collegial counseling is a variety of peer-to-peer counseling, in which a group comes together to discuss individual problems. Each meeting follows fixed rules and a structured procedure. The roles assumed by the participants change from meeting to meeting. This way, everyone can profit from the experiences of their peers.

University employees face many challenging situations: for example in completing their dissertation, in dealing with students, or in questions of compatibility of work and family. At work, they are also members of a team, where they must negotiate roles, rethink their positions and make decisions. This can lead to conflicts or situations where one feels overwhelmed, or on which one would like to reflect again in retrospect.

The collegial counseling method is designed to help you find solutions for practical problems in your professional life, and to allow you to reflect on your work and your professional role. In doing so, participants add to their qualifications by expanding their skills at counseling others.

The Group

Unlike in coaching or individual counseling sessions, there is no professional counselor. Instead, everyone meets on eye level. The roles assumed within the group change from meeting to meeting, so that everyone can profit from the advice and support of their peers.

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Die Zahlen 1, 2, 3 in weißer Schrift auf rotem Grund
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The Process

Every collegial counseling process follows fixed rules and a structured procedure – this distinguishes the format from conversation among colleagues during a coffee break. This approach helps the group stay on topic and facilitates the identification of alternative solutions to the problems under discussion. Thus, the regular meeting structure facilitates discussing new questions in each meeting.

Setting up a Group

If you are interested in starting a Collegial Counseling group, please contact the Gender Equality Office. You do not have to be (part of) a fixed group already. In an initial workshop, you will be introduced to the process and different methods of collegial counseling. During the first few meetings, we will assist your group in terms of contents and organization. The objective is to establish a fully independent counseling group.

Target Groups

The questions and problems you face in your work differ according to your work environment and specific responsibilities. In order for members of a group to be able to mutually counsel each other in an efficient manner, there should be a certain overlap in terms of the structure and processes of their respective work. For this reason, we offer to help you set up a collegial counseling group for different types of target group.

Women Members of Administritative and Technical Staff

Members of Administrative and Technical Staff are essential to keeping the organizational side of University life going, but their work is often overlooked and not appreciated enough

Your collegial counseling group can help you come up with ideas and suggestions for shaping your role in a team of researchers, or on how to handle conflicts within your unit.

Women Early-Career Researchers

Early-career researchers are confronted with many challenges at universities: they must correct students’ papers, apply for funding for research projects, or submit a chapter draft to their doctoral advisor.

Collegial counseling gives them an opportunity to discuss issues such as the negotiation of tasks and deadlines or conflicts with colleagues, employers and students in a group setting and find possible solutions.

People with Care Responsibilities

Those members of the University who are responsible for taking care of children or others often find themselves under a lot of pressure and tension. On the one hand, they need time for their care responsibilities; on the other, professional pressures remain high. As a result, they have little free time or time to rest.

A collegial counseling group can support people with care responsibilities in questions such as how to create room for themselves or how to talk to their employers about their care responsibilities without having to address the question of their own capacity.

These groups are open to people of all genders.


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