Picture: Pudelskern, commissioned by the Dahlem Research School.


These trainings can be booked as online, on-site, or mixed formats, and will be tailored to your needs.

As many statistics indicate, mental health in the research sector is exacerbated by the research system’s inherent structures and dynamics. Suggesting that all it takes to make researchers more resilient are better skills at dealing with stress would be implausible. Nevertheless, a skills training, especially for researchers in leadership positions, can be a powerful starting point for improving individual wellbeing which can have rippling effects on team members.



  • PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers
  • PIs and other scientists in leadership positions
  • scientific coordinators and other staff in science management



The objective of this training is to prevent, alleviate or resolve negative inner stressors that are typical in the field of academic research. The methodical approach is based on Nonviolent Communication, particularly its aspect of self-compassion, i.e. the perception and acceptance of our own feelings and needs combined with the wish for our own wellbeing. The training is embedded in the research on the effectiveness of self-compassion in the prevention of burnout and other stress-related disorders (ref. Kristin Neff, Tanja Singer). More classical approaches (more specifically, the identification of stressors and resources [Paulsen & Kortsch] or the transactional stress model [Lazarus]) complement the practical focus of this training with an important analytical dimension of self-reflection.



As in my other trainings, the focus here is on peer-exchange, self-reflection, and practice. Regarding the acquisition of stress management skills this means: 

  • awareness raising, e.g. through short meditation
  • establishing contact to own feelings and needs
  • activating the resource of self-compassion and practicing it
  • structured exchange with peers in small groups (in the form of authentic self-expression and the practice of active, empathic listening – according to participants’ feedback, this practice significantly contributes to the alleviation of stress) 

It is possible and usually very-well received by participants to complement the group training with one-on-one coaching sessions to discuss individual situations in more detail and with more time.


    I am so happy to receive such great input after such a long time without. During this week, I often find myself thinking about our last two workshop hours. It’s really good for me. I experience the interaction with the other participants as very open and sometimes very personal, although none of us knew each other before, and even now we only see each other online. I find this very interesting and am happy that we are obviously all very much at ease in this space you give us.

    Anna - Postdoc in Chemistry

    Max-Planck-Society | Online

    You may remember our short breakdown session where you took me through the second and third step to focus on the feelings associated to some situation I shared with you. That was quite a significant moment for me, I think something along the lines of what I expected to happen did in fact happen and ever since I found it useful to guide myself through the same process. I genuinely would like to thank you for the guidance and compassion you showed over such a short, but for me quite vulnerable, moment.

    Giacomo - Postdoc in physics

    Max-Planck-Society | Online

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