Group counselling programs

About group counselling

If you are dealing with concerns like depression, anxiety, or stress, your counsellor may recommend group counselling. UBC Counselling Services also offers support groups for specific concerns that you can join at any time.

If you're feeling persistently stressed, anxious, or sad, you can also book an appointment with Counselling Services.

Benefits of online group counselling

Group therapy is as effective as individual therapy for concerns such as stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship concerns. It can also benefit you in different ways.

  • Connect with other students
    You are not alone. The group experience can help you connect with other students experiencing similar challenges. The group environment seeks to be encouraging, supportive, and safe.

  • Learn new skills
    Groups offer opportunities for you to realize your strengths and gather new skills to try out. Most groups are offered once a week.

  • Get “unstuck”
    Group therapy can offer a different perspective on your situation and a sense of accountability which can help motivate you to try new strategies.

  • Build social confidence
    It is common for students to feel nervous before coming to their first group. The groups are clear about the purpose of the group and what will happen during the session. You can share as much or as little as you like in the group. The supportive environment can provide an opportunity to practice new skills to help reduce anxiety in a social setting.  

  • Easy access
    As long as you have access to a stable internet connection and are in British Columbia, you'll be able to participate in group counselling.

Online group programs

All groups will be offered online for the 2022 academic year. For more information on how to access these programs, read the group descriptions below.

We recognize the unique individual needs of each student and the clinician working with you will provide alternate options if group programming is not an appropriate referral option or fit.

if you are a UBC Vancouver student, you can also access online groups and workshops offered by UBC Okanagan Counselling Services.

For both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan students

Happy Together: Relationship Skills Group

Have you ever stopped yourself from reaching out for help because you weren’t sure how? Have you ever wondered what your conflict style is? And what is an “emotional bank account”? Happy Together is a skills-based group for students of any gender who want to improve communication skills, connect with others more genuinely, improve boundaries, assess values in relationships, and to deepen relationships.  The skills are intended to address a variety of relationships. We will answer all these questions and more!

Group sessions are stand-alone and students are encouraged to attend as many (or few) sessions as they may find helpful.

To participate, you must be currently residing in British Columbia and attend from a private and quiet space with a stable internet connection that can support Zoom. Both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan students are welcome to attend.

Facilitators

  • Asmae El-Bouhali, MEd, MSC, Clinical Counsellor, Counselling Services
  • Brenda Lee, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist, Counselling Services

    Group session details

    • Schedule: Tuesdays from Sep 27 to Nov 29, 2022
    • ​​​​​​Time: 2:00 to 3:30 pm

    List of sessions

    Date for first round

    Date for second round

    Session topic

    Sep 27

    Nov 1

    My relationship with me

    Oct 4

    Nov 8

    Understanding how I am in relationships

    Oct 11

    Nov 15

    How to deepen and maintain our relationships

    Oct 18

    Nov 22

    Managing conflicts and fighting together

    Oct 25

    Nov 29

    Healthy goodbyes

    Registration details

    Registration closes temporarily 60 minutes before the start of each group session. Instructions for joining the meeting will be emailed to registered students before the session.

    If you're interested, register through this online form.

    Mindful Stress Management

    Feeling stressed out? Come and join our online weekly stress management group, helping you to learn and practice new skills to manage your current stressors. With mindfulness support, this group offers an introduction to skills focused on coping with difficult emotions, practicing relaxation, and self-compassion.

    Topics may include:

    • Mindful Awareness
    • Relaxation 
    • Self-Compassion
    • Coping with Emotions

      Group sessions are standalone; you can attend the group starting at any time, and students are encouraged to attend as many, or few, sessions as they may find helpful.

      To participate, you must be currently residing in British Columbia and have access to both a private and quiet space, as well as a stable internet connection that can support Zoom. Both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan students are welcome to attend.

      Facilitators

      • Cassie Smith, MC, MBET, RP, CCC, Clinical Counsellor, Counselling Services
      • Gordon Lai, MEd, RCC, Embedded Counsellor, Counselling Services
      • Jennifer Koh, MA, Practicum Student, Counselling Services
      • Theo Chu, Practicum Student, Counselling Services

        Group session details

        • Schedule: Mondays, Sep 26, Oct 3, Oct 17, Oct 24, Nov 7, Nov 14, Nov 21, Nov 28
        • Time: 10:00 to 11:00 am

        Registration details

        If you're interested, register through this online form.

        Getting through Grad School with Grace & Grit: UBC graduate student online support

        We recognize that graduate students face many ongoing challenges, due to both the grad school experience itself and the impact of the pandemic on one’s life and studies. The stress and uncertainty can feel isolating and overwhelming, and maintaining a sense of community is important.

        This support group is a welcoming and non-judgmental online community where graduate students come together in solidarity, to listen to and support each other, and apply grace and grit to succeed in their challenges. Come and connect with others over your grad school experiences, whether that be staying motivated, managing relationships with mentors, handling uncertainty about career goals, creating work-life balance, and everything in between.

        To participate, you must be currently residing in British Columbia and attend from a private and quiet space with a stable internet connection that can support Zoom. Both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan graduate students are welcome to attend.

        You can join the support group at any point during the term and your attendance can be flexible and as needed. Feel free to join us for just a few or as many sessions as you like!

        Facilitators

        • Karen Flood, PhD, Registered Psychologist, Counselling Services

          Group session details

          This group will be offered again in late Fall 2022.

          Global Connections: A Support Group for International Students

          Are you an international student at UBC, and feeling overwhelmed lately? If so, please join the Global Connections support group. Meet other international students in a safe space, connect and build on-campus support, and learn ways to navigate the unique challenges often experienced by international students.

          Topics are generated by participants so that relevant themes may be addressed.

          Topics may include:

          • Adjusting to Canadian culture and missing home
          • Language concerns and challenges
          • Making connections and new friendships
          • Coping with academic stress and demands
          • Facing uncertainty and unknowns in a new country
          • Building resilience and self-compassion

          You can join the support group at any point during the term and your attendance can be flexible and as needed. In order to participate, you must be currently residing within British Columbia and have access to both a private space and stable internet that can support Zoom. This group is open to both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan students.

          Facilitators

          • Jen-Mai Wong, Psy.D., Psychologist, Counselling Services (she/her/hers)
          • Alysha Chan Kent, MSc., Predoctoral Intern, Counselling Services

          Group session details

          Join the group every other Friday, starting Sep 30, from 12:30 to 2:00 pm PT.

          Dates: Sep 30, Oct 14, Oct 28, Nov 18, Dec 2, Dec 16

          ​​Registration details

          Registration closes 60 minutes before the start time of the group session. Instructions for joining the meeting will be emailed to registered students before the session.

          If you're interested, register through this online form.

          (Re)Claim and Connect: A guided storytelling group for Asian Canadians

          (Re)Claim and Connect is a guided storytelling group for people of Asian heritage in Canada, including multiracial and all regions of Asia, that aims to foster connection to self and to others through witnessing and sharing personal stories. Each session focuses on themes related to Asian Canadian identity, including place, race, and family. You can find more details in the program information (pdf).

          This group was developed by Dr. Fred Chou and his colleagues at the University of Victoria and is being piloted at UBC Counselling Services. Visit the Growth and Solidarity website for details. Participants will receive a $5 e-gift card to Starbucks as a token of appreciation for taking part in the group.

          Facilitators

          • Michelle Lim, Registered Social Worker, UBC Counselling Services
          • Brenda Lee, Registered Psychologist, UBC Counselling Services

            Group session details

            • Schedule: Every Wednesday from Oct 5 to Nov 30, except Oct 12 and Nov 9
            • Time: 2:30 to 4:00 pm on Oct 5, 2:30 to 4:30 pm for all other sessions

              Registration details

              If you're interested, register through this online form.

              For UBC Vancouver students

              Think, Feel, Be

              Feeling anxious or depressed? This online group is for you. The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) group provides helpful skills and strategies to manage mood concerns, and a supportive space to share experiences and build connections. There will be 4 sessions over 4 weeks and students will be introduced to CBT theory.

              Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) theory includes:

              • Understanding and working with thoughts and feelings
              • Helpful and unhelpful coping strategies
              • Managing avoidant behaviors
              • Values
              • Mindfulness

              To participate, you must be currently living in British Columbia and have access to a private and quiet space with a stable Internet connection that can support Zoom.

              Facilitators

              • Vanita Sabharwal, MSW, Clinical Counsellor
              • Hossein Eslami, PhD, Clinical Counsellor

                Group session details

                Group A

                • Schedule: Tuesdays from September 20 to October 11 (4 sessions)
                • Time: 2:30 to 4:00 pm

                  Group B

                  • Schedule: Tuesdays from October 25 to November 15 (4 sessions)
                  • Time: 1:00 to 2:30 pm

                    Registration details

                    Find more information by connecting with a UBC health professional, such as a counsellor, physician, mental health nurse, or a Wellness Advisor at Counselling Services.

                    Balancing Emotions Program

                    The overall goal of the Balancing Emotions Program is to learn skills to change unwanted behaviors, emotions, thinking, and events that may cause your life to be difficult.

                    Structured as an interactive class, the program consists of two parts: an online group and regular individual check-ins with your health professional. The online group is based on Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), which was developed to offer concrete strategies to help people build a better life.

                    The four main areas of focus are:

                    • Distress tolerance
                    • Emotion regulation
                    • Mindfulness
                    • Interpersonal effectiveness

                    To participate, you must be currently living in British Columbia and have access to a private and quiet space with a stable Internet connection that can support Zoom.

                    Facilitators

                    • Jacky Grüter-Andrew, MA, RCC, Clinical Counsellor, Counselling Services
                    • Davey Hamada, RN, Mental Health Nurse, Student Health Services
                    • Christine Yu, Pre-doctoral Intern, Counselling Services

                    Group session details

                    This group will be offered again in Fall 2022. Counselling Services is currently accepting referrals. The group is likely to be held on Mondays, at approximately 12:00 or 12:30 pm. 

                    Registration details

                    Find more information by connecting with a UBC health professional, such as a counsellor, physician, mental health nurse, or a Wellness Advisor at Counselling Services.

                    Safety and Resilience Online Group

                    This group is for survivors of interpersonal violence of all genders to support each other while also exploring various topics such as safe coping strategies and skills, boundaries, and inviting resilience and self-compassion.

                    To participate, you must be living in Canada and have access to a private and quiet space with a stable internet connection that can support Zoom. 

                    Facilitators

                    • Leslie Chesick, MA, RCC, Clinical Counsellor, Counselling Services
                    • Jezz Stone, Pre-doctoral Intern, Counselling Services

                    Group session details

                    This group will be offered again in Fall 2022. Counselling Services is currently accepting referrals. The group is likely to be held on Wednesdays, from approximately 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm via Zoom.

                    Registration details

                    Find more information by connecting with a UBC health professional, such as a counsellor, physician, mental health nurse, or a Wellness Advisor at Counselling Services.

                    Vulvas, Vibrators, Sexual Pleasure, Oh My!​​​

                    Cisgender women’s bodies are everywhere and nowhere at the same time; they are hyper-visible through the sexualized imagery we see every day, yet censored through stigma that creates misinformation and limits opportunities to talk about sex.  As a result, many cis women experience challenges in the sexual domain of their lives and have few avenues to access support and accurate information to address these areas of concern. 

                    In this group, we aim to provide a safe and sex-positive space in which cisgender women can ask questions and learn information to help them address any challenges they are facing relating to sex and sexuality. Our goal is to empower attendees through knowledge about sex, sexuality, and offer information about how to increase sexual satisfaction/pleasure and autonomy.  We will replace the many myths and attend to the confusion and judgment that so often surrounds sexuality with scientific-fact based evidence and a model of acceptance. 

                    Topics may include:

                    • Building sexual-esteem
                    • Replacing common sexual myths with science-based facts
                    • Developing an understanding and acceptance of sexuality, sexual responsivity, sexual preferences, and body or genital image in cisgender women
                    • Learning tools and techniques for eliciting greater sexual pleasure and satisfaction
                    • Understanding why the “orgasm gap” exists for cis women and what to do about it
                    • Communicating your wants, needs, and preferences in the bedroom

                    To participate, you must be a student who identifies as a cis woman, currently live in British Columbia, and have access to a private and quiet space with a stable Internet connection that can support Zoom.

                    Facilitators

                    • Brenda Lee, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist, Counselling Services
                    • Leslie Chesick, RCC, Clinical Counsellor, Counselling Services

                    Group session details​​​​

                    • Schedule: Tuesdays from October 18 to November 8
                    • Time: 11:30 to 12:30 pm

                    Registration details

                    Find more information by connecting with a UBC health professional, such as a counsellor, physician, mental health nurse, or a Wellness Advisor at Counselling Services.

                    Other UBC support groups and meetings

                    There are a variety of groups and meetings on campus which offer a sense of community and support for mental health and wellness related concerns.

                    • Kaleidoscope
                      The Kaleidoscope offers weekly peer led support groups for undergraduate and graduate students living with the experience of mental health concerns.

                    • UBC Student Recovery Community (SRC)
                      For students who are in recovery, or curious to explore their relationship with alcohol, drugs, and/or addictive behaviours such as disordered eating, the SRC offers peer led support meetings.

                    • UBC Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC)
                      SASC Support & Advocacy staff facilitate peer support groups for prospective, current and recent UBC students of all genders who have experienced any form of sexualized violence, harassment and/or abuse.