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 Tues, Jan 31, 2023 to Tue, Apr 11, 2023. There will be no meeting on Tues, Feb 21, 2023 due to reading break.
    • ​​​​​​Time: 2:00 to 3:30 pm

    List of sessions

    Date for first round

    Date for second round

    Session topic

    Tues, Jan 31

    Tues, Mar, 14

    My relationship with me

    Tues, Feb 7

    Tues, Mar 21

    Understanding how I am in relationships

    Tues, Feb 14

    Tues, Mar 28

    How to deepen and maintain our relationships

    Tues, Feb 28

    Tues, Apr 4

    Managing conflicts and fighting together

    Tues, Mar 7

    Tues, Apr 11

    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
      • Sharon Lee, MCP, CCC, Clinical Counsellor, Counselling Services
      • Nitka Niazi, Counselling Practicum Intern, Counselling Services

        Group session details

        • Schedule for Round 1: Mondays, including Feb 6, Feb 13, Feb 27, Mar 6
        • Schedule for Round 2: Mondays, including Mar 13, Mar 20, Mar 27, Apr 3 
        • Time: 10:00 am to 11:00 am

        Registration details

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

        Getting through Grad School with Grace & Grit: A Support Group for UBC Graduate Students

        Are you a graduate student feeling overwhelmed, stuck, isolated, lacking support, or feeling challenged in relationships or with balancing your work and life responsibilities? If so, consider joining Getting through Grad School with Grace & Grit, an online support group for graduate students.

        What to expect

        Graduate students face many unique challenges such as feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Maintaining a sense of community is important, so seize the opportunity to connect with others to share the ups and downs of grad school experiences. In this support group, you can expect the following:

        • Joining a small, welcoming, and non-judgmental community of graduate students coming together in solidarity, facilitated by Counselling Services staff
        • Learning to apply grace and grit to succeed in your challenges and fostering resiliency and self-agency
        • Practicing new coping strategies and skills
        • Connecting with useful resources

        Topics are generated by participants. Past topics have included motivation, managing relationships with mentors, handling uncertainty about career goals, feelings of being an imposter, procrastination, and perfectionism. These issues may be easier to talk about in a support group compared to in a small program, a competitive environment, or with supervisors.

        Types of sessions

        There 3 new types of session for 2022/23 Winter Term 2:

        1. Coffee Break: Bring your own coffee or tea and join us in this "open topic" support session.
        2. Staying on Track: Feeling stuck with your research or project? Join the group for accountability, support, and strategies.
        3. Skills and Strategies: This session is an opportunity to practice new skills and strategies for stress management and relaxation, regulating mood, or managing your thoughts.

        You may join the support group at any point during the term and your attendance can be flexible as needed. To participate, you must be in British Columbia and you must attend from a private and quiet space with a stable internet connection that can support Zoom.

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

        Facilitators

        • Karen Flood, PhD, Registered Psychologist, Counselling Services
        • Polly Cheng, PhD candidate, Predoctoral Intern, Counselling Services

          Group session details

          • Schedule: Tuesdays from Tues, Jan 24, 2023 to Tue, Mar 7, 2023. Check back for information about sessions taking place after Mar 7.
          • ​​​​​​Time: 3:00 to 4:15 pm

          List of sessions

          Date

          Session type

          Tues, Jan 24

          Coffee Break

          Tues, Jan 31

          Staying on Track

          Tues, Feb 7

          Coffee Break

          Tues, Feb 14

          Skills and Strategies

          Tues, Feb 21

          No session due to Reading Week

          Tues, Feb 28 Staying on Track
          Tues, Mar 7 Coffee Break

          Registration details

          Registration will close 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.

          (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 Feb 15 to Apr 5, except Feb 22, 2023
            • Time: 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm on Feb 15, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm for all other sessions

              Registration details

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

              Living Your Best Life with ADHD

              Do you have ADHD or do you think you might have ADHD? If so, this 6-week, skills-based support group may be what you are looking for. This is a non-clinical, non-diagnostic group for students who are struggling with executive functioning concerns. An ADHD diagnosis is not required to join this group.

              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.

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

              Facilitators

              • Hossein Eslami, RPsych, UBC Counselling Services
              • Davey Hamada, RN, UBC Student Health Services

              Group session details

              • Schedule: Tuesdays from February 7, 2023 to March 14, 2023
              • Time: 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm

               List of sessions

              Date Session topic
              Tues, Feb 7 What is your cognitive style: strengths and struggles
              Tues, Feb 14 How to sharpen memory and manage distractions
              Tues, Feb 21 How to cope with emotions and nurture self-compassion
              Tues, Feb 28 Planning, procrastination, and prioritization
              Tues, Mar 7 Getting unstuck: how to start and switch tasks
              Tues, Mar 14 Living your best life with ADHD

              Registration details

              Registration will close on the Monday 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 the online form.

              Anxiety: Is It Getting the Better of Me?

              This drop-in group was designed to help you learn strategies and skills to understand, accept, and manage a variety of anxiety-related concerns including panic, fears, obsessive worrying, test anxiety, and social anxiety.

              Topics and strategies are drawn from evidence-based theories such as Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

              For more severe concerns (i.e., self-harm, suicidal thoughts, disordered eating, substance use, and trauma), please contact your health professional or a Wellness Advisor at 604-822-3811 for referral options. We also recognize the unique individual needs of each student and will provide alternate options if group programming is not an appropriate referral option or fit.

              Group sessions are standalone and you are encouraged to attend as many sessions as you find helpful.

              To participate, you must reside 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

              • Hossein Eslami, R. Psych, UBC Counselling Services
              • Vanita Sabharwal, MSW, RSW, Counselling Services

              • Alysha Chan Kent, MSC, Pre-Doctoral Intern

              • Vanessa Peynenburg, MA, Pre-Doctoral Intern

              Group session details

              • Schedule: Tuesdays from January 24, 2023 to April 11, 2023
              • Time: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm (PST)

               List of sessions

              Date Session topic
              Tues, Jan 24 Panic and anxiety attacks 
              Tues, Jan 31 Excessive worry and rumination
              Tues, Feb 7 The impact of food, sleep, exercise, caffeine, and other substances on anxiety
              Tues, Feb 14 Negative self-talk
              Tues, Feb 21 Managing procrastination, avoidance, and perfectionism
              Tues, Feb 28 to Tues, Apr 11 Please check back for session topics.

              Registration details

              Registration will close on the Monday 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 the online form.

              For UBC Vancouver students

              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

              Group session details

              We anticipate this group will be offered again in Fall 2023. The group is likely to be held on Mondays, at approximately 12:00 pm or 12:30 pm. Counselling Services is currently accepting referrals.

              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.

              Global Connections

              Are you an international student at UBC and are feeling overwhelmed? If so, consider joining Global Connections, UBC's in-person international student support group. Meet other international students in a safe and relaxing space, connect and build a community of support on campus, and learn ways to navigate the unique challenges often experienced by international students.

              Group topics are generated by participants so that relevant themes may be addressed, topics will also be guided by group facilitators.

              Group 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. This group is open to any UBC Vancouver student. Since the group sessions will be held in person at UBC Counselling Services, students will need to be on campus in order to participate in the group.

              Facilitators

              • Jen-Mai Wong, Psy.D., Psychologist, Counselling Services
              • Nikta Niazi, Practicum Student, Counselling Services

              Group session details

              This group will be offered every other Wednesday, starting Wed, Feb 1, 2023, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm (PST).

              Dates: Feb 1, Feb 15, March 1, March 15, March 29, April 12, April 26

              Registration details

              Registration closes 60 minutes before the start time of the group session.

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

              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

              • Karen Flood, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist, Counselling Services
              • Brenda Lee, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist, Counselling Services

              Group session details​​​​

              • Schedule: Tuesdays from February 28 to March 21, 2023
              • Time: 11:30 am 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.