Intensive group programs

If you are dealing with concerns like depression, anxiety, or stress, your counsellor may recommend a group counselling program.

Available programs

Anxiety Management group

The Anxiety Management group uses both mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with an emphasis on developing the skill of being mindful.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an effective technique for working with anxiety, chronic illness, and various types of uncontrollable stress.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a highly effective treatment for various forms of anxiety. It focuses on teaching active coping strategies that target problematic types of thoughts and behaviours that are specific to anxiety.

Over six weekly sessions, participants explore how to shift their inner experiencing of their anxiety away from fear and avoidance toward acceptance, awareness, and positive change.

Focus of weekly sessions

  • Understanding and working with the physical effects of anxiety
  • The ‘What' skills and strategies to manage anxiety
  • The ‘How’ skills and strategies to manage anxiety
  • Strategies to managing anxiety pitfalls
  • Challenging anxiety using thoughts and actions
  • Understanding how lifestyle choices and perspective taking can help manage anxiety

These six weekly sessions cycle continuously throughout each term. After the initial six sessions participants can further strengthen new skills by continuing in the group as long as they like.

Mood Management group

Research has consistently shown that certain forms of psychotherapy can be highly effective in reducing or eliminating depressive symptoms.

The Mood Management counselling group program is based on the Changeways Model, which uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Research indicates that this form of therapy is equally or more effective than antidepressant medication for mild-to-moderate depression.

Over six weekly sessions, participants learn concrete coping skills that focus on changing problematic thinking patterns and behaviours that contribute to depression. The Mood Management group is structured and targeted toward rapid reduction of depressive symptoms in a group setting.

Focus of weekly sessions

  • Model for Change: The CBT model and effective goal setting
  • Lifestyle Choices: Interactions between stress, depression, and lifestyle
  • Changing Thinking Patterns: Recognizing unhelpful thinking patterns
  • Changing Unhelpful Beliefs: Overcoming negative, self-defeating thoughts
  • Strengthen Your Social Network: Re-activating your social life and building a support system
  • Opening up Possibilities:  Planning the road ahead and increasing choice

These six weekly sessions cycle continuously throughout each term. After the initial six sessions participants can further strengthen new skills by continuing in the group as long as they like.

Mindfulness Stress Management group

The Mindfulness Stress Management group is designed for students who are experiencing problems with one or more of the following:

  • Coping with negative emotions
  • Tolerating distress
  • Maintaining healthy relationships with others

The Mindfulness Stress Management Group uses Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, which incorporates a focus on acceptance, validation, and various forms of mindfulness to build a greater awareness of one’s own moment-to-moment thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. This can be especially therapeutic when struggling with stressful events over which you have little control (e.g., the end of a relationship, others’ problematic behaviours, delays or setbacks due to external circumstances, etc.). Dialectical Behaviour Therapy also incorporates traditional Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) strategies for individuals who wish to learn healthier communication and interpersonal skills and develop more positive ways of behaving and thinking. This has become a widespread form of therapy for a variety of different issues due to its demonstrated effectiveness in research and clinical settings.

Over six weekly sessions, participants will learn how to cope more effectively with stressful situations in their lives using Dialectical Behaviour Therapy strategies.

Focus of weekly sessions

  • Mindful awareness: Tuning into the present moment
  • Acknowledging & coping with negative emotions
  • Mindful relaxation: Ways to tolerate distress
  • Positive coping thoughts: To use in times of stress
  • Communication skills: To de-stress your relationships
  • Building relationships: Using mindfulness

These six weekly sessions cycle continuously throughout each term. After the initial six sessions participants can further strengthen new skills by continuing in the group as long as they like.

Safety and Resilience Group

A Trauma Group for Survivors of Power-Based Inter-Personal Violence

This is an ongoing drop-in psychoeducational group for trauma survivors:

  • Who have experienced power-based inter-personal violence such as: sexualized assault, childhood sexualized abuse and/or physical abuse, intimate partner abuse, torture etc.
  • Where the abuse has resulted in traumatic stress.

The Safety and Resilience group will focus on increasing participants understanding of the effects of trauma, increasing safe coping in order to better focus and learn, and increasing connection to self and others.

Safety is the main focus of this group, based on the three stages of trauma recovery (Safety, Mourning, and Reconnection) proposed by Herman (1992).  The first step in healing from trauma is to establish internal and external safety in your life.  For example, beginning to establish internal safety might involve survivors challenging negative self-talk and shame based thoughts.  To establish external safety, survivors may practice setting physical and emotional boundaries with themselves and those around them.  This group will help survivors of power-based inter-personal violence establish internal and external safety. Examples of some of the topics covered in the group: 

  • Safe Coping Strategies and Skills
  • Understanding Trauma Symptoms and Using Grounding to Contain them
  • Challenging Shame and Inviting Resilience and Self Compassion
  • Boundary Setting in Creating Healthy Relationships
  • Healing from Anger
  • Discovering Meaning

This group runs almost continuously throughout each term.

For further reading please look at

Nourish Group

Cultivating a Healthy Relationship with Food

This is a psycho-educational group for people concerned about their eating behaviours:

  • Eating too much, feeling a loss of control around food, purging, thinking about food, and/or eating more than they want to, AND
  • Having difficulties with body shape, image, or appearance

 Participants will: 

  • Increase their understanding of factors that contribute to disordered eating & body image concerns 
  • Learn regular eating habits, emotional regulation skills & how to eat mindfully 
  • Discuss & practice skills aimed at cultivating a healthy relationship with food within a safe space. 

The group will meet weekly and is based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, both of which demonstrate effectiveness in helping individuals overcome eating struggles. CBT skills help to regulate eating and manage unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. Mindfulness helps with learning to be present, compassionate and accepting of oneself and facilitates new ways of interacting with one’s thoughts, feelings and sensations. 

Every week, time will be spent on reviewing eating patterns, regular eating and mindfulness practice. 

Additionally, a different topic and new strategies will be introduced each week, for example: 

  • Improving body image 
  • Mindful eating 
  • Emotion regulation 
  • Self-compassion 

Group sessions run weekly. We recommend that participants complete all sessions. Participants will need to meet with a Group Facilitator prior to joining the group.

What to expect from intensive group programs

All groups focus on teaching effective coping skills and provide opportunities for practice in sessions. Groups also provide guidance on how to apply new skills and insights to real life. 

  • Participate in a confidential and comfortable environment
    Groups range from 5 to 15 participants and each participant decides how much they feel comfortable sharing. All group participants are asked to maintain each others' confidentiality as a way of making group counselling a safe space for everyone.
  • Attend regularly and practice your skills
    It's important to attend group sessions regularly and to practice skills between sessions to maximize the chances of feeling better sooner.
  • Get the help that meets your needs
    Groups meet throughout each term and participants can continue to attend as long as needed. If additional assistance is required, it's easy to make a follow-up individual counselling appointment with your counsellor.
  • Follow-up with your counsellor
    You’re encouraged to make a follow-up individual appointment with your counsellor after completing your group program to look at your progress and determine next steps. These might include additional individual counselling within Counselling Services or referral to community resources.


Counselling Services

Counselling Services

Group counselling

Telephone: 604 822 3811

Fax: 604 822 4957

Brock Hall
1874 East Mall Room 1040
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Lower Mall Research Station
2259 Lower Mall Room 358
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4