Past Counselling Groups

Please note registration for these groups is closed.

Career Anxiety (and what to do about it)

Facilitator: Denise Alton & Malou Twynam

Planning for your career can be a daunting and anxiety-provoking journey but there are ways to cope and thrive through the process!

In this workshop presented through a partnership between Career Services and HCC, we bust myths related to finding a career, help you set career goals in whatever stage you’re at, and recommend steps for managing thoughts that provoke anxiety.   Register now for this practical and informative workshop!

Dealing with Academic Stress

Facilitator: Denise Alton

Many students feel pressured to excel academically and this can start to seep into how we think and feel about ourselves and our future.  It's easy to become overwhelmed with the many academic demands we feel from our families, our peers, our classes and ultimately ourselves.  Any kind of long terms stress can have a negative influence on our mental and physical well being.  This workshop is designed to discuss how academic stress can impact our well being and provides strategies and exercises to move us toward becoming less stressed!

Struggling with Sleep Group

Facilitator: Emily Reed

This four-week group will provide students with psychoeducation about sleep and some of the barriers to getting a good night's rest.  The group will be based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-Insomnia principles and will support group members in understanding how their ways of thinking, as well as their behaviours, can interfere with a restful night.  Together, over four weeks, group members will be introduced to a number of techniques, including sleep logs to support the development of more restorative sleep.  In order for students to receive the maximum benefit from this group,  attendance to all four sessions and complete sleep-related homework assignments between sessions are required.  The group will also be introduced to and engage in the practice of yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep.  Research shows that yoga Nidra stimulates delta wave activity, the kind of brain waves that typically take place during deep stage three of REM sleep, which may be why some people find yoga Nidra to produce among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness.

Overcoming Shyness and Making New Friends

Facilitated by: Denise Alton, MSW, RSW

This five-session group is aimed at addressing the symptoms of social anxiety that contribute to shyness. We will first look at the 3 components of social anxiety and how to manage them through adopting different perspectives, relaxation to manage physical symptoms and finally challenging your fears. Next, we get down to the practical…how to start and maintain a conversation with someone new. This group will teach practical life skills that teach you how to manage anxious thoughts and allow to live the life you choose to live.

Dropping the Anchor & Surviving the Storm

Facilitator:  Tanya Galway

This 6 session group focuses on developing one’s ability to tolerate difficult situations and emotional pain when problems cannot be solved straight away. Two types of skills will be taught: 1) Crisis Survival Skills and 2) Reality Acceptance Skills. Crisis Survival Skills emphasize changing one’s experience of distress by distracting, self-soothing, improving the moment, considering the pros and cons of impulsive versus effective action, and tipping one’s body chemistry to rapidly reduce extreme arousal. These short-term strategies help one survive an emotional crisis without making it worse through impulsive action. The second set of skills, Reality Acceptance, helps one learn how to fully accept painful experiences that cannot be changed rather than avoiding or fighting them in a way that only increases suffering.

Interested participants are encouraged to speak to an HCC physician, nurse, or counsellor to learn more.

Selfie Love

Facilitator: Jenny Yuzon, MSW, RSW

This is a 4 session group aimed at improving our relationship with ourselves. We are great at supporting other people but are not always able to offer the same words of kindness towards ourselves, especially during tough times. We may at times get stuck in self-critical thoughts that can contribute to increased anxiety and lowered self-esteem. Many of us believe that we need to be hard on ourselves to achieve our goals and the paradox is, that this relationship shift towards viewing ourselves with compassion and acceptance can free our energy to create the life we want for ourselves. This group will teach ways to become more compassionate towards ourselves, with teachings grounded in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Building Resilience

Facilitator: Eva Vassallo, RN, BSc. N

This is a 4-part weekly workshop series that will be offered each month to UTM students.  This series offers an introduction to understanding stress; its benefits and challenges; the skills and supports needed to cope well in university and develop long-term resilience (the ability to bounce back from overwhelming forms of stress).

Sleep Better, Feel Better, Perform Better

Facilitator: Julian Raveendran, MSW, RSW

This skills-based workshop has been created for students who wake-up feeling exhausted, have trouble falling asleep, and/or have difficulty staying asleep.  the workshop content is based on Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), the most effective and safe first-line treatment for long-term sleep problems. Our goal is to sleep better at night and feel better during the day by changing thought patterns and improving sleep habits. 

Challenging Negative Thinking

Facilitators: Madeline Keogh, MEd, RP and Cristina Domingues, MSW, RSW

This 6 week group is open to students who are struggling with negative thinking and the impact it is having on their life, their expectations for their life, and their sense of themselves.  The group will help students to challenge unhealthy thinking patterns and develop more positive inner dialogues.

Surfing the Waves & Steering the Ship

Facilitator: Tanya Galway, Ph.D., C. Psych.

This six-session group focuses on teaching participants ways to reduce emotional vulnerability and reactivity and recover more quickly from extreme mood states. These skills involve labelling and understanding emotions, reducing vulnerability to acting from emotion mind, creating more positive emotions, preventing negative emotions, and lowering the intensity of negative emotions. 

Feeling stressed and tired? Try Yoga Nidra

Facilitator: Emily Reed

The reality of COVID makes many of us experience sleep disruption and more stress than usual. This hour-long workshop will offer an experience of deep relaxation through the practice of yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep.  During the workshop, you'll learn what this practice is all about.  You'll also be invited to try it out: lying still while I gently lead you on a spoken journey which includes setting an intention, deep physical relaxation, and visualization.  Research shows that participation in yoga Nidra stimulates delta wave activity, the kind of brain waves that typically take place during deep stage sleep, which may be why some people find yoga Nidra to produce among the deepest possible states of relaxation and restoration while still maintaining full consciousness.

Creating Structure in a Structure-less Time

Facilitator: Emily Reed

At the best of times, it can be challenging to accomplish everything we want to in a day. But throw in COVID-19 and feeling a bit disoriented is the new norm!  This is a hands-on workshop where you will learn a bit about theory based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that will convince you of the benefits of creating structure in your days...especially during this time when days start blending together!  You will join the virtual session with pen and paper in hand and when the hour is up, you'll have created your own custom-made plan that can increase your feelings of accomplishment and pleasure.

Combatting Negative Body Image during "Lockdown"

Facilitator: Lauren Drouillard (she/her)

During our current state of ‘lockdown’, we are facing a variety of stressors; including increased isolation, disruption of our regular daily routines heightened anxiety and continued uncertainty about the future. On top of this, we’re also managing comparison to peers and social media messaging around ‘the quarantine 15’. In this time that feels so out of our control, the temptation to control our bodies can creep in, causing negative body image.

Together in this one-hour virtual workshop, we will explore what body image is, why lockdown may be impacting it so negatively, as well as coping skills to help combat this.

Self Compassion Workshop

Facilitator: Madeline Keogh

Are you your own worst critic? Give yourself a break and stop being so hard on yourself! We all know that it is easier to say than to do. This 1-hour virtual workshop will introduce you to the benefits of being less self-critical and more compassionate to yourself. You will learn the key features of self-compassion and explore ways you can begin to cultivate kindness and appreciation toward yourself.

Sleep Hygiene: Tips for getting a good nights rest

Facilitator: Denise Alton

Sleep is essential to both our physical and emotional well being and is also greatly affected by the stress we feel in our everyday lives.  Social distancing can make everything feel out of order and may have changed the way we view and practice trying to get a good night's rest.  In this one hour workshop, we will learn the do's and don'ts of sleep hygiene and explore how the messages we send ourselves about sleep may be affecting the quality of sleep we get.  Whether we are in the midst of social distancing or living our everyday lives, sleep hygiene provides us with guidelines and practices to promote a healthy, restful night, increasing our chances of feeling well the next day.

Avoiding Procrastination

Facilitator: Denise Alton

Many students struggle with getting things done and it comes with an emotional and practical cost.  In this workshop, we move beyond seeing procrastination as laziness by exploring its emotional and behavioural roots and learning some strategies to overcome it. Don't put this off...