Past Counselling Groups & Workshops

Please note registration for these groups are closed.

 

QTBIPOC WELLNESS SERIES: Trans Day of Remembrance & Resilience

Facilitator: Sofia Pelaez (she/her), MSW, RSW and Berkha Gupta (they / them)

Where: Zoom, links to be sent the morning of the workshop

The HCC is pleased to present a workshop for QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous People of Colour) students that will provide a virtual space focused on building community through conversations and shared experiences. Everything will be by invitation, so you are welcome to attend and just listen or participate as you feel comfortable.  Please join our special guest facilitator & UTM Alumni, Berkha Gupta, and HCC Counsellor, Sofia Pelaez,  in finding ways to prioritize healing, joy, and community.

A little about our guest facilitator, Berkha Gupta:

Berkha (they/them) is a transmasculine queer South Asian that has spent most of their life building or increasing services/programs for 2SLGBTQ+ people, especially youth and people of colour. They live in Mississauga, are a UTM alum and have a deep commitment to building community and spaces in the suburbs; they are one of the co-founders of QTBIPOCSauga and were recently the Executive Director of LGBT YouthLine, a youth-led organization that provides peer support and leadership opportunities to 2SLGBTQ+ youth across Ontario. In the last few years, Berkha has continued to shift their focus away from just building and organizing (i.e. doing things) to finding ways to prioritizing healing, joy, and community (i.e. being present) in all of their spaces.

Mindfulness Introduction: What is it and why is it so popular? 

Facilitator: Vi Phan (she/her), MSW, RSW 

Mindfulness helps us to live more presently, but what exactly does that look like and how might this be beneficial to you? If you’re curious to learn more about mindfulness join us for this 1.5-hour introduction workshop where you’ll learn about the various ways mindfulness is used to increase one’s ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, increase focus and improve a person’s overall physical and mental health. Join us as we explore how to feel more engaged and connected to the world by simply adding some mindful presence to our lives.   

Doing what Matters: Living a Value driven life  

Facilitator: Denise Alton (she/her), MSW, RSW 

Have you ever felt a little unsure about where your life is heading? Or maybe you’re feeling a bit tired and unsatisfied by everything going on in your life? If this sounds familiar, this is designed for you. In this workshop, we will begin by learning about what values are and how they can help guide us. Most importantly, you will get an opportunity to reflect on what values matter the most to you so that you can start developing a plan to turn your values into actions. This workshop will involve lots of time for self-reflection and will give you a chance to start thinking about what a meaningful life is for you!  

BIPOC / QTBIPOC Wellness Series: Exploring Difficult Emotions 

Facilitator: Faiza Khokar (she/her), MSW, RSW 

As racialized individuals navigating the world, we often experience complex emotions such as guilt, shame, anger and grief.  Join us for this session where, together, we’ll learn ways to process these emotions.  

Radical Self-Care 

Facilitator: Vi Phan (she/her), MSW, RSW

Taking time to care for ourselves in a world that demands we prioritize other tasks and people first is a radical act. In the context of our ever-busy lives, self-care often gets framed as 'selfish' or 'indulgent', leaving many feeling conflicted and unmotivated to engage. Together in the group, we will support one another in exploring this systemic challenge, as well as learn strategies to take back control over protecting and meeting our human need for rejuvenation and self-preservation. 

Please note that group members will be asked to provide facilitators with a contact phone number, emergency contact and current Ontario address prior to the start of each group session. 

Building Resilience: Understanding Stress and Building Skills to Cope

Facilitator: Amar Ghelani, MSW, RSW

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).

Mental Health 101 and Self-care for Discrimination 

Facilitator: Vi Phan (she/her), MSW, RSW

We’ll jump start the series this month by exploring mental health basics and address any myths or stigmas related to mental health in different communities and backgrounds. Together we’ll also develop self-care practices for when we are treated differently. 

Attention & Focus: Creating a personalized plan for the future 

Facilitator: Sofia Pelaez (she/her), MSW, RSW

Having difficulty with staying focused and being attentive? You are not alone! It can be very stressful to do your school work when you are struggling to concentrate. This is a common issue for a lot of students, particularly for students with ADHD or concerned about having ADHD. In this workshop, we will learn practical strategies to help you increase your concentration.   First, we will use a self-assessment to increase our awareness of the current barriers to optimal concentration.  We will then move on to creating our own specific and achievable personalized plan for moving forward with success. 

Social Media Wellness: Tips for Managing your Online Life

Facilitator: Katrina Levasseur Nedamat (she/her), MSW, RSW

Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media when you are supposed to be studying? Or have you ever looked up from your phone only to realize 3 hours have past without you noticing? If you answered yes to these questions than this workshop is for you!

In this 1.5-hour workshop, we discuss the impact of technology use on our well-being and develop strategies to build a healthy and balanced relationship with the technology in our lives.

Mindfulness Introduction: What is it and why is it so popular?

Facilitator: Vi Phan (she/her), MSW, RSW

Mindfulness helps us to live our lives in the present moment, but what exactly does that look like and how might this be beneficial to you? If you’re curious to learn more about mindfulness join us for this 1.5-hour introduction workshop where you’ll learn about the various ways mindfulness is used to increase one’s ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, increase focus and improve a person’s overall physical and mental health. Join us as we explore how to feel more engaged and connected to the world by simply adding some mindful presence to our lives.  

Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) Focus Group

Facilitator: Vi Phan, MSW, RSW (she/her)

Do you self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) student?  Are you interested in providing feedback on the programming offered by the Health and   Counselling Centre (HCC)?  We want to hear from you!

The Health and Counselling Centre (HCC) is holding a BIPOC Focus Group, to be facilitated by a BIPOC counsellor and BIPOC work-study students. The goal of this group is to survey the BIPOC community to determine what programming the UTM BIPOC community would be most interested in attending in the 2022-2023 school year. Self-care swag bags will be given to all participants in the focus group.

Dealing with Hard Feelings

Facilitator: Helen Leung, MSW, RSW (she/her)

For many of us, experiencing certain emotions can be difficult and uncomfortable. Whether it be feeling anxious, sad or angry, it is natural to want to avoid feeling upset and to find ways to make these emotions go away. At times, we may our actions during these challenging times may hurt us in the long run. Emotions are a part of being human and we cannot avoid them. In this 4-week group, participants will learn more about the role of emotions in their lives, what happens when we can’t deal with our emotions, and learn skills drawn from mindfulness, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) to help them to manage emotional distress in a safe way. By the end of this group, participants will develop their own personal plan for dealing with feelings that challenge them the most!

Defeating Worry: Strategies to change your anxious thinking (Part One)  

Facilitator: Sofia Pelaez (she/her), MSW, RSW  

Does your mind seem to be focused on the future and worst-case scenarios? Is frequent worry interfering with your ability to enjoy life and focus on the present? If this is the case, this workshop is for you! In part one of this two part series, you will learn to identify the assumptions, beliefs and predictions (aka thoughts) that contribute to anxiety. You will also learn specific and practical strategies to reframe the thoughts that lead to feeling anxious and worried. Join us for information, tips and strategies for defeating the worry that causes anxiety!    

Defeating Worry: Strategies to reduce anxiety through action (Part Two)  

Facilitator: Sofia Pelaez (she/her), MSW, RSW  

In part two of this two-part series, we will discuss the behavioural aspects of worry and anxiety. This hour-long workshop explores the behaviors and unhelpful habits that reinforce and maintain worry and anxiety. You will learn how to change your responses to anxiety triggering situations as well as action-oriented activities you can do to feel less anxious and worried!  Attending Part One is not mandatory but it is strongly recommended.  

Celebrating our Pride!

Facilitator: Natalie Speirs (she/her), RN, BScN, MScN 

Inviting all LGBTQ2SA+ identifying students to a workshop centered on celebrating our pride at UTM.  In this interactive and inclusive workshop, we will learn a bit about the history of Pride, share useful resources and provide an opportunity for our community to discuss their intersectional lived experiences at UTM and beyond.  Come to learn, chat and connect with your peers as we Celebrate our Pride together!  This workshop will be facilitated by an LGBTQ2SA+ identified staff member from the HCC.

My mental health and social media: A how to guide to engage with social media while maintaining my mental health.

Facilitator: Katrina Levasseur Nedamat (she/her), MSW, RSW 

Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media when you are supposed to be studying? Or have you ever looked up from your phone only to realize 3 hours have past without you noticing? If you answered yes to these questions than this workshop is for you!

In this 1.5-hour workshop, we discuss the impact of technology use on our well-being and develop strategies to build a healthy and balanced relationship with the technology in our lives.

Doing what Matters: Living a Value driven life

Facilitator: Helen Leung (she/her), MSW, RSW

Have you ever felt a little unsure about where your life is heading? Or maybe you’re feeling a bit tired and unsatisfied by everything going on in your life? If this sounds familiar, this is designed for you. In this workshop, we will begin by learning about what values are and how they can help guide us. Most importantly, you will get an opportunity to reflect on what values matter the most to you so that you can start developing a plan to turn your values into actions. This workshop will involve lots of time for self-reflection and will give you a chance to start thinking about what a meaningful life is for you!

Building Self-Esteem: Learning how to Appreciate Yourself

Many of us struggle to build our self-esteem.  We may find that our feelings about ourselves are pulled up and down based on achievement or feedback from others.  In this group, we will learn straightforward ways to begin to build a stable positive sense of self and to appreciate our core worth as human beings.  Through this learning we can begin to be ok with ourselves regardless of external influences. 

Addressing the Impact of Trauma: Safety, Stability and Self-Care

Have you ever wondered if a past trauma may still be impacting you?

If yes, you may be interested in what this group offers. The primary focus of this group is to develop participants’ understanding of their trauma and build coping skills. Participants will not be asked to share details of their trauma history. Instead, the group will explore how trauma may impact a person and how to reduce shame or isolation and build self-compassion. Participants will also learn and develop skills to increase capacity to self-regulate emotions, manage intrusive thoughts and triggers, and establish safety within oneself and in relationships. This group uses a Trauma Information Group model (TIG), which is a brief group therapy format designed to meet the goals of safety, stability, and self-care among participants.

No previous experience in therapy is required. Accessing individual therapy is not a prerequisite for this group but it is recommended if a participant feels that they require additional support or would like to complement the work taking place in the group sessions.

Self-Compassion: Bringing Kindness to your Struggles

Facilitator: Helen Leung (she/her), MSW, RSW

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.

Redefining Self-Care: An Intersectional Understanding of Self-Care and How to Care for Ourselves

Facilitator: Vi Phan (she/her), MSW, RSW

Self-care is a topic that you may have been hearing a lot about, especially during the pandemic.  Research suggests that practicing self-care leads to improved well-being but you may not know how to begin or if your current efforts toward self-care are enough.  In this 1 hour long workshop, we will explore the many different definitions of self-care and the ways that we can put this into practice in our day to day lives.  Moving beyond stereotypical self-care activities, we will use an intersectional lens to work toward determining the best self-care practices to address our own unique needs to put together a plan of action that works for you!

Support Session for Asian Students

The UTM Health and Counselling Centre (HCC) in collaboration with the UTM Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office (EDIO) and the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre (SVPSC) will be hosting a wellness support session for Asian identifying students. The aim of this session is to discuss anti-Asian racism and its impact on the sense of belonging and well-being of Asian students. We will also explore ways to process and build individual and collective resilience in response to anti-Asian racism. The session will be facilitated by HCC counsellors, Helen Leung and Vi Phan, alongside Paula Lam, Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Coordinator. All three Asian identified facilitators share a passion for providing culturally affirmative support and enhancing the wellness of university students.  

Mindful Self-Compassion: Learning to treat yourself as you would treat a friend

Facilitator: Denise Alton, MSW, RSW

Have you ever noticed your inner voice?  At times, we may notice that our inner voice treats us more like an enemy than a friend with harsh criticism and unhelpful self-talk.  Based on the writing and research of Dr. Kristin Neff, this group teaches us how to use mindfulness to take a different approach to the way we respond to our emotions and thoughts.  We can begin to accept our experiences and ourselves just as we are.  Together, we will move toward the golden rule of self-compassion: to treat ourselves as we would treat a friend.  This 5-week group aims to teach participants how to show themselves compassion, kindness and soothing and to understand that we are not alone when we struggle.

Doing what Matters: Living a Value driven life

Facilitator: Helen Leung (she/her), MSW, RSW

Have you ever felt a little unsure about where your life is heading? Or maybe you’re feeling a bit tired and unsatisfied by everything going on in your life? If this sounds familiar, this is designed for you. In this workshop, we will begin by learning about what values are and how they can help guide us. Most importantly, you will get an opportunity to reflect on what values matter the most to you so that you can start developing a plan to turn your values into actions. This workshop will involve lots of time for self-reflection and will give you a chance to start thinking about what a meaningful life is for you!

Attention & Focus: Creating a personalized plan for the future

Facilitator: Sofia Pelaez (she/her), MSW, RSW

Having difficulty with staying focused and being attentive? You are not alone! It can be very stressful to do your school work when you are struggling to concentrate. This is a common issue for a lot of students, particularly for students with ADHD or concerned about having ADHD. In this workshop, we will learn practical strategies to help you increase your concentration.   First, we will use a self-assessment to increase our awareness of the current barriers to optimal concentration.  We will then move on to creating our own specific and achievable personalized plan for moving forward with success.

Digital Well-Being: Building Habits for a Healthy Relationship with Technology

Facilitator: Katrina Levasseur Nedamat (she/her), MSW, RSW

If you have ever stayed up too late on social media or found yourself scrolling through your phone when you meant to be studying, this workshop is for you. In this 1.5-hour workshop, we will be discussing the impact of technology use on our well-being by assessing our digital diets and learning strategies to build the relationship that we genuinely want with the technology in our lives.

Returning to In-Person Learning: Coping with the Even Newer Normal

Facilitator: Lauren Drouchard (she/her), MSW, RSW

Change is hard for us all. Over the past two years, we have been forced to adapt to constant changes in our routine; moving from in-person to remote learning, and now back again to in-person learning. This change in routine can cause feelings of stress and anxiety for many. In this workshop, we'll talk together about any hard feelings we have around the return to campus, as well as how to manage and cope with these feelings using CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) strategies, taking back control, boundary setting, connection to our values and strengths, and more.

Avoiding Procrastination

Facilitator: Helen Leung (she/her), MSW, RSW

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...register today!

Radical Self-Care

Facilitator: Denise Alton, MSW,RSW

Taking time to care for ourselves in a world that demands we prioritize other tasks and people first is a radical act. In the context of our ever-busy lives, self-care often gets framed as 'selfish' or 'indulgent', leaving many feeling conflicted and unmotivated to engage. Together in the group, we will support one another in exploring this systemic challenge, as well as learn strategies to take back control over protecting and meeting our human need for rejuvenation and self-preservation.

Please note that group members will be asked to provide facilitators with a contact phone number, emergency contact and current Ontario address prior to the start of each group session.

Building Resilience: Understanding Stress and Building Skills to Cope

Facilitator: Amar Ghelani, MSW, RSW

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).

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome  

Facilitator: Vi Phan, MSW, RSW

Do you question whether you are cut out for university? Have you ever felt that your achievements are just luck? You are not alone! Like many others, the self-doubt that you experience may be imposter syndrome. The term imposter syndrome was first coined in the 1970s by psychologists Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance, and they described it as a phenomenon that occurs amongst high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their own personal success.  

In this workshop, we’ll explore imposter syndrome from an intersectional lens. Together, we will consider how this common phenomenon may be more prevalent amongst certain groups and identities.  Race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, citizenship status are just a few examples of how systemic and social barriers related to identity can amplify imposter syndrome and get in the way of your success and confidence. Join us as we work to increase our self-awareness of imposter syndrome and its impact along with identifying strategies to overcome it! 

Journaling for Self-Esteem

Facilitator: Denise Alton, MSW, RSW

Self Esteem refers to our subjective idea of how valuable and worthy we are.  Simply put, it relates to how much we are able to appreciate and like ourselves.  It impacts our values, our behaviour and especially our thoughts and feelings.  Many people struggle with developing a healthy sense of self-esteem and there are many ways to work toward improving it on your journey to self-love.  In this workshop, we learn about using personal journaling as a way to build self-esteem.  We’ll talk about why this works and how to do it.  Bring something to write with and plenty of paper as we will also be taking time to use writing prompts to practice!

Surviving a Break-Up

Facilitator: Katrina Levasseur-Nedamat, MSW, RSW (she/her)

There's no getting around it - breakups can be rough! They are also a normal part of life, so rest assured - you are not alone. We will come together in this workshop to create a supportive space to learn new skills for best-taking care of ourselves and our mental health during a breakup.

Redefining Self-Care: An Intersectional Understanding of Self-Care and How to Care for Ourselves

Facilitator: Vi Phan, MSW, RSW (she/her)

Self-care is a topic that you may have been hearing a lot about, especially during the pandemic.  Research suggests that practicing self-care leads to improved well-being but you may not know how to begin or if your current efforts toward self-care are enough.  In this 1 hour long workshop, we will explore the many different definitions of self-care and the ways that we can put this into practice in our day to day lives.  Moving beyond stereotypical self-care activities, we will use an intersectional lens to work toward determining the best self-care practices to address our own unique needs to put together a plan of action that works for you!

Building Assertive Communication Skills

Facilitator: Lauren Drouillard, MSW, RSW

In this workshop, we will destigmatize the gendered idea that asserting ourselves is something that is 'mean', and instead reframe this skill as a bold and direct way of owning and expressing our needs. We will support each other in discussing what can make being assertive hard, as well as learning new skills for assertive communication, which can help us in getting what we want while being respectful and respected.

Dealing with Academic Stress

Facilitator: Helen Leung, MSW, RSW

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!

Redefining Self-Care: An intersectional understanding of self-care & how to care for ourselves.

Facilitator: Vi Phan, MSW, RSW

Self-care is a topic that you may have been hearing a lot about, especially during the pandemic.  Research suggests that practicing self-care leads to improved well-being but you may not know how to begin or if your current efforts toward self-care are enough.  In this 1.5-hour long workshop, we will explore the many different definitions of self-care and the ways that we can put this into practice in our day to day lives.  Moving beyond stereotypical self-care activities, we will use an intersectional lens to work toward determining the best self-care practices to address our own unique needs to put together a plan of action that works for you!

Lifting your Mood

Facilitator: Helen Leung, MSW, RSW

Do you often find yourself feeling down or sad? Or perhaps struggle with having enough motivation or energy to do the things you want or need to do? This 1-hour workshop is for anyone who has concerns with low mood and what’s sometimes referred to as depression. Together, we will learn more about depression, how it affects us, and practical changes we can make to improve our mood. 

Try Self-Compassion

Facilitator: Shawnette Thompson, MSW, RSW

Are you your own worst critic? This 1-hour virtual workshop will invite us to become more curious about the contexts that create and reinforce self-criticism. With this understanding we will then explore the benefits of being less self-critical and more compassionate with ourselves. We will also explore the key features of self-compassion and explore ways in which we can begin to cultivate kindness and appreciation toward ourselves.

Building Social Connections

Facilitator: Lauren Drouillard, MSW, RSW

Let's connect and support each other in chatting about how isolating this pandemic can feel! With changes to our school structure, together we will share strategies for increasing our social connections, managing feelings of loneliness, and how to still prioritize some fun 🙂

Defeating Worry: Strategies to Reduce Anxiety (Part One)

Facilitator: Denise Alton, MSW, RSW

Our thoughts are powerful directors of our emotions.  Do you often find yourself making negative, scary predictions about what is to come?  Does your mind seem to be concerned about unlikely “what if” scenarios that rarely come true?  This workshop is for you!  From a cognitive perspective, our thoughts and the way we respond to these thoughts are responsible for the creation of anxious feelings.  Join us for the first part of this two-part series on managing worry.  This workshop explores how to begin changing your relationship with anxiety provoking thinking!

Defeating Worry: Strategies to Reduce Anxiety (Part Two)

Facilitator: Denise Alton, MSW, RSW

In part two of this two-part series, we check in on our thoughts and discuss the behavioural aspects of worry and anxiety.  Join us in this hour-long workshop that explores the behaviours that reinforce and maintain worry and anxiety as well as action-oriented activities and challenges you can do to minimize the effects of excessive worry!  Attending Part One is not mandatory but it is strongly recommended before attending this workshop.

Managing Negative Body Image

Facilitator: Lauren Drouillard (she/her)

During this pandemic, we continue to face 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’ and getting a 'perfect summer body' as the seasons change. In this time that feels so high pressure, the temptation to control and change our bodies can creep in, causing negative body image.

Together in this one-hour virtual workshop, we will explore what body image is, factors that can negatively impact how we feel about our bodies and ourselves, as well as coping skills to help work against this.

Sleep Hygiene: Tips for getting a good night’s rest

Facilitator: Denise Alton (she/her), MSW, RSW

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.

Self-Compassion Workshop

Facilitator: Helen Leung (she/her), MSW, RSW

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.

Enhancing Your Well Being

Facilitator: Madeline Keogh, M.Ed., RP

In this one-hour session, we will be looking at stress; what the stressors are in our lives right now, how we experience stress and how we manage it. A model of activities for having optimal health of mind will be introduced and an opportunity to create a plan for optimizing one's own mind health will be provided.

Defeating Worry:  Thinking Strategies to Reduce Anxiety

Facilitator: Denise Alton, MSW,RSW

Our thoughts are powerful directors of our emotions.  Do you often find yourself making negative, scary predictions about what is to come?  Does your mind seem to be concerned about unlikely “what if” scenarios that rarely come true?  This workshop is for you!  From a cognitive perspective, our thoughts and the way we respond to these thoughts are responsible for the creation of anxious feelings.  Join us for the first part of this two-part series on managing worry.  This workshop explores how to begin changing your relationship with anxiety provoking thinking!

Body Image in 2021

Facilitators: Lauren Drouillard, MSW, RSW and Kimberley Green, Registered Dietitian

As we've entered into the New Year, there has been a lot of pressure to focus on and control our body shape and size through rigid diet and exercise routines. This is in addition to pressures we've seen throughout the pandemic, creating an increase of misinformation being shared online, encouraging unhealthy practices, and negatively impacting our mental health.
Please join the HCC's dietitian, Kimberly Green, and counsellor, Lauren Drouillard, for a workshop on "Body Image in 2021" where strategies to manage unhealthy body image thoughts and pressures, as well as how to nourish ourselves and move our bodies in compassionate and helpful ways will be discussed.

Combatting Negative Body Image during "Lockdown"

Facilitator: Helen Leung, MSW, RSW

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.

Peers Supporting Peers presents A Mental Health Roadmap

Facilitator: Upper Year UTM Mentors

This peer-led interactive workshop encourages the student to proactively identify 5 key stages along with their mental health roadmap:

1. What are the things that cause them to feel stressed?
2. How do those stressors impact how they feel and act?
3. How do they typically cope with stress?
4. How will they recognize when the stress they’re experiencing becomes unmanageable?
5. Who is part of their support network – when they need to ask for help, where would they go?

You will have a chance to meet 1:1 with upper-year UTM Mentors to get individualized support, strategies and help with goal setting if you choose.  Come to listen and learn or to meet with a mentor 1:1….the choice is yours!

All PSP programming is CCR approved!  Attend 2 out of the 4 PSP workshops listed and get a CCR credit.  Further details to be provided during the workshop.

Peers Supporting Peers presents Self-Management Drop-In

Facilitators: Upper Year UTM Mentors

Getting stressed out and overwhelmed by schoolwork?  Want some new strategies for managing exam time?  Noticing that you don’t have time for what you actually want to do?  Please join us for this peer-led workshop on learning to manage yourself and your responsibilities.  Come to get information and support from those in the same boat….fellow students!  You can come to just listen or get active by meeting with an upper-year Peer Mentor 1:1 to get individualized strategies and personal support.

All PSP programming is CCR approved!  Attend 2 out of the 4 PSP workshops listed and get a CCR credit.  Further details to be provided during the workshop.

Surviving a Break-up

Facilitator: Lauren Drouillard, MSW, RSW

There's no getting around it - breakups can be rough! They are also a natural part of dating that tons of people go through each day, so rest assured - you are not alone. We will come together in this workshop to create a supportive space to learn new skills for best-taking care of ourselves and our mental health during a breakup.

Peers Supporting Peers presents Creating a Wellness Log

Facilitator(s): Upper Year UTM Mentors

This peer-led interactive workshop introduces students to wellness strategies that they can integrate into their daily routine. Students are provided with tools to help them track their daily habits, recognize patterns of behaviours that may be impacting their overall wellbeing, and to set achievable wellness goals.   You will be provided with an opportunity to meet with an upper-year Peer Mentor for personalized support and strategy development.  Come to listen and learn or to meet 1:1 with a Mentor….the choice is yours!

All PSP programming is CCR approved!  Attend 2 out of the 4 PSP workshops listed and get a CCR credit.  Further details to be provided during the workshop.

Building Assertive Communication Skills: A workshop

Facilitator: Lauren Drouillard, MSW, RSW

In this workshop, we will destigmatize the gendered idea that asserting ourselves is something that is 'mean', and instead reframe this skill as a bold and direct way of owning and expressing our needs. We will support each other in discussing what can make being assertive hard, as well as learning new skills for assertive communication, which can help us in getting what we want while being respectful and respected.

Peers Supporting Peers presents Discovering your Wellness Drop-In

Facilitator: Upper Year UTM Mentors

Taking proactive steps to improve your wellness can be tough when you’re a busy student.   This peer-led workshop will introduce the topic of wellness and will lead you through a wellness assessment and make suggestions for activities that may improve your overall wellness.  Fellow students will also provide you with the chance to meet 1:1 with upper year student mentors to set individual goals, get personal support and to talk to someone who has walked a mile in your shoes.  Come to just listen or participate in the 1:1 sessions, the choice is yours!

All PSP programming is CCR approved!  Attend 2 out of the 4 PSP workshops listed and get a CCR credit.  Further details to be provided during the workshop.

Writing for Self-Care 

Facilitator: Madeline Keogh, M.Ed., RP, CCC

Writing is a simple practice that can tap our creativity and self-expression and offer another tool for caring for ourselves and our well-being. In this small group, the one-hour workshop we will work through short, fun exercises to learn more about ourselves and make space for expressing ourselves in the moment. A chance to share writing pieces will be provided for those who are interested.  

Prioritise This: Putting First Things First

Facilitator: Emily Reed

This workshop will centre around mindful writing exercises designed to help you pause and identify what really matters to you.  We'll put it into words, prioritise it, and translate it into action.

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...

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.