Groups for stress and anxiety

We offer the following groups at different times throughout the year. See the individual group for more information.

Mindfulness Skills for Stress and Anxiety

Mindfulness Skills for Stress & Anxiety

Mindfulness has been scientifically shown to decrease the effects of stress and anxiety, and to increase mental focus and creativity and a sense of peace and well-being. This workshop is appropriate for students who are new to mindful approaches to stress and anxiety, as well as those who would like to revisit or reinforce their mindfulness skills.

Thursdays, 2:45 – 4:15 pm, October 3-31 
Facilitators: Dave O'Brien and Keara Rodd


Fridays, 1:30-3:00 pm, November 1-29
Facilitators: Emma Mason and Keara Rodd

*Students who are new to Counselling Services and are interested in this group should call Counselling Services and arrange a brief meeting with a counsellor prior to enrolling for the group. Students who are current Counselling Services clients can receive a referral from their counsellor.

Arriving and Thriving at UVic

Arriving and Thriving at UVic

This 2 hour workshop is for incoming/first-year students who may be experiencing symptoms of anxiety/stress due to questions they have about transitioning into university.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:  

  • How to orient yourself to campus and classes
  • How to organize and prioritize your time in this new setting
  • How to meet new people and get involved in other campus activities
  • How to balance your mental health and not go into overwhelm

Any and all questions will be addressed as needed.

Facilitator: June Saracuse


Monday, August 26, 10:00 am—12:00 pm

Wednesday, August 28, 1:30 pm—3:30 pm

Location: Counselling Services


Pre-registration is recommended but drop-in is available.


Feeling and Doing Better – Drop-In Workshop Series

Feeling and Doing Better – Drop-In Workshop Series

This drop-in workshop series will introduce you to practical information and skills for coping with anxiety symptoms, low mood (mild depression) and the thinking patterns that fuel them. They provide useful directions towards how we can best take care of ourselves. All three topics will be offered throughout most of the term; attend any one workshop session or all at your own pace. You do not need to register–you just need to be ready to take manageable steps in order to feel better.

Topics/skills offered on a rotating schedule. 

1. Get Grounded: Calm the mind and body with diaphragmatic breathing practice and simple ways to focus attention in the present moment.

2. Get Perspective: Raise awareness and recognition of common unhelpful thinking patterns that accompany low mood and anxiety, and how you can apply alternative, more helpful perspectives.

3. Get Momentum: Learn more about how to set goals and take action in a way that can begin to boost your mood, support self-care and help you tackle demands at university.


Tuesdays, 3:00-4:00 pm

September 17-December 3 (No session November 12)

Facilitator: Dave O'Brien

Location: Counselling Services, University Centre, room B270


Thursdays, 10:30-11:30 am

October 31-December 5

Facilitators: Jasmine Irani & Kandice Peterson

Location: Counselling Services, University Centre, room B270


Please note: If you are interested in attending a drop-in group session and you have never been to Counselling Services before, or have not been within the last year, please arrive 20 minutes prior to the start of the session to complete forms. Due to the duration and nature of the group, late arrivals will need to wait until the next session to attend.


Gaining Social Confidence

Gaining Social Confidence

We are social beings and the longing for connection with others is universal, yet the fear of socializing can be a hindrance in making social connections here at UVic.

In 11 sessions, we will heighten an awareness of yourself in relationship to self, others and within various situations. We will practice ways of speaking in social situations, sharing and interacting with others.

You will:

  • Gain awareness and learn to manage your anxiety or panic
  • Find your own level of comfort
  • Express your ideas or opinions
  • Meet new people
  • Learn to say no
  • Practice with participants to gain confidence

Wednesdays 10:30 am—12:00 pm

September 25—November 27 (no session November 13)

Facilitators: Wendy Lum, Jasmine Irani and Keara Rodd


Skills for Emotional Management

Skills for Emotional Management

Do you find that your emotions lead to unhealthy and destructive behaviours? Would you like to feel that you have more control over your academic and personal life?

Using strategies from Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, this group provides training to enhance your ability to be more present, tolerate intense feelings, and manage behaviour. Over eight weekly sessions, participants will learn how to cope more effectively with stressful situations, and will learn mindfulness practices and other skills to cope more successfully with the ups and downs of life. 

Thursdays 1:00 pm—2:30 pm

October 3—November 28 (No session November 14)

Facilitators: Susan Dempsey, Jasmine Irani and Sheahan Letondre



Reducing anxiety and panic attacks with CBT

Reducing Anxiety and Panic Attacks with CBT

Gain control over anxiety and panic attacks using evidence based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques. CBT techniques can be learned quickly and have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.

Tuesdays 1:00 pm—2:30 pm

October 15—November 26 (no session Nov. 12)

Facilitator: Roger John, Jill Tenning and Chelsey Whiteside

See what other groups are currently offered.