The Counselling Service runs several groups to help support people.  

Working in groups offers an opportunity to discover both yourself and others and exploring issues within groups can provide valuable insights into our ways of thinking, behaving and relating. Sharing problems and finding out about how others experience their difficulties can encourage you to work with issues that may previously have seemed insurmountable. People often find that group members, as well as the counselling facilitators, are able to offer useful feedback and insight. This process of sharing problems allows members of the group to experience relating in a way which can be helpful in everyday settings.

Some of our groups operate on a drop-in basis and others will require advance booking. As demand can be high for our groups, students will only be able to book themselves onto one of our closed groups per term. Booking for the Autumn term 2017 is now open.

bookable groups (PDF, 108kB) and drop-in groups (PDF, 24kB) flyers for Autumn term.

Autumn term 2017 drop-in groups

The following groups will take place during the Autumn term 2017. They are drop-in groups‌ so advance booking is not required. They will all take place in Hampton house, so please come early to the floor listed for the group you wish to attend and the sign outside the lift will direct you to the correct room where the group is taking place. Most groups are facilitated by members of the Student Counselling Service team, others are presented by external facilitators with experience of a particular area. 

Bi-polar UK support group

  • Fridays 2.00 - 3.30pm, 5 weeks, starts 13 October, Room S.82, 2nd Floor, Hampton House.

This group will consist of focussed discussions on specific topics and then a peer support session where you will have an opportunity to talk to other peers affected by bipolar. Further information can be found Bipolar uk group flyer (PDF, 4,775kB)

Mindfulness practice group

  • Mondays 6.30 – 7.15pm, 13 weeks, starts 11 September, ends 4 December, Room S.58, 2nd Floor, Hampton House.

In this group you will have an opportunity to sample a variety of mindfulness skills and meditation practices. Mindfulness exercises can help centre the mind, manage stress and restore balance to our lives. This group is open to all students, newcomers and those who would like an opportunity to consolidate their mindfulness practice in a group setting. 

Mindful yoga for stress

  • Tuesdays 6.20 – 7.20pm, 10 weeks, starts 26 September, ends 12 December, (except 17 October & 24 October), Room S.58, 2nd Floor, Hampton House.

This group will introduce you to gentle movement and relaxation practices, so you can understand and manage stress better. No experience is necessary and everybody is welcome whatever your level of fitness or physical capacity. 

Settling into university group

  • Thursdays 3.45-4.45pm, 8 weeks, starts 5 October, ends 30 November, (Except 26 October), Room 1, 3rd Floor, Hampton House.

This group provides an opportunity for undergraduate students new to Bristol to meet up informally and share any issues of concern relating to settling into Uni. Connect with others in a supportive, confidential space facilitated by 2 counsellors.

Get to grips with your study strategy: overcoming emotional and mental blocks

  • Wednesdays 12.20 – 1.20pm, starts 13 September, ends 6 December, Room 1, 3rd Floor, Hampton House.

These practical motivational sessions will look at strategies for overcoming various psychological blocks to study. Tailored to what individual students bring, the focus could be on motivation, procrastination, concentration, or any other areas where help is needed. 

Autumn term 2017 bookable groups

Pre-booking is essential for the following groups‌ and this can be done using our online registration form. Attendance is required at all of the sessions. Booking for these groups is now open.

Self-esteem support group

  • Group 1: Mondays 1.00 – 2.00pm, 6 weeks, starts 30 October, ends 4 December. *This group is currently fully booked. You may wish to apply for another group or you could submit a form and be added to the waiting list for the group*
  • Group 2: Wednesdays 12.00 – 1.00pm, 6 weeks, starts 1 November, ends 6 December.

This group provides a safe, confidential space to explore our relationship to ourselves and how we might make changes in our lives. This can help us to grow in confidence, self-belief and self-worth, enabling us to feel more content, and fulfilled. 

Understanding ourselves

  • Group 1: Tuesdays 4.45 – 5.45pm, 6 weeks, starts 31 October, 2 May, ends 5 December.
  • Group 2: Wednesdays 2.30 – 3.30pm, 6 weeks, starts 1 November, ends 6 December.

This small group offers a shared counselling space to talk with others about life and concerns, and to learn from one another. Common themes include stress, depression, anxiety, academia, family, and relationships. A maximum of eight students can join. 

Mindfulness group

  • Group 1: Tuesdays 4.30 - 5.30pm, 6 weeks, starts 31 October, ends 5 December. *This group is currently fully booked. You may wish to apply for another group or you could submit a form and be added to the waiting list for the group*
  • Group 2: Thursdays 4.00-5.00pm, 6 weeks, starts 2 November, ends 7 December.

Mindfulness offers the possibility of a more compassionate, appreciative and spacious way of life. Come and learn through a structured 6 week group, how different meditation practices and gentle dialogue can help you to break habitual patterns and respond well to academic and personal challenges. 

Family relationships

  • Thursdays 3.45 – 5.00pm, 6 weeks, starts 2 November, ends 7 December. 

This group is for those who have struggled or are struggling with difficult family relationships. This could be around parent, sibling or general family dynamics. The group offers a space for people to share their experiences and to support each other, in trying to find a more hopeful way forward.  

Managing anxiety with CBT

*This group is currently fully booked. You may wish to apply for another group or you could submit a form and be added to the waiting list for the group*

  • Wednesdays 5.30pm - 6.45pm, 6 weeks, starts 1 November, ends 6 December.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you to address problems by changing the way you think and behave. This group will introduce the role of relaxation, tackling worry, problem solving and thought challenging in managing and decreasing the symptoms of anxiety.

Managing depression with CBT

*This group is currently fully booked. You may wish to apply for another group or you could submit a form and be added to the waiting list for the group*

  • Wednesdays 1.00 – 2.15pm, 6 weeks, starts 1 November, ends 6 December.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you address your problems by changing the way you think and behave. This group will support you in improving your mood by tackling negative thoughts and re-connecting with activities that give you enjoyment or a sense of achievement.

Mindfulness writing group

  • Wednesdays 3.45 – 5.00pm, 7 weeks, starts 25 October, ends 6 December.

This group experience offers guided mindfulness exercises within a creative and spontaneous writing adventure. It may become a refuge for those experiencing anxiety, writing blocks and stress. We hope to experience shared movement towards freedom, letting go and abilities to breathe through the moment.

Walk and talk group

  • Fridays, 10.30 – 11.30am, 12 weeks, starts 29 September, ends 15 December.

Would you like to experience the benefits of getting outside, walking, seeing nature in all its seasonal glory? This group, co-run by Timothy Dowling (local nature observer and experienced walk leader) and staff from the Student Counselling Service, aims to enhance your wellbeing, energy and motivation, and you’ll get a chance to meet new people. It has proved to be especially beneficial to students who struggle with social anxiety.

The walk will begin from the Retreat Café BS9 1FG. We will gather from 10.15am and set off at 10.30am, returning to the café for 11.30am. We plan to walk whatever the weather, so please come dressed appropriately and with trainers or walking boots for comfort. Advanced booking essential. Please Phone 0117 954 6655 or email

You may also be interested in a litter picking walk (PDF, 170kB) being run throughout November on Wednesdays on the downs.

Booking a place

Drop-in groups do not require booking but most of our groups (as stated above) require pre-booking. We are currently able to offer students a place on one bookable group per term. To reserve your place, please fill out our registration form.

All groups will take place at Hampton House, St Michael’s Hill. When you have booked a place on a group, you will be contacted to confirm the room where the group will take place. Please contact the service if you have access requirements which would make leaving the building by stairs difficult for you in the event of a fire.


To give us feedback about a group you have attended, please fill out the following online form.

Groups resources

Groups resources can be downloaded. We recommend double-side print to reduce the waste of paper. If you want us to print out for you, please let us know we can provide double-side hardcopies. 

FAQ's for groups

Am I eligible to attend groups?

Any student who is currently registered with the University of Bristol is eligible to attend one of our groups. You can attend a drop-in group alongside any other support you are accessing in the service and no pre-booking is required. If you would like to attend a bookable group then we would need to limit this to one group per term. We are also only able to offer you a bookable group OR face to face counselling and you will need to choose your preference on our registration form.

Can I only attend one session, or can I attend more than one?

For our drop-in groups you are able to attend as many of these sessions as you wish, provided there is space when you arrive. For bookable groups you are asked to make sure you can attend all of the sessions.

How do I sign up to drop-in groups?

You do not need to sign up beforehand, simply arrive 10 minutes early and take the stairs or the lift to the floor indicated for the relevant group (as detailed in each group on this page). When you get to the floor follow the signs for the group to the room. If you have any trouble finding the room, come to the service reception on the third floor and we will be happy to direct you to the room.

Do I need to bring anything to register for a drop-in group?

Please bring your student card (Ucard) with you so we can check that you are a registered student. You will also need to sign a register for the session.

What if too many people attend a drop-in group and there is no space?

We endeavour to welcome everyone who wishes to attend our groups but this may not always be possible. If you attend and the group has reached capacity we will not be able to let you into the session. If you are turned away from a drop-in group session you could try coming the following week as these run on a regular basis. If you feel in need of some input/support, you may wish to consider booking a Talk and Plan (TAP) session, or accessing our resource library in the main reception of the service. You can also always make contact with the service if you need any further support from us. 

What if I arrive late?

If you arrive any more than 5 minutes late then you will not be able to attend the group.

What if I have not previously registered with the Student Counselling Service?

If you have not previously registered with the service, we will send you a registration link to complete for our records after the session. You will only need to complete this once in the academic year if you are only attending drop-in groups or workshops. 

Ideas for future Groups

We welcome your ideas for future groups that could be run by the Student Counselling Service so if you have something in mind please tell your counsellor or contact us using our ideas form.

It is a safe place to vent feelings and do something positive about a bad period you may be going through that you wish to change.

Group helped by giving new ways of seeing things and was a creative outlet for both negative and positive feelings. It has helped me to stay in university and in my life as a whole.

It made me a lot more self-aware and helped me to understand my problems better.

Everyone I've come into contact with has been friendly, helpful and non-judgemental and this group especially has really helped me.