Groups

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 summer groups is now open. 

Summer months 2016 drop-in groups

The following groups will take place during the summer break 2016. 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. 

Mindfulness practice group

  • Mondays 6.30-7.30pm, starts 13 June, Room F.81, 1st 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. Regular attendance recommended.

Overcoming obstacles to study

  • Wednesdays 12.30-1.30pm, starts 15 June, except August 10, Room S.58, 2nd 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 motivation, procrastination, concentration, time management, delivering presentations, essay and project planning, revision and making the most of feedback.  Attendance at this group is eligible for credit towards the Bristol PLUS award.

For further information on study strategy.

Relaxation for health and wellbeing

  • Tuesdays 6.45-7.30pm, starts 14 June, Room F.81, 1st Floor, Hampton House. 

Learn and practice a variety of relaxation, mindfulness, meditation and visualisation techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety. Regular attendance recommended.

View a useful stress management video.

Bipolar UK support group

  • 3rd Thursday of every month 6.15-7.45pm, starts 16th June, Room S.58, 2nd Floor, Hampton House.

This is a supportive group where you can meet others affected by bipolar.

Summer 2016 bookable groups

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

Post-graduate peer support group

Tuesdays 5.00 – 6.00pm, 6 weeks (September 6, 13, 20, 27 & October 4, 11), Hampton House

This group offers a safe space for people to help each other talk through their experiences and challenges as post graduates. It will be co-facilitated by two counsellors working in the Student Counselling Service. Attendance is required at all 6 sessions. Pre-booking is essential.

Managing Anxiety with CBT

Wednesdays 4.30 – 6.00pm, 4 weeks (July 20, 27, August 3, 10), Room 1, 3rd Floor, Hampton House.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.  This group will introduce the role of relaxation, problem solving, thought challenging and behavioural change in managing and decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and it will show you how to change negative patterns to improve the way you feel. Attendance is required at all four sessions. Pre-booking is essential. 

Walk and Talk Group

Fridays 11.00am – 12.15pm, 6 weeks, starts 24 June

Meet new people in a low pressure environment, whilst also enjoying the benefits of getting outside and walking. This new initiative co-run by Timothy Dowling (local nature observer and experienced walk leader) and staff from the Student Counselling Service, is intended to help prevent isolation, increase motivation and maintain wellbeing for students in Bristol over the Summer months. Advanced booking essential. Please Phone 0117 954 6655 or email student-counselling@bristol.ac.uk

The walk will begin from the Retreat Café BS9 1FG. We will gather from 10.30 and set off at 11.00am, returning to the café for 12.15pm. We plan to walk whatever the weather, so please come dressed appropriately and with trainers or walking boots for comfort. 

Booking a place

Drop-in groups do not require booking but some 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 booking form, contact us by telephone or email on 0117 954 6655 or student-counselling@bristol.ac.uk. With the exception of 'Making Contact' and the Bi-polar UK group, all groups are run by the Student Counselling Service and most 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.

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 booking 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 our self-help drop-ins, 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.