Group sessions

Groups are led by a trained counsellor and offer you the opportunity to discuss and share your experience of an issue. You'll also benefit from the support of others who have experienced similar things.

How attending a group can help?

Joining a group of people who you haven’t met before may sound intimidating at first, but group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. In our experience of running groups we find group members are very often surprised by how rewarding the experience can be.

Groups can act as a support network and a sounding board. They can help you to realise you are not alone in your struggles, validate your experiences and reduce feelings of isolation. Groups bring diversity, and by seeing how other people tackle problems you can discover a whole range of strategies. On the flip side, providing support to others can build self-confidence and belief in your abilities to cope with your own problems. Regularly talking and listening to others also helps you put your own struggles into perspective.

We run two types of groups in the Student Counselling Service. 

Therapeutic groups

Therapeutic groups usually run for 6 weeks during term time. Most groups have a specific theme or focus.

Attending a therapeutic group

You need to register for support and request to join a therapeutic group.  Our allocations team will look at the information you have provided and make sure the group you have requested will meet your needs. We will send you the dates and times of the group and offer a one-off session with a counsellor to talk about the group to make sure the group will meet your needs. If you are receiving 1:1 counselling sessions you are not able to attend a therapeutic group at the same time.  If you are having our “One at a time” counselling sessions you can suspend them while you come to the group, and then resume.

You are welcome to attend one therapeutic group in an academic year.

If for any reason you are unable to attend session 1 of the group, please ring the service or email to let us know and confirm your attendance to session 2. Tel: 0117 394 0123, email: student-counselling@bristol.ac.uk. If you do not attend session 1 and do not inform us your space will be given to another student on our waiting list. 

Please come to the counselling service reception on the third floor of Hampton House for the start time of the group. The facilitator will come and meet you at reception and take you to the room. Please contact the service if you have access requirements which would make leaving the building by the stairs difficult for you in the event of a fire.

Therapeutic groups taking place in Summer 2019 with spaces (now open for booking)

Understanding ourselves for post-graduates

Tuesday 4:45 - 5:45 pm

7 weeks, starts 7 May, ends 25 June (except 28 May)

This small group offers a shared counselling space to talk with other post-graduates about life and concerns, and to learn from one another. Common themes include stress, depression, anxiety, academia, family, and relationships. Attendance is required at all sessions.

Managing anxiety with CBT

Wednesday 5:50 - 7:00 pm

6 weeks, starts 1 May, ends 12 June (except 29th May)

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 challenging negative thoughts in managing and decreasing the symptoms of anxiety. Attendance is required at all sessions.

Managing depression with CBT 

Wednesday 12:45 - 2:15pm

5 weeks, starts 1 May, ends 29 May

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you address 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.

 Register for support now

Additional support groups

Additional support groups usually run for 6 to 8 weeks during term time and the summer holidays. They are led by trained counsellors and aim to provide extra support, alongside 1:1 blocks of sessions, “one at a time” sessions and therapeutic groups.

Attending an additional support group

You need to register for support and request to join an additional support group. Our allocations team will then look at the information you have provided and make sure the group you have requested will meet your needs. You will then be contacted with the dates and times of the group.

You can attend an additional support group at any time, including if you are currently receiving 1:1 counselling or attending another group. 

You are welcome to attend as many additional group sessions as you like within one term, providing there is space.

Additional support groups taking place in Summer 2019 

It’s fine to start attending these groups at any point in the term. During the session you attend, you will be able to book again for the following week.

If for any reason you can't attend a booked session, please ring our service or email us to let us know. Tel. 0117 394 0123, email: student-counselling@bristol.ac.uk

Walk and talk group

Friday, 10.15 – 11:30 am

13 weeks, starts 3 May, ends 26 July (except 21 June)

Are you feeling stressed by the demands of University life, having trouble concentrating, or perhaps feeling low or a bit isolated? We invite you to join us for a guided walk on the Downs and feel the instant benefit of spending a little time outdoors. Students have found this group both enjoyable and effective in boosting energy and motivation.

This group is co-facilitated by Timothy Dowling, local nature observer and experienced walk leader, and staff from the Student Counselling Service (and accompanied by Tim’s dog Meg).

The walk begins from the Retreat Café BS9 1FG. We start at 10.15am and return to the café for 11.30am. Come dressed for the weather, and we suggest trainers or walking boots are a good idea. All students welcome.

Keeping study going when things get difficult

Wednesday 12:20 – 1:20 pm

7 weeks, starts 1 May, ends 12 June

When we experience difficulties (personal or academic) or we are suffering from low mood, it can be hard to keep our study going to the level we would like. We have problems with getting behind, concentration, energy, focus, planning and procrastination. This group will look at ways to boost our motivation and will concentrate especially on managing our focus and our time. It is for students of all levels from undergraduate to PhD. Students will leave each session with a plan for the next step to take.

Please come to the counselling service reception on the third floor of Hampton House for the start time of the group. The facilitator will come and meet you at reception and take you to the room. Please contact the service if you have access requirements which would make leaving the building by the stairs difficult for you in the event of a fire.

Mindfulness for stress and anxiety group

Thursday 4:00 – 5:00pm

5 weeks, starts 9 May, ends 13 June (except 30 May)

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

Please come to the counselling service reception on the third floor of Hampton House before the start time of the group. The facilitator will come and meet you at reception and take you to the room. Please contact the service if you have access requirements which would make leaving the building by the stairs difficult for you in the event of a fire.

Register for support now

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

Group session attendee

Tell us what you think

We are always keen to receive feedback so that we can improve the Student Counselling Service.

Other groups

You can also join groups offered by organisations outside the University:

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