Tools for your everyday - Wellness Skills programs, counselling

Wellness Skills Programs

Group classes and education sessions are offered to help you develop skills to manage your mental health concerns. Our groups provide an opportunity to learn and practice effective coping skills in a confidential and comfortable environment.

The groups offered through our counselling services. You will be expected to fill out an intake form and attend sessions as indicated by the facilitator. Groups often have recommended readings or between sessions activities. Any questions can be directed to the facilitator. Repeat attendance is welcomed.

Access our programs through one of the following ways:

• Visit for a consultation appointment weekday mornings or afternoons (MUSC B101)
• Email the facilitator
• Referral from your counsellor or health care provider at the Student Wellness Centre

Fall 2017

Last Update of groups offered: September 11. 2017

Participants will learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy strategies to decrease the impact of anxious thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories on living a valued life. Referral required. Repeat attendance welcome.

Carla Glanville (MA) glanvic@mcmaster.ca
Kerri-Ann Fitzgerald (MSW, RSW) fitzka@mcmaster.ca
Tuesdays 1:30 – 3:00pm

Mindfulness meditation is about learning to pay attention to what is happening in the present moment.  The benefits of developing mindfulness include a reduction in stress and anxiety, improved concentration, and a clearer understanding of how one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors affect one another and contribute to both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. 
 
Igor Sukonnik, M.Ed.  sukonni@mcmaster.ca
Thursdays 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Yoga taps into the innate potential for healing that we all have. It mobilizes our ability to cultivate embodied wisdom and self-compassion, and by so doing it teaches us to live our life and face whatever arises with awareness, integrity, clarity and an open-hearted presence both on and off our mats.

The focus of this Mindful Hatha Yoga group is to tune into your breath, body, sensation, thoughts and emotions, and practice in a way that brings balance and harmony.  In our asana practice we will practice both slowly and quickly. With longer holds we have the space to explore, nourish and restore.  With flow or vinyasa sequences we focus on staying present throughout the movement.  We will complete each session with a mindfulness/meditation practice with time for sharing and reflection.

Kerri-Ann Fitzgerald (MSW, RSW, RYT-200) fitzka@mcmaster.ca

Mondays, September 25 – October 23 (5:30 – 6:45pm)

Mondays, October 30 – November 20 (5:30-6:45pm)

In a safe, supportive small group environment, participants will learn more helpful ways to cope with periods of intense emotional distress. The group will focus on understanding painful emotional experiences as well as developing concrete strategies to prevent, decrease or manage painful life experiences more skillfully. Referral is required.

Debbie Nifakis (Ed. D., C.Psych.) nifakis@mcmaster.ca
Tuesdays 4:30pm – 6:30pm
(Module 1– Emotion Regulation)
(Module 2– Distress Tolerance)

Participants will learn about the connection between worrying and generalized anxiety. Weekly experiential exercises will be used to challenge thoughts, manage worries, and provide a greater sense of calm to mind and body.

Leland Harrington (MSW, RSW) nifakis@mcmaster.ca
Thursdays 5:30 – 7:00pm

A basic introduction to Cognitive Therapy. Participants will practice specific methods to handle feelings more effectively. By referral or self-referral.

Nathan Cooper (Psy. D., C. Psych.) ncooper@mcmaster.ca
Fridays 1:30 – 3:30pm

Participants will learn how to increase their self esteem and create awareness of how they can feel good about themselves. Pre-group meeting with facilitator required.

Susan Ockrant (MSW) ockrants@mcmaster.ca
Mondays 2:30 – 4:30pm

Receive coping skills through group sessions. If you are experiencing emotional dysregulation, and problematic behaviours, this program will teach you skills to improve your coping ability. The program is 12 weeks duration, with start times every 4 weeks.

Debra Earl RN earld@mcmaster.ca

Wednesdays from 1:30pm to 3:30pm

For those interested in exploring how to utilize art to develop different strategies to cope with overwhelming emotions, this program might be suited for you. The group will allow the space to explore and learn, depending on what you’re hoping to get out of it – learn coping strategies, increase awareness around negative thinking, getting to know yourself better.. It may be helpful to think a little about what you would like to get out of this group before the first session. No art experience is needed!

Carla Glanville (MA) glanvic@mcmaster.ca
Mondays 2:30 – 4:30pm

The Trauma Recovery Group is an 8 week group therapy opportunity for female identified individuals who have experienced sexual violence, intimate partner/domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse.  The group will provide a safe supportive environment for those whose recovery process could benefit from connecting with others and supporting one another in decreasing the impact of trauma on day to day life.   A one on one pre-group meeting with the facilitating therapist is required to ensure that the group will be a good fit for each individual’s needs.

Christine Jackiw, M.Ed., M.A. jackiw@mcmaster.ca

Participants will learn about the brain’s bias towards negativity and cultivate strategies to transform fleeting pleasant and positive experiences into lasting changes in brain wiring. With the repeated practice of the skills learned in this workshop, the changes in our brain wiring will increase our capacity for contentment, calm and confidence, and decrease our experiences of overwhelm, disconnection and sadness.

Cassie Fischer (MEd, RP, CCC) fischc3@mcmaster.ca

Wednesdays 10:30am – 12:00pm

The Student Wellness Centre and Outdoor Recreation (a division of Athletics and Recreation) present WIND. With WIND, you can get outside and leave your worries
behind, by getting into nature with others in a positive, mutually supportive environment. No experience or skills required, just you and your hiking/walking shoes. Email us to let us know you are coming or just show up wellness@mcmaster.ca.
Wednesdays 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Meet at the SWELL (MUSC B118), we will leave from the SWELL at 3:30pm

The practice of yoga nidra meditation encourages deep relaxation on mental, emotional and physical levels.  In addition to being relaxing and restorative, this practice can also help to ease insomnia, decrease anxiety, alleviate stress, and heighten awareness and focus.  Drop-in sessions include a 50 minute guided meditation while participants lie down supported on yoga mats (mats are provided).  Opportunity for reflection of the practice is also provided.  Join a drop-in session to foster feelings of peace, calm and clarity.

Mondays, October 2, 23, November 6, 27 (1:30-2:30pm), MUSC B118

Group is offered on a first come, first serve basis up to 8 members. Please RSVP by emailing Kerri-Ann.

Kerri-Ann Fitzgerald (MSW,RSW, RYT- 200) fitzka@mcmaster.ca

This art-based drop in group is for individuals who are interested in expanding their understanding of self. The focus of this group is to learn and embrace parts of your personality that are outside of your awareness or just beginning to emerge into your awareness.  Open group – art skills not required. No registration required.

Carla Glanville (MA) glanvic@mcmaster.ca

Wednesdays 3:30 – 5:00pm (starting September 27)

Location: SWELL Wood Meeting Room

Stress less is a one hour drop in session designed to identify stressors, discuss stress physiology, review existing means of stress relief, and introduce a new method – progressive muscle relaxation.

Nathan Cooper (Psy. D., C. Psych.) ncooper@mcmaster.ca

Tuesday, Thursday Friday 3:30 – 4:30pm

Location: SWELL (MUSC B118)

Past Programs

Participants will learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy strategies to decrease the impact of anxious thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories on living a valued life. Referral required. Repeat attendance welcome.

The practice of yoga nidra meditation encourages deep relaxation on mental, emotional and physical levels.  In addition to being relaxing and restorative, this practice can also help to ease insomnia, decrease anxiety, alleviate stress, and heighten awareness and focus.  Drop-in sessions include a 50 minute guided meditation while participants lie down supported on yoga mats (mats are provided).  Opportunity for reflection of the practice is also provided.  Join a drop-in session to foster feelings of peace, calm and clarity.

Yoga taps into the innate potential for healing that we all have. It mobilizes our ability to cultivate embodied wisdom and self-compassion, and by so doing it teaches us to live our life and face whatever arises with awareness, integrity, clarity and an open-hearted presence both on and off our mats.

The focus of this Mindful Hatha Yoga group is to tune into your breath, body, sensation, thoughts and emotions, and practice in a way that brings balance and harmony.  In our asana practice we will practice both slowly and quickly. With longer holds we have the space to explore, nourish and restore.  With flow or vinyasa sequences we focus on staying present throughout the movement.  We will complete each session with a mindfulness/meditation practice with time for sharing and reflection.

In a safe, supportive small group environment, participants will learn more helpful ways to cope with periods of intense emotional distress. The group will focus on understanding painful emotional experiences as well as developing concrete strategies to prevent, decrease or manage painful life experiences more skillfully. Referral is required.
(Module 1– Emotion Regulation)
(Module 2– Distress Tolerance)

A basic introduction to Cognitive Therapy. Participants will practice specific methods to handle feelings more effectively.

Receive coping skills through group sessions. If you are experiencing emotional dysregulation, and problematic behaviours, this program will teach you skills to improve your coping ability. The program is 12 weeks duration, with start times every 4 weeks.

Participants will learn about the connection between worrying and generalized anxiety.  Weekly experiential exercises will be used to challenge thoughts, manage worries, and provide a greater sense of calm to mind and body.

Participants will learn about the connection between worrying and generalized anxiety.  Weekly experiential exercises will be used to challenge thoughts, manage worries, and provide a greater sense of calm to mind and body.

Designed to provide practical strategies to generate positive emotion, meaning, and engagement.  The strategies are effective in improving mood and sense of personal well-being.

Participants will learn how to increase their self esteem and create awareness of how they can feel good about themselves. By referral or self-referral. Screening interview required.

This group will be a 5-week pilot project facilitated by Carly Crawford, Registered Psychotherapist (Find Your Voice Counselling www.carlycrawfordfyvc.com). In this group students will begin to explore how their Eating Disorder is impacted by the University Experience. Topics such as mindfulness, coping skills, what does treatment look like? And body image will be introduced in the 5 weeks. Students will be encouraged to share and support one another in a safe and confidential setting. By referral or self-referral.

Participants will learn about the brain’s bias towards negativity and cultivate strategies to transform fleeting pleasant and positive experiences into lasting changes in brain wiring. With the repeated practice of the skills learned in this workshop, the changes in our brain wiring will increase our capacity for contentment, calm and confidence, and decrease our experiences of overwhelm, disconnection and sadness.

The Trauma Recovery Group is an 8 week group therapy opportunity for female identified individuals who have experienced sexual violence, intimate partner/domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse.  The group will provide a safe supportive environment for those whose recovery process could benefit from connecting with others and supporting one another in decreasing the impact of trauma on day to day life.   A one on one pre-group meeting with the facilitating therapist is required to ensure that the group will be a good fit for each individual’s needs.

An evidence-based 4-week program, specifically designed for teaching mindfulness, meditation and stress management to university students and young adults.  The curriculum consists of mind-body skills, guided meditations and more, aimed at helping you open your mind and manage your stress.

Are you going through a period of change or transition? Using a variety of activities and a judgement-free approach, this 4-week group will help you figure out if you’re ready and how to make a change in your life.

For those interested in exploring how to utilize art to develop different strategies to cope with overwhelming emotions, this program might be suited for you. The group will allow the space to explore and learn, depending on what you’re hoping to get out of it – learn coping strategies, increase awareness around negative thinking, getting to know yourself better.. It may be helpful to think a little about what you would like to get out of this group before the first session. No art experience is needed!

For additional wellness programs offered at the Student Wellness Centre visit:

Wellness Education Workshops & Training