Group Programming is offered through our counselling team to provide tools for your everyday

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 are free and available to undergraduate students. 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.

To access our programs:

• Visit for a consultation appointment weekdays 10:30am – 12:00pm & 1:30 – 3:30pm (MUSC B101)
• Email the facilitator
• Referral from your counsellor or health care provider at the Student Wellness Centre

Spring/Summer 2017

Managing Your Emotions

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 (May 5 – June 9)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

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
Mondays 1:30pm – 3:00pm (May 8 – June 12)

Yoga Nidra Meditation

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.
Registration not required – up to 12 spots available, first come, first serve. MUSC B118.
Kerri-Ann Fitzgerald (MSW, RSW) Yoga Nidra C.
fitzka@mcmaster.ca
Mondays 5:30pm – 6:45pm  (May 8, 15, 29)

Winter 2017

Hard-wiring Happiness

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

Challenging Eating Disorders: Semi-Structured Support and Treatment Group

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.

Contact: nifakis@mcmaster.ca
Mondays 6:oopm – 7:15pm (Starting February 6)

Yoga and Mindfulness

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, thought 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, and with flow or vinyasa sequences we focus on staying present throughout the movement and  offer us the opportunity to awaken. We will complete each session with a mindfulness/meditation practice with time for sharing and reflection.

Amy Krug (MSW, RSW, RYT-500) kruga1@mcmaster.ca

Kerri-Ann Fitzgerald (MSW, RSW)

Mondays 5:30 – 7:00pm

ACT on Anxiety

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 – 3:30pm

Who Am I

‘Who am I’ is an art based drop in group 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. Using an art based approach will help with quieting the noisy chatter that often gets in the way of awareness and will allow different aspects of self to surface.  This group is not appropriate for anyone experiencing psychotic symptoms or individuals with a DID diagnosis.  Open group – no referral required. Location: SWELL Wood Meeting Room (MUSC B118).

Art skills not required.

Carla Glanville (MA) glanvic@mcmaster.ca
Fridays 9:30am – 11:30am (starting September 23rd)

Women Connecting Support Group

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.

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

Building Healthy Relationships

Learn about the components of, and how to build healthy relationships in this psychoeducational group.  Explore adult attachment styles and love languages, and learn new strategies for engaging in conflict, how to heal and repair current relationships, and how to help to build future healthy connections. By referral or self-referral.

Amanda Youssef (MEd, RP, CCC) ayouss@mcmaster.ca
Thursdays 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Art and Emotions

Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. When words are not enough we can turn to images and symbols to help deal with some of the challenges that are present in day to day living. This group will provide a safe space to explore some of the challenges and road blocks that interfere with living a full and valued life. By referral.

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

Trauma Recovery Group

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.
Contact: Christine Jackiw (MA, MEd) jackiw@mcmaster.ca

Managing Your Emotions

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

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

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)

Practicing Positive Psychology

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.  By referral or self-referral.
Nathan Cooper (Psy. D., C. Psych.) ncooper@mcmaster.ca
Tuesdays 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Koru Mindfulness

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.

Nikki Carter (MSW)

Amanda Youssef (MEd, RP, CCC)

Contact: arriveandthrive@mcmaster.ca

Sessions (attend same time each week):

Wednesday 5:30 – 7:00pm and Thursdays 2:00 – 3:30pm

Koru Mindfulness 2.0

For undergraduate students who have already participated in Koru (1.0).  Koru 2.0 is the follow-up class that helps you to build on your existing mindfulness and meditation skills.  This is an experiential group that can help to take you further in your practice, continue to help you find tools to manage your stress, and provide a community within which to practice. The curriculum consists of mind-body skills, guided meditation exercises, and yoga. The final class is run as a half-day silent retreat.

Amanda Youssef (MEd, RP, CCC) ayouss@mcmaster.ca

Thursday 2:00 -3:30pm

Emotion Regulation Skills Group

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.

Amanda Youssef and Debra Earl

Wednesdays from 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Contact Kimberley: ergstudy@stjoes.ca

Managing Your Anxiety and Worry

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. By self-referral or referral.
Brigitte Szybbo (MACP) szybbob@mcmaster.ca
Thursdays 5:30 – 7:00pm

Exploring Change: Procrastination

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.
Cree Lambeck (B.Ed, MACP)

Contact: arriveandthrive@mcmaster.ca
Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:30pm

WIND (Walk in Nature Days)

Connect with nature and leave your worries behind as you unwind on the trail with others in a positive, mutually supportive environment. We meet on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm just inside the entrance of the Ivor Wynne Centre, for a one hour hike.  No experience, registration or special skills required. Bring a friend!
Cree Lambeck (B.Ed, MACP)

Contact: arriveandthrive@mcmaster.ca
Wednesdays 3:00 – 4:30pm

For additional group programs offered at McMaster visit:

Arrive and Thrive

Youth Wellness Centre