Counselling groups

Counselling groups

The Student Counselling Service runs a range of groups - some long-term, others brief and focused on a particular issue.

Why Groups?

Groups are a natural environment for students to talk about their lives and learn how to think about many of the difficulties that they experience. Time spent at university marks a period of significant transition and change for most students, no matter at what age they are undertaking their studies.  Such transitions are connected with every aspect of life - the situation left behind with families and 'home' - growing up and discovering who we are, in the process of doing so - dealing with new social situations and relationships - looking forward to the roles and responsibilities which may be waiting after graduation.

It is helpful to discover that you are not alone in experiencing difficulties, distress or confusion, to realise that others can understand you and help you to understand. Just as you can also be helpful to others, through speaking about your experience.

Current Groups

  • Long-Term Counselling Groups - Tuesday afternoons , Thursday mornings and Thursday afternoons
  • Group for Mature Students - Thursday mornings
  • Therapeutic Art Group - Monday afternoons
  • Working with your inner critic. Friday morning
  • The Bereavement Group - This group will run depending on demand

Student Bereavement Group

Loss can affect us, at any time in our lives but often individuals feel they must deal with it on their own.

The Student Counselling Service offers a group for students who are in this situation.

Here, people who are feeling the effects of loss can speak to one another about their situations and think about the complex process of coping, when someone close has died.

If you are in this situation, or know of someone who is, and think that this group might be helpful, please complete the online application here so we can discuss this with you.

Longer term open groups

These groups provide students with a stable place to meet, every week - a place where you can get to know yourself better and learn more about how others see you.

Once you join one of these groups, you are able to remain a member, if you choose, for as long as you are a student at City. Many students have found that the groups provide an invaluable opportunity to develop new insights.

Basic format of the groups

Up to eight students meet weekly, together with the group conductor, for the purpose of talking about what is on the minds of the group members. Over time, people leave and others arrive - the group continues from one year to the next. Some groups have been running for many years.

We aim to create a sense of stability and security. All members are asked to attend regularly and to maintain the confidentiality of the group. Everyone has an interest in this, because it helps to make the group a safe place to talk.

People are free to talk - or not to talk - about the things that concern them. Sometimes, of course, it is difficult to speak about important matters. At such times we may try to think about what gets in the way of communicating.

There is no fixed agenda or programme; the life of the group is created by its members.

Benefits of being in a group

  • Everyone can learn together - it's not a matter of getting the 'right' answer.
  • You can be helpful to others through talking about yourself.
  • You can become more sensitive and responsive to others.
  • Through listening to others, you can learn that you are not alone.
  • You can discover that other people are able to understand your experience.
  • The experiences of others and their ways of thinking about things, and coping, can give you support and inspiration.

Meeting times

Groups meet at the same time, each week, throughout term time, and sometimes during vacation. If you decide to join one, you will be expected to attend regularly.

Joining a group

If you think that you might be interested in joining one of these groups, contact us to make an appointment, so that you can come in and discuss it.

Short-term 10 week groups

Therapeutic Art Group

The therapeutic art group will be aimed at developing your creativity, self-expression and also relaxation.  The groups will be themed and facilitated by Fiona Yaron-Field, one of the student counsellors and an integrative arts therapist. No experience of art is necessary. This is not about learning to draw or producing beautiful works of art it is more concerned with expressing our feelings using art, relaxing and using the media in whatever way you may want.  Each week there will be a variety of art materials available depending on the theme of the session, this will include paint, pastels, oil pastels, collage materials and clay. We advise you to wear old clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting messy.

We aim to create a sense of stability and security. All members are asked to attend regularly and to maintain the confidentiality of the group. Everyone has an interest in this, because it helps to make the group a safe place to create and talk.
Benefits of being in an art group- which are numerous - here are a few!

  • Accessible – Everyone can participate regardless of age, ability or circumstance
  • Expression – Using art helps people to release energy and express emotions
  • Communication - Art can become a way to look into and communicate thoughts and emotions that seem too complex or confusing to articulate by talking alone.
  • Insight - Art can be a gateway to the unconscious. It can serve as a metaphor for difficult – and maybe even repressed – emotions.
  • Empowerment - Pictures are often ambiguous and the most important thing is for the creator to his or her own meaning and its connection to your life.
  • Change – It can help you view your current situation from another angle and think about ways of making changes.
  • Fun - It can be enjoyable and relaxing leading to a shared pleasure of creating together

Meeting times

The Group will meet for 10 sessions every Monday throughout term. Each session is from 3.30pm till 4.45pm. Please arrive on time. If you decide to join, you will be expected to attend regularly.

Joining a group

If you think that you might be interested in joining one of these groups, contact us to make an appointment, so that you can come in and discuss it.


Compassion Skills Training Group

The 10 week group will offer students a space to learn how habitual thoughts impact on how we feel and what we do.

This group will benefit you if you:

  • Tend to feel overwhelmed by your emotions
  • Tend to blame yourself for everyday situations, such as social interactions, relationships and grades
  • Compare yourself to others which can make you feel bad

The theory and concepts of Compassion Focused Therapy developed by Paul Gilbert, is evidence based to promote a healthier way to relate to ourselves.

Over the 10 weeks we will:

  • Develop an understanding of how evolution and social experience shape our ‘tricky brains’
  • Understand the 3 emotional regulating systems and how our thinking can fuel our emotions and behaviour
  • Practice compassionate skills incorporating attention training, mindfulness and imagery
  • Using the key qualities of compassion – wisdom, strength and caring- commitment, understand the function of the self-critic and respond in a compassionate, assertive way

In attending this group you will begin to understand it is ‘not our fault’ how we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us.

Sophie Greenfield, one of the CBT student counsellors will facilitate the group. To find out more about the referral process please contact us at coun@city.ac.uk

Meeting times

The group will run on Friday mornings (10-11.30am) from 26th October to 30th November. It will then resume in January.

Compassion is not weakness – it takes courage and commitment to face our difficulties.