Counselling for Personal Concerns
I’m stressed out. I’m feeling down and I’m not sure why. My motivation seems to have disappeared. It sometimes feels so hard to go on. I’m homesick. I’m lonely and I’m having trouble making friends. I don’t have much self-confidence. My relationship with my partner is in trouble. I’m not getting along with my parents. I recently lost someone I love. I just can’t seem to adjust to this place.
Does any of this sound familiar? These are among the common issues and challenges faced by university students. By sharing what you are experiencing with an objective professional or participating in one of our group counselling programs, you can gain new perspectives and problem-solving skills. Your concerns are important, be they big or small ones, and the CSDC is here to help by offering both individual and group counselling as well as referral services.
Counsellors are available to work with students on a one-on-one basis in relation to a variety of personal concerns and crisis situations including stress and anxiety, transition into or out of university, depression, eating concerns, relationship and interpersonal issues, trauma and abuse, body image and identity, to name a few. Appointments are usually 50 minutes in length. We work using a short term counselling model and a range of therapeutic approaches dedicated to helping you achieve your goals.
We believe in providing timely access to counselling services. We therefore maintain an extensive list of community resources for those seeking services off campus, who have access to third party insurance or private funds, or whose needs cannot be met through our Centre.
Book an appointment with us to find out more about these community resources.
Sometimes group counselling is the best way to address certain personal issues rather than through individual appointments. At the Centre for Student Development and Counselling, we offer a number of group programs on topics ranging from managing stress and anxiety to enhancing personal relationships. Groups can be:
- a single session focusing on a specific topic,
- comprised of a limited number of sessions in order to address an issue in a structured way, or
- an extended group counselling experience
All groups are free, led by trained counsellors, last for one to two hours, and take place in a comfortable, safe, and confidential environment.
"Group counselling is not as good as individual counselling."
In fact, addressing your concerns in a group counselling format can often help in ways that individual counselling cannot. For example, it provides an opportunity to receive support and to learn skills and coping strategies from a number of people who share many of your challenges and concerns. It is also an opportunity to practice new skills and to get immediate feedback from both the facilitator and other participants. As well, because groups meet on a weekly basis they can offer more continuity than individual counselling. If the recommendation of group counselling is made to you, it is based on the belief that it is an effective way of helping you.
"I have so much trouble talking to people; I'll never be comfortable in a group."
Lots of people are anxious about being able to communicate in group. However, in most cases, with support and encouragement, people become more comfortable and open within a few sessions. It is also important to remember that group offers an opportunity to begin taking some risks in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
"I will be forced to tell my deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets to the group."
You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. Most people find that when they feel safe enough to disclose what is troubling them, a group can be very helpful and affirming. You can also be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you.
"What I share won't be kept confidential."
Confidentiality is always a condition of group membership and is discussed openly in the first session. In every group, members and facilitators actively develop guidelines around privacy and confidentiality.
"Group counselling will take longer than individual because I will have to share the time with others."
Actually, group counselling is often more efficient than individual. Plus, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little but listen carefully to others. You will probably find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. For these reasons, the group process can often accelerate individual change.
"I’m afraid that I’ll be negatively judged by other group members."
It is very important that group members feel safe and counsellors are there to help develop and ensure a supportive environment. One of the benefits of group counselling is the opportunity to receive feedback from others. It is rare to find friends who will gently point out how you might be behaving in ways that hurt yourself or others, but this is precisely what group can offer. This will be done in a respectful way, so that you can hear the feedback and make use of it.
(This text was adapted from that developed by Jack Corazzini, Virginia Commonwealth University)
The Centre offers two types of group programs. Open groups are continuous throughout the semester and may have a rotating membership. As topics form self-contained modules, members can start at any time. Open groups can be a valuable source of support for clients new to the Centre as well as those who have completed individual counselling. Closed groups run for a set period of time (usually four to eight weeks) and have an on-going stable membership. Topics in these groups are addressed in a sequential fashion.
All groups require that you first book an appointment with a counsellor in our Centre in order to discuss your goals and determine whether what is being offered will be compatible with your needs.
Detailed descriptions of our current group offerings follow.
Take Care of Your Feelings: Feel the Music
Wednesdays 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm located at Jorgenson Hall room JOR–06
Through emotion theory, and listening to music, this group will help you to become aware of your feelings to tease the different feelings apart, and to turn the column on your feelings up or down.
Take Care of the Relaxation: The Mindfulness Group
Thursdays 12:00 pm -1:00pm located at Jorgenson Hall room JOR–06
Take an hour to learn and practice mindfulness and relaxation strategies to help better manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Understand how to adapt these skills to your day-to-day life.
Take Care of Your Thoughts: Shift Your Thinking
Fridays 1:00pm – 2:30pm located at Jorgenson Hall room JOR–06
Learn to change your thinking from negative to more realistic patterns. Discover tools to identify unhelpful thinking styles, and examine how to shift your thinking.
Take Care of Your Setbacks: Failure Is Not an 'F' Word (starting Feb.15)
Thursdays 2:30pm – 4:00 pm located at Podium Building room POD-50B
For many students "failure" can be devastating because they personalize it. Learn how to gain wisdom from past failures, reduce your fear of future setbacks, and develop strategies for increasing your personal and academic resilience.
THE SHYNESS CLINIC
Do you find it hard to meet new people? Do you “shy” away from social situations or classroom presentations? In this group you will learn ways to manage your shyness and make it work to your advantage.
RELATIONSHIP LAB: LEARNING DATING AND COUPLES SKILLS
Communication, social and conflict resolution skills are needed to navigate and maintain all intimate relationships. Join us if you think you need to improve on some or all of these dating and couples skills.
LIFT THE DEPRESSION
This group will provide you with the opportunity to gain skills in changing negative and self-defeating thoughts, shifting your attitude and improving your mood.
GAY, BI, QUEER MEN’S DISCUSSION GROUP: LESBIAN, BI, QUEER, TRANS WOMEN’S DISCUSSION GROUP
These groups address topics that matter to the GBQ men’s and LBQT women’s communities including making friendships and finding community, healthy sexual and intimate relationships, self-esteem, body image and managing family response to our sexuality and gender expressions.
Everyone experiences loss in their own way, but nobody needs to carry the grief on their own. In a supportive atmosphere, group member will share their loss as well as ides and materials they have found helpful.
FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: LEAVING THE BAGGAGE BEHIND
This group explores the relationships you had/have in your family and how family baggage continues to have an impact on your relationships with yourself as well with others.
TAME YOUR CRITIC
Are you hard on yourself or do you put yourself down a lot? This group will help you to reduce self-criticism and to see yourself through more compassionate eyes.
Do you often think about worse case scenarios? Do other people believe you worry excessively? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions “Worrywart” may be right for you.
The Quit Procrastinating group is an opportunity for you to better understand your procrastination, become more aware of your patterns, thoughts and feelings related to ‘putting things off’ and start taking steps to get your work done!
STEPPING INTO HEALING
This is a group where people who have experienced sexual violence come together to support one another. The focus of the group is on expanding coping skills, strengthening self-care, and nurturing relationships with the self and others.
Aboriginal Student Services
416-979-5000 ext. 7699 www.ryerson.ca/aboriginal
A culturally supportive environment where all First Nations, Aboriginal, Inuit, Metis, status and non-status students can balance academic learning with traditional teachings.
Security and Emergency Services
Crime prevention, personal safety and physical security awareness/education provided. Twenty-four hour emergency response, including crisis intervention/emergency management and referral.
Human Rights Services
Support for the Ryerson community, promoting a study, work, and living environment free of discrimination and harassment based on prohibited grounds (e.g. race, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion etc.).
Ryerson Medical Centre
Open year-round to treat illnesses or accidents not requiring hospitalization. If necessary, referrals to local hospitals or specialists can be arranged. Payment through OHIP or a similar out-of-province insurance plan is required.
416-979-5000 ext. 7450 www.ryerson.ca/ombuds
A confidential information, advice and assistance resource for those who wish to address what they believe to be unfair treatment at the University.
Centre for Women and Trans People
416-979-5255 ext. 2350 www.rsuonline.ca/Equity-Service-Centers/Centre-for-Women-and-Trans-People, external link
A safe and inclusive place for all self-identified women on campus. Provides educational pamphlets, referrals and resources on issues that include racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, eating disorders, housing, sexual assault, pro-choice resources, violent relationships, support programs, women’s health and many more. Men are welcome to use the resources, but need to be let in.
Ryerson Students’ Union Legal Advice and Referral Services
Legal advice related to family and criminal law, debt, landlord and tenant conflicts, corporate law, real estate, intellectual property, legal procedures and documents, dealings with lawyers, immigration, and difficulties with government agencies.