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Counselling for Personal Concerns

COVID-19 and Counselling Support Update

Due to Ryerson's response to COVID-19, all CSDC programs and services are currently being offered remotely. We continue to work on updating our website to reflect these changes. Visit for the latest updates to our services and programs.

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 offered virtually starting in the Fall 2020 term. See what groups are currently running below.

"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.

Spring/Summer 2021 groups

PDF fileSix Feet Closer to Self-Compassion
This group is for anyone who wants to learn ways to be kinder towards themselves, notices that they put other people's needs first, can be self-critical, or would like to work on their self-esteem. 

PDF fileStepping 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. 

Winter 2021 groups

*Please note that Winter 2021 groups are currently full. Please email if you are interested in attending one of these groups in the Spring/Summer 2021 or Fall 2021 terms.

PDF fileStepping 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. 

PDF fileAll About Love
All About Love" is a 6 week group for Black identified students that will explore the challenges, beauty, complexities, dynamics, and shaping impacts of our families. This group's name is inspired by the writer, poet, and activist bell hooks' meditations on Black love, family, and liberation within her seminal text "All About Love". As such, this group will be foregrounded in love, justice, compassion, and liberation. We will spend time exploring the following themes: Attachment, emotions, boundary setting, relationships, and identity development. 

Chilling On the Spectrum
This group is designed for students living with ASD and is focused on creating opportunities for connection, learning, and support. The group aims to decrease aloneness during this fall’s remote learning context, and topics include mental wellbeing, coping, navigating social aspects of campus life, connecting to relevant campus supports, managing academic demands, and other topics relevant to group members.

PDF fileFinding Clarity
This counselling group was designed with the recent challenges of online learning in mind. Our goal is to help students build healthier coping responses to stress and worry and talk about ways to improve focus and concentration, all while having the opportunity to connect with other students with similar experiences. 

PDF fileSix Feet Closer to Self-Compassion
This group is for anyone who wants to learn ways to be kinder towards themselves, notices that they put other people's needs first, can be self-critical, or would like to work on their self-esteem. 

Take Care of You
Is it difficult for you to manage stress? Are negative beliefs getting in your way? Do you sometimes question who you are and what you want out of life?  Would you like to feel more connected to and communicate better with others? Take Care of You is a series of supportive workshops in which you’ll work collaboratively with professional counsellors and other group members to build skills, increase self-awareness, and enhance your mental well-being. 

Take Care of Your Relaxation: The Mindfulness Group
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 Feelings: Feel the Music (not currently running)

Take Care of Your Thoughts: Shift Your Thinking (not currently running)

Take Care of Your Setbacks:  Failure Is Not an 'F' Word (not currently running)  

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.

Facing Loss 
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.

Quit Procrastinating 
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!

There are many tip sheets offered by the Centre for Student Development and Counselling. You may view any of our tip sheets here, or drop by our centre and pick up a paper copy.

Aboriginal Student Services

416-979-5000 ext. 7699

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.

Ombudsperson Office

416-979-5000 ext. 557450 

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, external link

416-979-5255 ext. 2350 

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, external link


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.


Sites with information about evidence based treatments, including CBT 

Mental Disorders

CBT Resources

Relaxation and Mindfulness

Phone Apps

  • Mood Kit (available on iTunes for $4.99)
  • Moving Forward (available on iTunes for free-Problem Solving Therapy)
  • PTSD Coach (National Center for PTSD in the US—Canadian App available as well)—free from iTunes
  • CBT Referee (from iTunes)
  • Sleeping tips, using CBT (free from iTunes)
  • Relax2breathe (free)
  • DBT Self-help & Diary Card, external link 
  • Behavioural Experiments (from iTunes)
mockup of ThriveRU book


The goal of ThriveRU initiative in Student Affairs is to provide training and resources to Ryerson students, faculty and staff in order to teach the skills associated with resilience, well-being and thriving in both an academic and personal context.

Find workshop dates and times and download the ThriveRU Weekly Workbook, opens in new window

Students Petting dogs

Therapy Dogs

Spending time with a dog can do wonders to destress and relieve anxiety. Drop in for a session with our therapy dogs, every Wednesday from 12-1PM in the Sandbox, Student Learning Centre.

Follow us on Facebook , external linkand Twitter @RUTherapydogs, external link for event updates.

Office of Sexual Violence poster stating "You Are Not Alone"

Sexual Violence

Ryerson is committed to fostering a campus where consent comes first. Together we support survivors when they disclose, prevent and address sexual violence. We learn about the issue, contribute to the conversation and are part of the change on campus.

Visit the Office of Sexual Violence website for more information, opens in new window