Support Groups

Meaningful social support is one of the key pillars of positive mental health. Though you may have people in your life you can rely on, you may not have friends or family who can really understand what you are going through, especially during periods of crisis or transition. Support groups have been proven to reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem and overall well-being, strengthen existing supportive relationships, provide direction and help create a long-lasting sense of belonging. Support groups offer a private and professionally facilitated "safe space" for you to work through challenges in the company of others who are on a similar path. 


About Our Support Groups

 

Chai and Chat  is drop-in support group for women with depression and anxiety. We meet online every Saturday afternoon 12:00 - 1:30 pm PST. 

Love Talks  is a 4-week online couples group that is held each year in February, and there is a fee for this group that may be reimbursed by your insurance provider.

Life Support  is a safe-space for members of the LGBTQ2+ community. Drop-ins are welcome. We meet online every second Thursday at 6:00 -7:00 pm PST.

Scar Tissue is a support group for those whose loved ones  are addicted to drugs/alcohol. It's a 6-week group on Mondays at 6:30 - 7:30 pm PST starting April 16, and is facilitated by an Addictions Counsellor. Drop-ins welcome.

Freedom Warriors  is an online support group for men held weekly on Tuesdays at 7:00 - 9:00 pm PST. Drop-ins welcome.

We also offer online group supervision for new therapists which runs every third Tuesday evening at 6:00 - 8:00 pm PST.

Registration in all groups is limited to ensure individualized attention and support.

Our groups are real, practical, and inclusive. We understand that there are limited therapeutic spaces for men and women from diverse backgrounds to get together and relax into conversation, and dominant perspectives can easily drown out other voices. We include facilitation strategies and group exercises from a variety of cultural traditions, in addition to teachings from mainstream Western psychology. We hope to normalize mental health principles within groups where these topics have historically been labeled as taboo, and give you language to explain to your friends and family members how group support is benefitting you.

Once you decide to join a group, you have two choices. If you would like to speak to the facilitator before registering, you can book in a quick consultation on our online calendar. If you don't need to speak to someone, just simply sign up online for our next group. You may have to sign a waiver form as part of your registration process. Once you register, you will be sent a confirmation email.

For weekly online groups, a unique link will be sent to you a few hours before the group begins each week. The room will open 5-10 minutes before the group begins. For in-person groups, please ensure you arrive 5-10 minutes early so we can start on time.

Frequently Asked Questions



Q: What can I expect when I join a support group?

A: In support groups, as in life, you will get out what you put in. If you come ready to learn, ask questions, and be willing to get to know yourself and others, you will have a more rich experience than if you just sit back and observe others in silence. There is no obligation to speak in our groups, but those who share their own challenges do get a chance to be supported with their individual concerns, as well as learning from others.

Witnessing other people share their stories and heal their pain can be transformative in itself, and if you continue coming to the group, you will begin to truly join in. We ask that participants in the group remain open-hearted and curious, and refrain from judgement or criticism. We ask that you trust your facilitator to move the group forward, and ask questions if you are unclear or uncomfortable with a particular intervention. We also ask for strict confidentiality in that you will not share anything you learn about another member of the group. Bring up any issues with the group within the group for resolution.

Most of our groups involve a combination of learning, listening, and sharing, as well as small and larger group exercises designed to move the group through personal and emotional issues. We work with the concept of a "focus person", where the facilitator will work with an individual participant in front the group. By looking for similarities between your own story and the focus person's story, you will may gain insight into your own troubles and hurdles.


Q: Who is in charge of the group?

A: Our groups are lead by qualified facilitators who have training  in group process. At times, the facilitator will offer direct information, support, and guidance, and at other times he or she will invite others in the group to interact with the focus person.


Q: How do I know my stories will stay private?

A: Therapeutic groups work because of the trust we build together. The key ingredient of group process is confidentiality, and we emphasize it's importance every single time we meet. We also ask that group members take a verbal or written oath of confidentiality. While we cannot guarantee your privacy, we make every effort to ensure participants understand how important this element is to building effective and trusting groups.

 

Q: How much does the group cost?

 

A: Depending on the group you join, fees range from $10-$25 per session. Some of the closed groups have a higher fee that may be covered by your insurance provider. Most of our drop-in groups have a "pay-what-you-can" policy for those experiencing financial hardship.

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira (she/her) provides mental health support through individual counselling, groups, immersive workshops/courses, and free educational content. Over the last 14 years, we have helped men and women of many backgrounds find answers to their questions about work, life, love, and meaning. Much mainstream psychology overlooks spirituality, family values, and community context, so we have decided to specialize in serving clients who are ready for change and also want to include their cultural values and spiritual beliefs into therapy.

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