Psychology Clinic offers 10-week group sessions aimed at alleviating stress

York University Psychology Clinic will offer a 10-week session on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) with a focus on managing emotions.

class_ta_students2The program, which is open to anyone, begins Wednesday, Jan. 27 and runs weekly from 5:30 to 7pm in room 102 of the Behavioral Sciences Building.

Designed for those who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry or sad, the 10-week group session will engage in ACT therapy – a relative of traditional cognitive behavior therapy that incorporates mindfulness, acceptance strategies, experiential exercises and values identification. It is designed to help those who are suffering to loosen their grip on their internal “stuff”, such as thoughts, emotions, physical feeling and urges, and instead take it with them while putting their energy and focus into what really matters to them as an individual.

“Central to ACT is the idea that much of human suffering is related to efforts to avoid thoughts and emotions,” says Dr. Shari Turrell, who will lead the “Managing Your Emotions” sessions. “If you have tried to change your thinking, arguing with your mind, or avoiding certain emotions, and are still suffering, ACT may be an appropriate approach.”

In this group participants will learn:

  • To relate differently to thoughts and feelings so they have less impact on you
  • To identify and break self-defeating habits
  • To recognize and accept what you can’t control
  • How to be ‘in the moment’ and develop resiliency
  • Self-acceptance and self-compassion
  • To identify what’s truly important to you
  • To create a rich and meaningful life

“ACT is about accepting who we are and what is inside of us, while committing to what matters most,” says Turrell. “The focus is not on symptom reduction.”

The fee for 10 sessions is $400. Fees for psychological services are reimbursable through most workplace extended health plans. York University students may also have access to funds to cover the cost of the group through York Federation of Students’ or CUPE 3903’s health plans. There are also some financial bursaries for students in need.

A brief assessment interview will be conducted prior to the group starting in order to ensure that participants enrolled will benefit from the program.

To register go to to  download the registration form or call the clinic at 416-650-8488 for more information.