Group Counseling

row of legs sitting together, inferring a group counseling session

Many students benefit from counseling in a group format where common concerns can be explored. UHS group counseling sessions are free and do not require health insurance.

Spring 2022 Schedule


Organized by start date:

1/20 - Graduate Men’s Support. Thursdays, 1:30 - 3:00 pm (Jan 20 - May 12) Facilitated by Richard Chiovarelli, PsyD. Description: This weekly support group is offered for students who self-identify as male grad students who wish to come together to discuss the challenges of being a grad student, ways to deal with the hurdles & hassles of school, find ways to connect with others, discuss relationship issues, and consider ways to manage stress & live a balanced life as a Berkeley student. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

1/24 - Graduate Women's Support. Mondays, 5:00 - 6:30 pm (Jan 24 - May 2) Facilitated by Linda Zaruba, PhD. Description: This support group is offered for students who self-identify as female graduate students who wish to come together to share the challenges and struggles of being a grad student, discuss ways to balance school & personal life, discuss relationships with advisors and peers, increase self-confidence, and develop relationships with other women in grad school.

1/24 - Starting a New Medication for Anxiety or Depression. Alternate Mondays, 1:45 - 2:30 pm (Jan 24 - May 5) Facilitated by Raghav Suri, PsyD. Description: This single session psycho-educational group covers the basic facts of common anxiety and depression medications, and factors that increase the likelihood of effectiveness. The group discusses tips and tricks for effective communication with your prescriber for ongoing medication management.

1/24 - Holistic Sleep Wellness: Behavioral Changes to Reduce Insomnia and Sleep Difficulties. Alternate Mondays, 3:45 - 4:30 pm (Jan 24 - May 5) Facilitated by Robyn Papathakis Shannon, PsyD. Description: This single-session psycho-educational group is based on the concept of holistic sleep wellness. It focuses on increasing your understanding of the mechanisms and habits that impact your sleep, in order to help you identify and experiment with behaviors that can improve your sleep and work for you, your body, and your life.

1/24 - Worry, Stress, and Your Health. Alternate Mondays, 3:45 - 4:30 pm (Jan 24 - May 5) Facilitated by Robyn Papathakis Shannon, Psy.D. Description: This single-session group is focused on increasing your understanding of (1) the body's physical sensations and responses, (2) the different ways that persistent worry about our health may impact our stress response and behaviors, and (3) strategies for coping with thoughts, behaviors, and emotions related to health, pain, and physiological sensations.

1/25 - Career Planning: Surviving and Thriving at UC Berkeley. Tuesdays, 2:15 pm - 3:45 pm ( Jan 25 - Feb 15) Facilitated by Ed Garnes, MA and Janelle Webster, BS. Description: This 4-week group is designed to help clarify your values related to career planning and set goals for managing stresses associated with imposter syndrome, socio-cultural-familial influences, and indecision. The group will include exercises to increase career self-awareness and strategies for navigating challenges in academic and career planning. Students will also have the opportunity to share their experiences, and give support to their peers experiencing similar stressors.

1/26 - Asian American Community. Voice. Wednesdays, 4:15-5:45 pm (Jan 26 - May 4) Facilitated by Junichi Shimaoka, PsyD, and Jeff Lee, LCSW. Description: We are a support and discussion space for Asian/Asian American (South Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian) and multi-racial/ethnic students. It's a drop-in, informal support space, where we discuss topics relevant to our community, ranging from our favorite Asian food, uncertainties around pandemic life, being queer while Asian, navigating family expectations, speaking up against xenophobia and racial injustice, celebrating the diversity among Asian communities, and to personal/emotional wellbeing, and more. Come for the topics you are interested in or join weekly for our conversation. Find the calendar of "suggested topics" here: bit.ly/2Rkq4XX.

1/27 - Mindfulness for Wellness and Anxiety Relief. Thursdays, 2:15 - 3:45 pm (Jan 27 - Mar 17) Facilitated by Raquel Castellanos Miller, LCSW, and Julia Diskin, BA. Description: Curious about meditation, but don’t know where to start? Want to know more about the benefits of meditation to relieve anxiety and cultivate mental peace and wellness? This group is ideal for beginners and those with some experience, with an introduction to three meditation techniques, mindfulness meditation, compassionate meditation practice (tonglen) and loving kindness (metta). Class time will include discussion about current neuroscience findings on the benefits of meditation, learning about anxiety and the Window of Tolerance, along with guided meditation sessions, followed by Q&A, group support, and tools for establishing your own daily practice.

2/1 - BIPOC Womxn Healing Circle. Tuesdays, 3:30 - 5:00 pm (Feb 1 - May 6) Facilitated by Cynthia Medina, PhD and Monica Becerra, PhD. Description: This healing circle is designed for self-identified Black, Indigenous, Womxn of Color who want to build community through collective witnessing, empathic presence, and shared solidarity. Collectively, we will foster a supportive, affirming, confidential space where we can discuss our multiple intersecting identities, relationships, holistic wellness, spirituality, career aspirations, microaggressions and "isms", racial-trauma healing, and other topics of interest. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

2/4 - From Self-Criticism to Kindness. Fridays, 10:15 - 11:45 am (Feb 4 - Mar 25) Facilitated by Amy Honigman, Ph.D. Description: This group will provide a space for students to learn skills for building self-compassion and kindness, as well as opportunities to offer support to one another. Topics will include: fostering an attitude of kindness towards self & others, building self-esteem through self-acceptance, and using mindfulness/mediation to facilitate resilience & self-confidence.

2/9 - Understanding Self & Others. Wednesdays, 1:30 - 3:00 pm (Feb 9 - Apr 27) Facilitated by Kusha Murarka, PsyD and Paul Eastman, PhD. Description: This 10-week therapy group is designed to foster greater self-awareness and more satisfying relationships by exploring how your background and upbringing affect your relationships, becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and exploring your “here-and-now” feelings with other group members. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

2/14 - Black Womxn's Sister Circle. Mondays, 3-4:30 pm (Feb 14 - May 2) Facilitated by Amber Jaiza Jones, LCSW. Description: The weekly group is designed to provide a supportive space for undergraduate and graduate self-identified womxn of African descent to explore the challenges of navigating life at UC Berkeley. It provides a weekly opportunity to engage in cultivating self-care and wellness practices, to build meaningful connections, and create a mutually supportive and inclusive community. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

2/15 - Asian & Asian-American Womxn Support. Tuesdays, 2:15 - 3:45 pm (Feb 15 - Apr 26) Facilitated by Angelica Yi, MSW. Description: This group is for students who identify as womxn of any Asian or Asian-American background. We'll co-create a supportive space to share experiences related to intersectional identities, navigating Asian & American values, racism-related trauma, school stress, family & relationship issues, and other topics of interest. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining. All Asian and Asian American students "who experience life through the lens of womxn in body, spirit, identity--past, present, future, and fluid are welcome" (GenEq).

2/15 - BIMOC Black, Indigenous Men of Color Healing Circle. Tuesdays, 3:15 - 4:45 pm (Feb 15 - May 10) Facilitated by Adisa Anderson, Ph.D. and Nolan Krueger, MA. Description: This healing circle is offered for self-identified Black, Indigenous, Men of Color who want to build community through shared solidarity, discuss ways to be rooted in resilience, and explore ways to be centered in mind, body, and spirit. We discuss the complexities of navigating life at UC Berkeley including our intersecting identities, microaggressions and “isms”, academics, career, family, relationships, and maintaining holistic well-being. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

2/16 - BIPOC Queer Womxn's Support Circle. Wednesdays, 1:15-2:45 pm (Feb 16 - Apr 20) Facilitated by Tiffany Lin, LCSW. Description: This support circle is designed for students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Womxn of Color who love womxn*, regardless of other identities or labels. Together we will build a supportive, affirming, confidential community where we can discuss our multiple intersecting identities, coming out, self-esteem, relationships, gender identity, spirituality, holistic wellness, and other topics of interest. All BIPOC students "who experience life through the lens of womxn in body, spirit, identity--past, present, future, and fluid are welcome" (GenEq). This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

2/16 - Wellness in Action Toolbox - Session A. Wednesdays, 2:15-3:45 pm (Feb 16 - Mar 9) Facilitated by Kin Ming Chan, PhD. Description: These 4-week skill-building groups are for students experiencing stress, mild to moderate anxiety, panic, and depression. Participants will learn mental health and general wellness strategies to build personal awareness, develop coping strategies, and integrate wellness techniques into their daily routines. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in discussion, as well as to give and receive support. Topics include self-care (e.g.: sleep, exercise, nutrition), thinking patterns and mood, mindfulness, resilience, and fostering positive connections.

2/17 - Managing Emotions. Thursdays, 3:15 - 5:00 pm (Feb 17 - Apr 28) Facilitated by Paige Lee, Ph.D. and Maritza Duran, MSW. Description: This group, based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is designed to teach students skills to manage and regulate emotions more effectively. In a structured and supportive environment, participants will learn skills to modify behavioral, emotional, and thinking patterns associated with problems in living that cause misery and distress. Participants MUST be in concurrent individual therapy to participate in this group. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining.

2/22 - Mindfulness Meditation Drop-In. Tuesdays, 4:15-5:00 pm (Feb 22 - May 10) Facilitated by Kin Ming Chan, PhD. Description: Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing your mind on the present moment to become more aware of thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they occur without judging them. In this weekly drop-in group, participants will learn general mindfulness meditation skills by doing a variety of mindfulness exercises together, discussing their experiences doing the exercises, and considering ways to apply mindfulness in daily life. The drop-in format is flexible to allow students to join at any point and still gain insight/benefit from collective wisdom.

2/23 - HeartSpeak: USP Support Circle. Wednesdays, 4:00 - 5:30 pm (Starts Feb 23 and is Ongoing) Facilitated by Diana Peña, Ph.D. Description: This weekly support space for undocumented students at Cal will center social connection as a foundation for wellness, racial-trauma healing, and resilience. This group requires a brief pre-group meeting with the group facilitator(s) before joining. You may directly schedule your pre-screen appointment online via: wejoinin.com/USPmentalhealth.

3/2 - Transitions. Wednesdays, 11:15 - 12:00 pm (Mar 2 - Apr 13) Facilitated by Jevon Rice, PsyD and Gaurie Mittal, MA. Description: A six-week group for students experiencing mild to moderate anxiety, panic, and depression related to life transitions where students not only connect with others but learn skills to help with their life changes. Through a culture-first lens, participants will learn and discuss mental health and general wellness strategies to address the impact of change, healthy and effective communication, and foster healthy relationships with self and others through a culture-first lens. Topics include transitioning to Cal, reestablishing a self-care routine (e.g.: sleep, exercise, nutrition), readjusting thinking patterns and mood around change, information about building healthy connections within the Cal and Berkeley community, tips for engaging in new environments and cultures, supporting the growth of resiliency, and more.

3/10 - Wellness in Action Toolbox - Session B. Thursdays, 10:15 - 11:45 am (Mar 10 - Mar 31) Facilitated by Lauren Friedman, RN, PMHNP Intern. Description: These four-week skill-building groups are for students experiencing stress, mild to moderate anxiety, panic, and depression. Participants will learn mental health and general wellness strategies to build personal awareness, develop coping strategies, and integrate wellness techniques into their daily routines. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in discussion, as well as to give and receive support. Topics include self-care (e.g.: sleep, exercise, nutrition), thinking patterns and mood, mindfulness, resilience, and fostering positive connections.

How to Get Started 


Option 1: Self Referral

Register on this EmailMe Form to get started!  Once you complete the brief form, the group facilitator will be in touch with you via your eTang portal to help you get started.  You can also sign up for any CAPS group via the eTang portal.

Option 2: Referral from a UHS Provider 

Some groups require a referral from a UHS clinician.  To get a referral, contact your UHS provider or call CAPS at (510) 642-9494 to get started.  

CAPS Group Feedback


Did you recently attend a group facilitated by a CAPS counselor? Share your thoughts! Complete this brief survey and give us your feedback.

What is Group Counseling and Why Join?

Group counseling is a powerful and effective way for students to share, give and receive support, learn and heal.  Many students can benefit from counseling in a group format. 

Group works! In studies comparing group psychotherapy to individual therapy, group therapy has been shown to be as effective and sometimes even more effective than individual counseling. 

Group counseling offers the opportunity for students to learn new skills, to share concerns as well as inherent wisdom in a facilitated environment with other students. Some counseling groups are focused on common concerns, such as stress, anxiety and depression, relationships or emotion management struggles. Other groups offer an opportunity for students with a shared identity to gather and connect in community.  

What are the groups?

The CAPS Group Program's mission is to empower students through accessible, culturally affirming group therapy, psycho-educational skills, and strengths-based1 support groups that promote greater levels of personal health and collective well-being for the entire UC Berkeley community.  The CAPS Group Program strives to prioritize our shared humanity, collaborative care, and technological advances as tools for supporting a healthy campus culture.

COVID-19 UPDATE:  if you are a student who is currently residing outside of California or outside of the United States, CAPS clinicians are unable to provide you with group counseling services at this time.  Please see the CAPS Off Campus Counseling Referrals webpage for more information and support getting connected with a counselor near you. 

Related Resource: Social Services Group Counseling.

1Strengths-Based Models in Social Work; McCashen, Wayne (2005)

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