Wellbeing Groups

Wellbeing Services offers a range of groups to support students during their time at the University of Exeter. Our groups are run by a qualified practitioner and cover a range of topics related to student wellbeing. In order to attend one of our groups, you must be referred by a practitioner within Wellbeing Services. If you would like to attend a group, please book a Telephone Referral Appointment to discuss your current concerns with a practitioner who will then refer you to the group if this is deemed appropriate.

The practitioner running each group will contact you before you attend the first session to introduce themselves and give you the chance to voice concerns and ask any questions. For some of the groups, you will be offered an orientation session which allows you to meet the practitioner in person beforehand and get a greater understanding of what to expect from the group.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, however for some it can start to become an ongoing problem. This course consists of 3 two hour sessions which aim is to give you more information about anxiety and provide useful techniques that you can use throughout life to reduce feelings of anxiety. All of the techniques are based on the principals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

2019 dates:

  • Group 1: Wednesday 6th February, Wednesday 13th February and Wednesday 20th February, 10:30 - 12:30
  • Group 2: Thursday 7th March, Thursday 14th March and Thursday 21st March, 14:30 - 16:30

Each session builds on the previous one, therefore we ask for attendance to all three sessions to complete the group.

Mindfulness is a well-researched, non-religious and effective means of alleviating stress, anxiety and depression, and promoting wellbeing. This practical course was designed with the needs of students in mind at Oxford University by Professor Mark Williams, one of the original developers of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). It primarily aims to teach people skills when they are feeling fairly well, which can help with stepping out of the unhelpful thinking patterns that may lead to worsening mood and increasing stress levels. During the course we will be learning a range of practices which help to develop a greater awareness of present moment experience, a sense of acceptance and kindness towards ourselves.

For more information on how mindfulness can help alleviate stress, please see this short video clip of Professor Mark Williams speaking:


Feedback from students who have previously attended this course:

  • “I feel that this course has helped me develop coping strategies for my anxiety…I really enjoyed the course.”
  • “I think that 90 minute sessions each week were very beneficial and I liked following the course in a group setting. I felt that each week built upon one another well.”
  • “Very friendly, practical”
  • “Calmed my mind”

2019 dates:

  • Every Friday from Friday 1st February to Friday 22nd March, 10:00 - 11:30 

Each session builds on the previous one, therefore we ask for attendance to all sessions to complete the group.

Compassion is “sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, with a deep commitment to try to relieve it”. Developing compassion involves acknowledging that we all face difficult situations at times and accepting any mistakes we may have made. If we can support ourselves through these challenges, with kindness, we are likely to feel better.

When depressed or anxious, it is very common to focus on what we see as our own shortcomings. We can become very self-critical and expect criticism and rejection from others. This can lead to many strong negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness and shame. If we’ve had experiences of being criticised or under threat from others, and few experiences of feeling protected or soothed by others, it can be really hard to know how to soothe ourselves. Developing self-compassion and our ability to soothe ourselves can help to manage distress and difficult feelings. It can also increase positive feelings of acceptance, contentment, and kindness, which are crucial for our wellbeing.

In this 6 week course we will be learning ways to soothe ourselves to manage distress and emotions such as anger, fear, disgust and shame. Compassion is something that we can develop to help us become more nurturing in our relationships to ourselves and others.

For more information on why it’s important to become more compassionate, please see this short video clip of Professor Paul Gilbert, the developer of Compassion Focused Therapy, being interviewed:


Feedback from students who have previously attended this course:

  •  “I remember how low I was before and how thinly I was stretching myself just to feel adequate. It’s wonderful to have moments now where I can just lie on my bed listening to music and be completely content.”
  • “I feel I have improved greatly in the last few weeks thanks to the techniques taught and the open encouraging atmosphere nurtured by practitioners and attendees.”
  • “I feel more self-accepting and happy.”

Next dates:

  • 2019: every Tuesday from Tuesday 12th February to Tuesday 19th March, 10:00 - 12:00

Each session builds on the previous one, therefore we ask for attendance to all six sessions to complete the group.

The Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) Group welcomes any student at the University of Exeter who identifies with autism spectrum conditions (such as Asperger’s syndrome) or believes they would benefit from being involved. The  social group is facilitated by two AccessAbility mentors, Lindy and Sasa, who attend each social helping to run activities and support those who may feel anxious or apprehensive about taking part.

It doesn’t matter when you get involved in the year, you’re welcome any time. Some students come a few times a term whilst others come to every group. You’re able to attend at any point in the session too whether you just want to pop in for 10 minutes or stay throughout. It’s totally up to you. The group runs over lunch time and you’re welcome to bring along your own lunch or snacks.

We always welcome student ideas and input but typical activities for the group include:

  • Board games, cards or crafts
  • Getting to know other students and chatting about different topics
  • Organised trips for students to go out e.g. bowling, cinema.


  • Time: Wednesdays from 12:30 - 14:00
  • Dates for Term 3, 2019: 1st May, 8th May, 15th May, 22nd May, 29th May, 5th June, 12th June


  • Queen's MR1 (new location for Term 3)

What do the students think?

‘I’d encourage everyone who has difficulty overcoming social anxiety to come to these events for some light hearted games and interactions with others who have similar problems.’

‘An excellent, welcoming and laid-back group with no pressure and complete mutual understanding’


If you are interested in finding out more about the group or have any questions, please email accessability@exeter.ac.uk. We will happily share more information and welcome students to join at any point.

From September 2018 we will be running a new group for students who experience fatigue. Students do not need to have a formal diagnosis of a specific condition; we welcome anyone who feels they would benefit from meeting other students who have similar experiences at university.

When: Alternate Wednesdays from 13:00 - 14:30

Dates for term 3, 2019: 1st May, 15th May, 29th May

Please be aware the group is no longer running on the 12th June.

Where: Chaplaincy Rooms, First Floor, Old Library

Please contact AccessAbility@exeter.ac.uk for more information.

Undergraduate students experiencing mental health conditions can participate in a series of focussed workshops run by CareerZone and Wellbeing Services, in order to offer additional support throughout the whole career decision-making process. The underlying themes of confidence, resilience, dealing with uncertainty and stress management will be discussed in relation to Employability throughout the workshops. All students will have the opportunity to work on a one to one basis with the CareerZone at the end of the course to expand and develop key themes to support employability.

4 x 1.5 hour workshops will run on the following dates from 14:00 - 15:30: 

  • Wednesday 27th February - Where Can Your Course Lead? 
  • Wednesday 6th March - What Job/Sector Would Suit Me?
  • Wednesday 20th March - Exploring Jobs and Opportunities
  • Wednesday 27th March - How to Prepare for the Recruitment Process

If you would like to attend these sessions, please book a Telephone Referral Appointment to discuss this with a practitioner who will then refer you to the group if this is deemed appropriate. Alternatively, if you regularly meet a mentor or have appointments with Wellbeing Services, please speak to your mentor/practitioner about being referred.