Please note that due to COVID-19 safety measures, we cannot accept drop-ins at our physical location during the Fall 2020 semester. Support sessions are available by appointment only to McGill members in Montreal or abroad. To book a session, please email us at osvrse [at] mcgill.ca or call us at 514-398-3954. All initial appointments will be held virtually or by phone, at your preference. Group activities will be held virtually.
Support activities for survivors
- Trauma Sensitive Yoga
- Group Therapy: CPT for survivors of sexual assault
- Support Group: Unpacking the intersections between queerness and trauma
Trauma Sensitive Yoga
We offer free yoga sessions for McGill community members who have been impacted by any form of trauma throughout the Fall and Winter semesters.
Designed as an alternative to traditional yoga practices, Trauma Sensitive Yoga has foundations in trauma theory, attachment theory and Hatha Yoga practice, with an emphasis on body-based yoga forms and breathing practices.
The classes will be guided by Jen Wende, a certified yoga therapist with over 1000 hours of alignment-based training. She specializes in creating classes which explore new pathways for building distress tolerance, resilience, autonomy and growth of the participants. Through yoga asana and meditation, participants will be encouraged to move at an easeful pace for self-observation of their bodies, minds and breath. All skill and experience levels welcome. We start where you are today.
Monthly classes will be held on Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. Register on My Involvement to save a spot!
Fall 2020 classes:
- October 14th
- November 4th
- November 25th
- December 9th
Please note that sessions will be held on zoom. The link will be sent to registered participants the morning of each class. For any questions or additional information about the sessions, please osvrse [at] mcgill.ca (contact us).
Group Therapy: CPT for sexual assault survivors
Please note that the group has been put on hold for the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Day and time: Every Monday, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm
- Starting date: TBD (September 2021)
- Weekly sessions: 10 sessions, 2 hours each (with the exception of Thanksgiving holiday)
- Where: OSVRSE office, 550 Sherbrooke W., West Tower, suite 585
This trauma focused therapy group is intended for students who experience PTSD and related conditions as a result of sexual trauma. The goal of Cognitive Processing Therapy is to improve one’s understanding of PTSD, reduce distress related to the trauma memories, decrease emotional numbing and avoidance, decrease anxiety, guilt/shame, and improve day-to-day living.
How to participate
All participants will be required to meet for an assessment prior to joining the group and will be expected to complete regular out-of-session practice assignments. To be eligible, participants should be female-identified, a current McGill student, able to have conversations in English, and a sexual assault survivor.
(Zahara and Émilie were) attentive to our needs & respectful towards our progression.
The therapy is definitely worth it and I know that it has played an integral role in my recovery and ultimately my life trajectory however the process is very intense and can't be compartmentalized; the therapy has a way of taking over your life. This therapy is the most meaningful thing that McGill has given me in the course of my education and it makes me want to somehow ensure that every person in my position is afforded the same opportunity.
No. If the impacts of the assault are causing you distress or preventing you from fully participating in your social, educational or professional life, this group may be right for you. A PTSD diagnosis is not necessary to join group therapy. Common symptoms of PTSD include intrusive thoughts or nightmares, an increase in negative thoughts or feelings, hypervigilance, and avoiding certain people or locations that remind you of the experience. Other symptoms can although occur.
We strive to create a space in which students feel as comfortable as possible sharing very personal experiences. Having a gender-specific group and a student-specific group fall under the goals of creating a safer environment for disclosing sexual trauma and impacts. Female-identified students were chosen as they constitute the majority of people accessing our services. We hope to be able to expand our offer of services soon to include a group for male-identified McGill students.
Confidentiality is a crucial element of any therapy process. Participants will sign a contract agreeing to uphold the confidentiality of the meetings, so that what is shared within the group will not be discussed with outside individuals.
Émilie Marcotte, MSW, ts - Sexual Violence Response Advisor
Émilie is a licensed social worker with over eight years of experience working in the fields of gender-based and sexualized violence in Montréal. As McGill’s Sexual Violence Response Advisor, she acts as the first point of contact for members of the community looking for support and information in cases of sexual violence.
Zahara Madhavji, MSW, PST, CFT - Therapist, Student Wellness Hub
A therapist with the Student Wellness Hub, Zahara has over twenty years of work experience. She has worked in individual and couple/family contexts and addressed a variety of clinical issues, such as anxiety, depression, bereavement, illness, disability, suicidal risk, and conjugal violence. A licensed social worker, psychotherapist and couple & family therapist, Zahara works within a strength-based, client-responsive, resilience-focused approach.
One of the facilitators will meet with you to determine whether group therapy meets with your current needs, and your readiness to engage. During the assessment, we will discuss what the group entails, expectations regarding participation, and your expectations in joining.
Have questions? Interested in joining?
Please contact emilie.marcotte [at] mcgill.ca (Émilie Marcotte) for more information or to book an appointment! Tel: 514-398-4486
Support Group: Unpacking the intersections between queerness and trauma
Day and time: Wednesdays 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Starting date: (TBD) Winter 2021
Weekly sessions: 6 sessions, 2 hours each
Where: OSVRSE office, 550 Sherbrooke W., West tower, Suite 585
This psychoeducational group is for students who identify as queer, trans, and/or 2spirit in which the group will unpack how their queer identities has influenced their experiences of sexual trauma and how to use their identities as a source of empowerment. This will be done through an intersectional, anti-racist and transformative justice lens that centres trans and/or gender non-conforming folks and people who are two-spirit.
How to participate
All participants will be met for an assessment in January 2021. This will allow you to meet the facilitator before the group starts and determine whether the group meets with your current needs. You will be expected to attend all 6 sessions. This group is open to all McGill students who identify as a sexual and/or gender minority. Please email osvrse [at] mcgill.ca to book your assessment time.
Experiences of sexual and gender-based violence can have a serious impact on a person’s life. A survivor may experience short to long-term psychological, emotional and physical reactions that can impact their ability to function. These responses can be immediate or delayed, even manifesting years after the incident of sexual violence.
We work with survivors on a case-by-case basis to determine what academic or workplace accommodation may be needed, and can facilitate the process by contacting the concerned university partners and by offering letters of support.
Note that you are not required to make a formal complaint in order to access accommodations.
Students impacted by sexual violence may seek accommodations at any point during a semester.
This may include:
- Withdrawing from courses
- Extensions for coursework or accommodations for missed work and tests
- Changing course sections or classroom locations
- Taking a leave of absence
- Changing residence, or other housing accommodation
Students can contact their professors or an academic advisor directly for academic accommodation requests.
For accommodations to McGill's online "It Takes All of Us" program, please contact us at osvrse [at] mcgill.ca.
If a survivor experiences severe or chronic impacts, it may be advisable to register with the Office for Students with Disabilities. A licensed health professional will need to complete the OSD referral form for registration.
Faculty & staff
We can help faculty and staff members who have been impacted by sexual violence if they are unable to perform their professional duties. We can work with faculty and staff supervisors, professional associations, unions, and human resources to determine what accommodations would be appropriate.
Staff and faculty can speak directly to the Dean, their departmental HR, or their union or association for workplace accommodation requests.