HEAL is an 8-week psychoeducational support group for survivors of sexual assault. The group is open to undergraduate students and graduate students of all genders, and is open to new members at the start of each Fall and Spring semester.

Discussion topics covered often include:

  • Understanding common reactions to trauma
  • Self care and coping strategies
  • Boundary setting
  • Disclosures (who to tell about your experience and what to say)
  • Navigating relationships and intimacy after trauma
  • Self-esteem and self-image after trauma

HEAL is currently full for the spring semester.  If you have interest in being added to our outreach list to be notified of the next HEAL offering for Fall 2024, please reach out directly to Elizabeth Coscia, LCSW at [email protected].

Updated information about all support group offerings is also available on the UHCS Support Groups web page.

Last Updated: February 8, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

For a variety of reasons, people who have experienced sexual assault may have difficulty discussing (or may not want to discuss) what happened with friends or family, which can feel challenging and isolating.

If you are a survivor who has endured silence, shame, guilt, or a lack of support from others in your life, a group can provide an opportunity to connect with others who have similar experiences. Support groups like HEAL can help to reduce common symptoms of trauma and uplift survivors as they move forward in their healing process. Every survivor’s experience is unique, but being in a group with those who have a shared understanding of sexual violence can be a powerful form of support and validation.

The HEAL group offers a safe space for survivors to learn coping skills, understand the effects of trauma, and connect with those who understand what they’re going through as a survivor at Northeastern.

(Source: Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs)

Students must be eligible for UHCS services in order to participate in the group. UHCS services are available for:

  • All undergraduate students 
  • All Law school students 
  • Graduate students who have either enrolled in the Student Health Plan or who have paid the student health fee 
  • Students in special programs by prior arrangement.  


The HEAL group is open to survivors of all gender identities.

The HEAL group is available to students on the Boston campus only, as the group meets in-person at UHCS (135 Forsyth Street, First Floor). Sexual Violence Resource Center staff can work with students in Northeastern’s Global University System to identify supports in their area.

HEAL might be the right fit for you if:

  • You want to feel less alone in your healing process
  • You want to connect with other survivors
  • You already have some coping skills in place but you want more
  • You can tolerate talking about the topics of sexual violence in a group setting
  • You want to both give and receive support to others with related experiences



HEAL may not be the right fit for you (at least at this time) if:

  • You want a space to more directly and individually process the trauma you’ve experienced (such as with an individual therapist)
  • You feel that talking about sexual violence/assault in this context may cause your symptoms to worsen
  • Your experience with assault has been very recent and you may first need to build coping skills or connect with other resources before joining
  • You are currently in crisis
  • You are having difficulty managing symptoms such as dissociation or flashbacks which may interfere with the group process
  • You have schedule conflicts that would make it difficult or impossible to commit to coming to group weekly
  • You are not looking for connection and community with other survivors


Please note that the information listed above is for your consideration only. The decision to join HEAL is ultimately made by interested students in collaboration with group facilitators after a pre-group meeting. If you are interested in the group but are not sure if it would be the right fit, we encourage you to contact the group co-facilitators (see above).

Adapted from Boston College Women’s Center (2023)

Members of the HEAL group are not expected or prompted to share the details of their experience with others during the group. HEAL is what is called a “Phase 1 Trauma Group,” meaning the focus is on exploring useful ways to cope with common symptoms/challenges, and to discuss the different ways sexual assault impacts group members’ lives now instead of focusing directly on members’ stories or narratives of their experience.

While UHCS offers some drop-in support groups, HEAL is a closed group. This means that once the group begins for the semester, new members are not added so that the group can serve as a safe and consistent environment for members to connect with one another over the course of the 7 or 8 weeks.

If you are interested in HEAL once the group has already started, please contact UHCS at 617-373-2772 or group co-facilitator Madi Bell, LCSW (Senior Assistant Director, OPEN) at [email protected] to be placed on an outreach list for future semesters.

Beyond the HEAL group, students may be interested in the following group support resources outside of Northeastern:


Please note that group offerings or format (i.e. in person vs. virtual groups) may be impacted by COVID-19 safety measures/protocol.

If you have experienced domestic/dating violence and want more information on groups, Sexual Violence Resource Center staff can work with you to identify possible supports. You connect with the SVRC by filling out this confidential service request form.