The Social Lab 1

The Social Lab

Building insight and creating self-change through interpersonal group relationships.

Facilitator: Bhavna Bharvani

This is a 9 week closed group of 90 minute sessions for people who would like to find more fulfillment in interpersonal relationships.

Do you find it difficult to connect with others?

Or find that you tend not to have the depth of relationships that you want?

The Social Lab provides a powerful opportunity to learn more about ourselves and how we relate to other people in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment. The principle behind the Social Lab is that whenever we enter into any group, that group becomes a social microcosm for our other social dynamics. Using this principle, The Social Lab helps participants understand what roles they typically take on within the dynamic of a group, how they tend to form relationships with others. Often, participants find that by being in a group, they re-experience interpersonal dynamics that have been distressing to them in other relationships. The Social Lab helps participants examine these maladaptive relationship patterns, understand how they developed, and then create new ways of relating and being. 

How do we do this?

It is important first to establish trust amongst group members and so this will be the focus of the first few sessions. Group trust is built on every participant’s commitment to strict confidentiality, consistent attendance, and authentic engagement in each session. Participants are asked at the beginning of each meeting to 1) mindfully pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and reactions as they occur moment to moment as the group takes place, and 2) report on what they notice coming up for them. This helps us slow down and examine the automatic responses that fuel our interactions with others and that otherwise go unnoticed whilst we are interacting. During the rest of the group time, participants are responsible for bringing up things that are troubling them, and the discussion is based on whatever the participants would like to talk about, including the responses to others’ contributions.  As this process is facilitated, participants will learn about the impact they have on each other, how people are perceiving them, and what influences their reactions to others. With this new awareness, members are invited to experiment with different ways of interacting with people and can learn to connect with others in a more authentic way.

The role of the therapist

The primary role of the therapist is to facilitate awareness and growth by helping participants notice their own automatic responses to others as well as the interpersonal themes and dynamics at play. The therapist does this by creating an atmosphere of trust and safety. Open communication is also encouraged towards the therapist by the group members.

What would make me a good candidate for this group?

This process group would be appropriate and therapeutic for an individual who would like to continue personal and interpersonal growth in a trusting group environment. Often, individuals are attracted to this type of group if they have experienced difficult interpersonal relationships and/or have unexpressed feelings that may interrupt the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Individuals who join typically want to feel better about themselves and also find more fulfillment in their interpersonal relationships. This type of group would be very difficult and therefore not therapeutic for an individual experiencing psychosis, mania, or who is not interested in collaborating with others.

An initial 30 minute session with the facilitator will be necessary prior to the start date to assess whether the group is beneficial for you.


Bhavna Bharvani - Clinical Counsellor Relationship Counsellor

Specialising in LGBTQIA + Trauma & Self Actualisation

Bhavna is a US-trained Associate Professional Clinical Counsellor, registered with the California Board of Behavioural Sciences (APCC#3254). She is trained in San Francisco, where she worked with individuals, couples, teenagers, and LGBTQIA+ folks whose lives have been disrupted by chronic and complex trauma. Bhavna has worked across a range of community mental health settings, high schools, and ….

The Social Lab 2
Book a Group Session

We recognise the courage it takes to seek professional support. If you have questions and would like to know more about working with us, please check out our frequently asked questions or fill out the contact form below. Once you have submitted a contact form, a member of our team will be in touch with next steps within 48 hours.

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How to Get Here

Use Exit D1 to leave Central MTR Station.

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 6:30 pm
9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Sunday & PH
Contact Us

8th & 10th Floor VC House,
4-6 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong

Please note: Central Minds voicemail and email are only checked during normal office hours. In case of emergency please attend your nearest emergency room or call 999 for immediate assistance.

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Bhavna Bharvani

MA Clinical Counselling from California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco

BA Psychology from Georgetown University, Washington DC

EFT Couples Therapy – Certification Track

Gottman Method Couples Therapy – Level 2 Certified

EMDR Basic Training – pursuing EMDRIA Certified Therapist status

Bhavna is a US-trained Licensed Professional Clinical Counsellor, registered with the California Board of Behavioural Sciences (LPCC 10182). She started out practicing in San Francisco, where she worked with individuals, couples, teenagers, and LGBTQIA+ folks with chronic and complex trauma. She worked across a range of settings including community mental health, schools, and residential substance use treatment centers.

Bhavna is passionate about collaborating with adolescents, adults, and couples of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender expressions so that they can know themselves deeply and cultivate fulfilling, meaningful lives and relationships.

Couples: There is something undeniably powerful, and healing about being in a secure loving partnership. However, when our important relationships come under stress, they can be completely debilitating. Bhavna provides a safe space for couples to identify negative patterns of interaction, access and communicate their primary needs to each other, cultivate the intimacy they want in their relationships, and work through sexual issues. Bhavna is also polyamory and non-monogamy informed, and kink/BDSM aware. In addition, Bhavna also works with clients who wish to end relationships through an intentional breakup process.

Adults: Conscious and unconscious beliefs, assumptions, and relational patterns can hold people back from living the lives they envision. Bhavna is passionate about helping people move through “stuckness”, manage depression and anxiety, overcome self-doubt, deal with change, learn coping skills for stress, heal shame, shift their inner critical voice and befriend themselves, and develop greater awareness of their feelings, needs, and desires.

Teens: Bhavna helps teens cope with the challenges of adolescence, including the pressures that come with a 24/7 online presence, anxiety around school/exams/friends, depression, feelings of inadequacy, and addictions. Bhavna also provides coaching to teens to unlock their potential, motivation, and self-confidence, and helps bring them in alignment with their goals.

Bhavna’s style is collaborative, warm, relational, and non-judgmental. She believes that trust and connection with the therapist are essential components of successful therapy. Her goal is to provide culturally-sensitive, empathetic, and strength-based psychotherapy through an integrative approach. She is primarily client-centered and combines techniques from acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness principles, attachment theory, narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy to suit the unique needs of each individual client. 

In addition to her therapeutic work, Bhavna works with Mind HK to reduce the stigma around mental health issues by developing and delivering training on Mental Health First Aid in workplaces. Prior to becoming a therapist, Bhavna worked in investment banking, television journalism, and market research. She has substantial experience relating to people from diverse backgrounds, having worked in Mumbai, New York, London, and San Francisco.

Bhavna is currently fully booked and not taking on new clients.