For simplicity in these FAQs the term “counsellor” has been used for all the professions that provide therapy on our Directory (counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists etc.).

  • Generally counselling sessions are for 50-60 minutes.
  • Some counsellors prefer to see couples for 1.5 hours.
  • Sessions for children are often 30-45 minutes.

To keep fees as low as possible most counsellors don’t have receptionists. So while they are working with clients their phone will go to voicemail. Leave them a message or send a text/email and they will get back to you when they have a gap between clients. Sometimes this won’t be until the end of the day.

Most counsellors are happy for you to send them a text asking them to call you back. 

Lots of our counsellors offer online counselling if you are unable, or would rather not see them in-person go to the Find a Counsellor Directory and tick the box for “Online Consultations”

  • How often you see your counsellor will depend on your personal situation and the therapeutic approach your counsellor takes.
  • Your counsellor will discuss this with you and you will decide together what is needed and what is possible for you.
  • How often you have sessions may also change at different stages of your therapy depending on your needs.
  • Often in New Zealand people will choose to have sessions weekly or fortnightly.
  • Some therapeutic approaches work best when clients have 2-3 sessions a week. Therapists who use these approaches will explain how they believe this will benefit you and you can decide together whether this commitment would suit you and is possible for you at this time in your life.

If your circumstances mean you can’t have regular sessions talk to the counsellor about it when you make contact or at your first session. Most counsellors will be flexible.

  • All the counsellors listed on Talkingworks are in private practice and will usually charge for sessions. You can find out how much each charges by having a look at the ‘Fees’ section on their profile page.
  • Fees usually depend on the location and experience of the counsellor. Fees listed on Talkingworks range from about $70-$250 per session.
  • Some counsellors have access to funding that will help pay for your counselling. Information about the main funding sources are listed in the questions below

Work and Income (WINZ) subsidises counselling for people on benefits and low income earners through the Disability Allowance. You can receive this Allowance if you meet income criteria and your Doctor agrees that you need counselling. For current information see the WINZ website.

Is your income low enough?
You and your partner must earn less than the “income Limits”. In general, people on benefits will be eligible.

Weekly income limits (from all sources, before Tax) for Disability Allowance are (at 1 April 2023):

  • Single, 16 to 17 years – taxable income less than $631.50
  • Single, 18 years or over – income less than $786.69
  • Couple with or without children – income less than $1,171.42
  • Sole parent with 1 dependent child – income less than $880.73
  • Sole parent 2+ children – income less than $927.94

Your doctor needs to approve your need for counselling
You need to see your doctor or psychiatrist to have your need for counselling assessed. The Disability Allowance Application and the Disability Certificate – Counselling Form have sections that must be filled in by your doctor and counsellor before it will be processed by WINZ.
Can you see any counsellor?
Most counsellors, psychotherapists, and psychologists are able to see clients who are using the Disability Allowance. So when choosing a counsellor ask them if they see clients funded by WINZ before you make an appointment. If you are using the Talkingworks directory to find a counsellor tick “WINZ” in the filters to refine your search.

How much will you get?
The Disability Allowance is currently paid up to a maximum of $75.10 per week for adults (as at 1.4.23) to contribute to the cost of your counselling. It is added to your benefit and paid into your bank account. You are responsible for paying your counsellor. How much of your counselling fee will be covered by the Allowance will depend on how much your counsellor charges and how often you go. They will discuss this with you when they fill out your form.

Where can I get the forms?

You will need to get the forms that your counsellor and doctor need to fill in. Follow the instructions on the WINZ website to download the forms you need depending on your situation, and take them to your appointments

Who is eligible?
Any adult or child who experiences sexual violence in New Zealand, and in some cases NZ residents who experience sexual violence overseas.

  • sexual violence includes most forms of sexual violation, rape, unwanted sexual contact, or indecent assault on an adult
  • ALL sexual contact with children
  • female genital mutilation
  • it doesn’t matter how long ago it happened ACC will support you when you are ready
  • you DO NOT have to report the event to the Police to get counselling from ACC for sexual violence.

Everybody has a different response to the abuse they suffered. For example you might be depressed, anxious, have sexual problems, not be able to trust people, abuse drugs or alcohol, have nightmares or flashbacks, have relationship problems, or just feel unsafe. if you are unsure whether you meet ACC criteria talk to an ACC counsellor about your situation.


How much will it cost me?
It’s free, ACC pays the full cost of counselling for sexual violence. 


Can I see any counsellor?
ACC will only pay for counselling provided by an ACC Registered Counsellor.


How can I find an ACC registered counsellor?

  • phoning the ACC Sensitive Claims Unit on 0800 735 566
  • look on the ACC website
  • if you are using the Talkingworks directory to find a counsellor tick “ACC” in the filters to refine your search.


How do I apply for ACC counselling?
The first thing to do is to make contact with an ACC Counsellor (see above), they will explain the process to you. You don’t have to wait for ACC to process your claim, you can start therapy straight away. You can choose how long you want counselling for. You can take a break and come back to counselling at a later time, and it is okay to change counsellors if you want someone who suits you better.


What if I need longer-term counselling?
If  you and your therapist decide you need support for a longer time your therapist will lodge a claim for you. A dedicated Recovery Partner from ACC will then contact you. They’ll work with you to make sure you continue to get the help you need. Following this, you and your therapist will identify the services and support you may need.


If I want counselling for sexual abuse do I have to see an ACC counsellor?
You only have to see an ACC counsellor if you want ACC to pay for your therapy. There are many counsellors, psychotherapists, and psychologists who provide excellent treatment for sexual abuse who choose not to register with ACC. Likewise, some clients prefer not to put in an ACC claim and to pay for their counselling themselves.

Who is eligible?

  • family/whānau/close friends/witnesses/first on scene of victims of homicide. Maximum of 30 hours per person.
  • family/whānau/close friends/witnesses/first on scene of victims killed by a criminal act. Maximum of 30 hours per person.
  • victims of some serious crimes who are economically disadvantaged, hold a Community Services Card and have exhausted all other avenues for counselling. Maximum of 15 hours per person.
  • Victim Support sometimes makes referrals following civil defence emergencies.


How much will the counselling cost me?
Victim Support fully funds homicide counselling so your sessions will be free.


Can I see any counsellor?
This funding is only available for counsellors registered by Victim Support. Your local Office will have a list of who is available in your area.


How do I access Victim Support Counselling?

To get approval for counselling contact Victim Support on their 24 hour phone line 0800 VICTIM (0800 842 846). They will put you in contact with your local Office where you can make an application.

  • Many companies will pay for a few sessions of counselling via their Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
  • You will need to see a counsellor who has an EAP contract with your company.
  • Talk to your boss or human resources manager to find out how you can get EAP counselling.

The government has allocated some funding to pay for counselling for people with addiction issues and/or mild to moderate mental illness (don’t feel frightened by the words “mental illness” mild to moderate means ordinary people suffering from normal types of emotional or psychological stress).

The criteria for accessing the funding and what kind of treatment you can access varies depending which PHO your Doctor belongs to, so you need to ask your GP what is available in your area.

In general:

  • all young people aged 12 to 19 years should be able to get some sort of free mental health services
  • Māori, Pacific and/or people with low incomes have a higher priority for available funding