Life doesn’t just happen,
we make it happen,
and sometimes we need
a companion on the journey.
I have over 15 years experience as a counsellor which means that I have many tools for helping people in all sorts of situations. I am very open to whatever problems people have, and will adjust my counselling methods to suit your needs.
I trained as a counsellor with Human Development and Training Institute of NZ, and began working with Relationships Aotearoa (formerly Relationship Services Whakawhanaungatanga) in 2002 and was an accredited Domestic Violence programme facilitator, mediator, counsellor and workplace supervisor. I have also been a telephone counsellor with Lifeline, a face-to-face counsellor with Antara Free Natural Health Clinic, and a Family Visitor for Birthright (an organisation that assists single-parent families).
Before becoming a counsellor I worked in administrative roles for a variety of organisations (both private and corporate), and as a Job Search Advocate with Morgan and Banks helping people to find work after redundancy and re-structuring.
When couples are having difficulties I believe my role is to help them develop a greater understanding of each other, so that they can find their own solutions to their troubles.
In my experience as a counsellor I see that couples can make significant improvements in their relationship, once they understand their particular relationship dynamics. These dynamics are specific to each couple and they form patterns that can create a stranglehold on their efforts to change. I enjoy exploring these patterns with couples, helping them to identify any past issues that may be affecting their relationship. Once we really know what is going on between them, we can work out how they can stop engaging in the destructive dynamics and how they can create new patterns that are positive.
I have done a lot of counselling with couples and there’s nothing more rewarding than to see a couple getting closer and closer as time goes on. Once they know how to control the destructive dynamics they feel safer, and are able to be more vulnerable with each other. Underneath it all I find this is what most people are looking for, emotional safety in their relationship. Feeling safer improves communication, the intimacy develops and then the relationship flourishes.
I can assist couples who are separating to reach agreements outside of the Family Court regarding their children’s day-to-day care arrangements.
Parents can work together to ensure their children’s best interests are taken into account and both reach agreements they are happy with. This is done in an informal mediation environment. If you have any questions about the process please contact me to find out more.
Mostly people come to see me when they are struggling with grief that they don’t know how to handle.
Sometimes people are afraid of their grief, other people can think they’re going mad when they’re grieving, they might feel bad because they are feeling relief or anger rather than sadness, or they might feel their grief is a burden on others and want an outsider to talk to.
Unfortunately, if people don’t deal with grief it doesn’t go away, it just sits there and comes out in inappropriate ways. I find that unresolved grief is often buried in people who have anger management problems, they find themselves easily irritated and wanting to lash out verbally or even with physical violence. For other people using too much alcohol/drugs/food/exercise/work/sex to numb the pain of grief can result in all sorts of consequences for their family, work life or physical health.
Talking with a counsellor gives a grieving person a safe space to find out where they are at and to acknowledge everything they are feeling. A counsellor won’t judge, or tell them what to do, or take over the conversation with their own grief. Instead I can help you to understand your grief process and support you to get through it in your own unique way.
I find that people generally don’t understand what depression is, and yet it can be so debilitating in our lives.
Depression stops us from being motivated and achieving things that we want to. Our relationships suffer if the depression makes us moody, miserable, angry, or withdrawn. Partners and children can find dealing with a depressed family member very difficult, which creates a lot of tension in the household and if not treated can destroy relationships.
People who do know they are depressed will often try hard to cover it up because of the stigma, or simply because we’re just expected to keep going. I find this so unfortunate because depression is treatable. I can help people find out what is driving their depression, teach them strategies for minimizing its impact on their lives, and ultimately guide them to resolve the underlying causes. With effective counselling people start to look forward, to make plans and to find hope again that they have a future. If you are depressed there is hope, you don’t have to remain stuck, whatever situation you are in there is a way to find a life you will enjoy.
I endeavour to build relationships with my supervisees that enable them to walk into my room bringing vulnerability, grief, mistakes, successes and everything else that goes along with being a health professional, and being able to talk about these things in an environment of understanding, difference, experience and empathy. I will be your supporter, coach, mentor, and listener.
Supervision makes a significant contribution to keeping them healthy in an environment that involves transference, counter-transference, projection and other unconscious processes that could “get in the way” of effective counselling. For those dealing with issues around trauma, grief, violence, low self-esteem reflection of your practice will help you to deal with any vicarious or secondary trauma. I will challenge you in a way that encourages you to face your own vulnerability and insecurity with an “Adult” perspective, sifting out emotion and analyzing situations with a sense of valuing yourself, the work you do and how you can approach similar situations differently in the future.
For all health professionals
I believe supervision has a valuable role in providing a safe place to explore issues such as stress management, communication, workplace relationships, client relationships, work/life balance and boundary and ethical issues. Supervision is also a place you will be able to discuss any structural, systemic, ethical or relationship issues in the organization you work for in a confidential place. With supervisory support you may also be encouraged to promote change when appropriate.
I completed my Certificate in Supervision at HD&TI in 2006. I generally work from a Person-centred perspective incorporating Transactional Analysis and Emotionally Focused Therapy. I enjoy working with fellow professionals in a supervisor/supervisee relationship, and have experience in supervising the counsellors within Relationships Aotearoa, as well as external supervisees including counsellors, mental health workers and nurses. If you are considering supervision, I would be happy to have a half hour meeting with you for us to have the opportunity to discuss the way I work and for both of us to determine our compatibility. This would be free of charge.