It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out;
it’s the grains of sand in your shoe.
Robert W. Service
I provide counselling for individuals, and couples. My experience is wide ranging and I can support people through a variety of issues.
People often tell me they seek counselling to help them to sort out confusion, to improve a relationship, to change something in their life they are unhappy with, whether for themselves, or for a loved one. Sometimes people want the relationship to be closer and without conflict, for the sadness and pain to be less, for the weight to be lifted, or for the worry to stop.
Whatever your reason for seeking a counsellor I am experienced in working with a wide range of issues and with all ages. I am a warm and calm person who listens to what you are saying; to what you want to be different and will help you to achieve your goals for counselling. I am non-judgemental, and I respect your need for confidentiality and a safe place to talk.
Some common things I’ve helped people with are:
As a neutral third party I can help a couple to become clear about what it is they want to achieve through couples counselling, and guide them to get there.
If you want help to build a more rewarding relationship:
It is my experience that couples who are committed to improving their relationship succeed in making the changes they desire. The counselling will follow a non-blaming approach that looks at what each partner is contributing to the situation the couple find themselves in. This helps a couple to become unstuck, and clarifies where their relationship is at. Learning new communication skills helps to minimise misunderstandings, which decreases frustration and conflict. When you each begin to feel heard and understood, intimacy gets easier, you will feel more in step as partners, and a more rewarding relationship will evolve.
If your goal is to separate:
I am knowledgeable about the processes involved, and experienced at helping couples manage this challenging time.
Anxiety is experienced by people on a continuum from experiencing worries and fear about a specific upcoming event, to frequent moderate worry about many aspects of their life, right through to panic attacks and difficulty functioning on a day to day basis; some people with severe anxiety can struggle to even leave the house.
Counselling for anxiety will provide you with tools to manage your anxiety and panic. I can teach you tools you can use in your everyday life that will soothe your anxiety and stop it escalating into a full on attack. You can learn to control and manage the anxiety so it doesn’t control you.
People with anxiety can find it very difficult to approach a counsellor for help. It is normal for them to experience a high level of anxiety at the beginning, but as the counselling progresses clients tell me it is actually a relief to finally tell someone just how awful it is to live with their worries and then be surprised as they work with their panic in the counselling session, and see that they really can learn how to bring their feelings of anything, down to levels that are manageable.
As people feel more able to control their symptoms their confidence increases, they feel better about themselves, and find themselves able to function better in the world. Ironically this improved confidence itself means that panic is aroused less often.
We experience many losses in our lifetime. Things like death of someone special, loss of a pet, job, relationship, home, access to children, health, miscarriage, abortion, adoption, they all generate some amount of grief.
Generally we are able to manage the grief ourselves. But there are times when a particular loss, or combination of circumstances finds us overwhelmed or stuck. Clients who are grieving need someone who will listen without judging them for the mixed bag of thoughts and emotions they are experiencing. Someone who can stay calm and listen to everything they need to express. Sometimes grief touches on something that has been locked away, that they might not have wanted to face, these people need a safe place to allow it to come to the surface so they can unpack it, and find a way to come to terms with it.
After counselling for grief issues people find their emotions are less intense and more manageable. When the emotion does surface they understand it now and find themselves less afraid of it. Many have been able to resolve some of the difficult feelings like pain, sadness, shame, guilt, or anger, and are able to move on in their lives. They look to the future in a different way, and even may find they look to the past in a different way.
Many people don’t connect the word “depression” to how they are feeling. Deep down some people might know they are depressed but not want to admit it to themselves. But what people do know is they want to stop feeling this way.
If you have persistent feelings of anxiety, sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, grief, guilt, worthlessness or helplessness. If you are having trouble with concentration, poor memory, decision making, lack of energy, disrupted appetite or sleep patterns, then it is quite possible you are depressed.
When we are depressed our thoughts, feelings and actions are usually stuck in a downward spiral. When we are caught up in negative thinking and are feeling miserable, it is extremely hard to get ourselves to do anything that could make us feel better. This is all pretty normal when we are caught by depression.
I will help you unpack your thoughts, and give you tools that you can use to feel a bit better and do a bit more. With depression making small changes in one part of our life, makes it easier to make another change, and then another. Eventually you will find yourself able to live life again.
Some people become depressed because they are trying to avoid feeling or doing something they are scared of. Depression is a way of shutting down our brains, we won’t feel the scary feeling, but we won’t feel much else either, including pleasure. Counselling can be a safe place to slowly find a way to talk about these things. It is easier to voice difficult thoughts and feelings when we are supported by someone who isn’t shocked by it, who isn’t going to make us feel bad for feeling whatever we are feeling. Once we have faced the things we have been avoiding, they lose their power to keep us depressed and we can make a plan for our future.
There is a very broad range of how badly people experience depression. For many people with mild to moderate depression, working together weekly for a brief period of time can improve your life considerably. You will have gained knowledge and tools to help you be more immune to depression in the future. You might also touch base with the counsellor occasionally when you find you need that bit extra support to halt any future depression before it takes hold.
I worked as a counsellor for Relationship Services/ Relationships Aotearoa for eight years before starting my own private practice. As a full member of the New Zealand Association of Counselling (MNZAC) I have the training and affiliation with a professional body which upholds high standards of professionalism and a Code of Ethics. I also have a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree and worked as a large animal veterinarian for 19 years prior to training to be a counsellor.
I am skilled in a variety of counselling methods including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Solution Focused Counselling, and Client-centred counselling. When I work with you I will select the counselling methods most suited to your individual needs and the goals you want to achieve.