Frequent questions answered below:
- Counselling experience
- The training I have had
- Do I still go to church
- Professional membership
- Code of ethics
- Professional supervision
- Attitudes I bring to my work
- Expectations about number and frequency of sessions
- What to expect in a first session
What are your fees?
My fees from January 2015 are $150 including GST per session. This is in-line with other counsellors who charge more for couples than for individuals, and also fits with fees for therapists who have also achieved international Certification level in Emotionally Focused Therapy.
If your circumstances mean you really cannot afford $150, I am happy to discuss what it is that you can afford.
You can pay by direct debit, cash or cheque.
What experience of counselling do you have?
Over the last eleven years I have worked with a range of people referred to me by other counsellors, doctors, or otherwise been referred or come to me for help - relationship problems, stress, depression, ‘mid-life’ difficulties, anxiety, and other concerns (big and small).
Increasing over that time I increased the focus on my work towards relationship counselling, and in recent years I have worked only with couples, and I refer on other work to counsellors and therapists specialising in individual work.
Before the regulatory changes in 2014 which stopped couples being able to access government-funded counselling I was for 4 years on the Family Court list for counselling couples.
During my years as a priest I was always involved in pastoral care/counselling work, even when I was a post-graduate theology student overseas. After that time I worked for 7 years with Samaritans Wellington, including two as a director, and I provided on-site counselling support in the workplace during my time at KPMG.
What training have you had?
Since 2008 I have focused totally on Emotionally Focused Therapy, and since then I have completed:
- 2 day EFT introductory workshop (2008)
- EFT Externship (2009)
- EFT Advanced Core Skills training (2010)
- Participation in study groups and peer supervision for EFT for couples
- Significant private study of EFT- reading, video tapes, articles etc.
- Helping as a training assistant at other EFT courses run by an American trainer in NZ (2011, 2012 and 2013)
- A range of other workshops including:
- 2 day workshop on EFT with Couples and Trauma;
- 2-day advanced workshop on working with Affairs;
- Advanced workshop on working with Sexual Addiction;
- 1 day workshop on working with partners who have an 'avoidant' relationship attachment style;
- Several Advanced Clinical Practice workshops with trainers from overseas;
- Half-day on-line supervision workshops with a US based trainer;
- 2-day workshop on Working with Emotion
Just before this time period, between 2004 and 2007 I completed considerable professional training in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and other modalities, including:
- Over 50 days of training in NLP, including helping as a training assistant
- 11 days for qualification as a certified instructor of a 4-day course on relationships, communication and conflict called ‘Transforming Communication’.
- 12-day Satir Transformational Systemic Therapy Training – Level 1.
- 2-day workshop on Grief, Loss and Change.
- 5-day workshop in Self-Relations therapy, as well as much private study of this modality.
Earlier in my career during my seven years of standard training and study for the priesthood, besides studying non-directive approaches to Counselling, I completed many courses that provided a broad foundation for a person-centred counselling, including
- Study of human behaviour and theories of personal development.
- Ethics – study of moral behaviour, conscience, guilt, emotions, freedom, habits.
- Philosophical psychology – how we know things.
- Marriage – love, relationships, divorce, working with couples.
- Sexuality – sexual development, addictive and problematic sexual behaviour.
- Addictive behaviour – alcohol, drugs, obsessive compulsive behaviour.
- Death, dying and grief.
- Pastoral practice – obligations of confidentiality and care.
- Social philosophy – life in NZ, racism, culture, community.
I also completed an additional four years of post-graduate theology, two in Rome and two in Paris, where I had a full French government scholarship for a Masters degree in Theology (MTh). My understanding of life as it impacts on people in a counselling context was broadened by various specific study topics such as:
- Freud’s essay on “Melancholy and Grief”.
- Aspects of some modern psychoanalytical attachment theory, and the development of the sense of self.
- The role of ritual in social and personal crisis.
Do you still go to church?
It's not surprising that a lot of people still ask me this question! I don't have the faith I used to have and I am no longer a church-goer. So I don't bring 'religion' into the counselling room. I am also very open and non-judgemental about what others do or don't believe.
Sometimes people who have a faith deliberately choose to come to me because of my church background, study and experience, hoping that I will have a good understanding of a Christian or other faith perspective which many counsellors do not have - and it usually works pretty well.
Are you a member of a professional organisation?
I am a full member of the NZ Association of Counsellors (NZAC).
Do you subscribe to a code of professional ethics?
My work is carried out in accordance with the Codes of Ethics of the New Zealand Association of Counselling (NZAC).
Do you receive regular supervision?
My membership of NZAC requires me to receive regular supervision of my counselling work from someone who is suitably experienced to provide supervision, guidance and professional support. Apart from regular clinical supervision I met regularly with another experienced EFT therapist in Wellington for shared peer supervision.
What attitudes would you say you bring to your work?
When I am with my clients I try to work with:
- Acceptance and non-judgement - ‘everyone is a unique, valuable person…and life hurts for everyone, at some time’.
- Respect and kindness - people are often very hard on themselves, and get caught in patterns of 'beating themselves up".
- An attitude of learning with you - ‘let’s see if we can discover how you behave as you do, and find other ways that are more helpful to you’.
- A willingness to challenge (gently) - and to help you discover some things that can be helpful to know about yourself and that you can change.
- A supportive sense of humour - ‘let’s try and keep some perspective on all this, even when life seems to be hurting a lot’.
How frequently and for how many sessions do you normally see clients?
Mostly I follow the researched guideline for effective EFT work and meet weekly with clients. But sometimes this is difficult to achieve for some couples. The number of sessions varies from client to client based on many factors including impact of previous life events and experiences including childhood, trauma, addictions, and the current relationship. We discuss it as we go, and you can decide what you prefer and can afford, and when you want to finish.
There are some couples who complete some work very successfully within 6-10 sessions, and choose to stop then. This would be less than the researched norm for couples to fully complete EFT therapy work, to really solidly embed the change that they want. Where partners have had past trauma, either individually or in the relationship, we would expect that the counselling to take longer to create a safe and secure base for the relationship - but it is possible, and the methodology takes this into account in its design and structure.
What happens in the first session?
The first session includes the opportunity for us to decide whether we have a good fit for the work you want to do. During the session I will ask you to tell me about yourself, what has prompted you to come to see me and what your goals from counselling are.
If I judge that I am not the right person for you to work with, I will discuss options with you, including other sources of possible help.
You also have the opportunity to get a feel for how I work, and you can decide whether or not to continue with further sessions.
What about confidentiality?
Counsellors treat all communication with their clients as confidential, unless you give consent to particular information being disclosed.
Client situations are discussed in my individual supervision and in peer-group supervision. Supervisors and colleagues are equally ethically bound by their own professional body membership to protect anything that is shared in this confidential context.
If we meet or I see you outside the counselling room I will not intentionally initiate any sign of recognition or that we know one another. However you may choose to do that, or not.
An exception to normal confidentiality would be if I thought a client was at risk of harming him or herself, or someone else. I could then decide to talk to an appropriate other person. Such a decision would be made as far as possible after seeking the client’s agreement, and after consultation with a supervisor.