Everybody experiences emotional difficulty from time to time. Talking with a counsellor helps. Whilst friends might offer support or advice, counselling can provide a safe, unbiased, confidential environment to help you explore and process things more effectively. A skilled counsellor will also help you develop better ways of coping with life’s challenges so that you are equipped to manage future problems as they arise.
We offer counselling for adults, both individually and couples.
What sort of problems can counselling help with?
People commonly seek counselling for problems related to relationships or life challenges.
- Relationship problems include troubled relationships, relationships that have ended, or difficulty creating or maintaining relationships.
- Life challenges may be work related, personal changes such as becoming a parent, or existential concerns such as isolation or reaching mid-life.
Problems such as these often play a part in mental health conditions such as:
Which style of counselling is best?
A counsellor is trained to understand individual psychology, relationship dynamics and family structures. An experienced therapist will be trained in a range of different therapeutic approaches and will be flexible in the manner in which they work. Rather than relying on a single, off-the-shelf modality, broad training enables a good counsellor to be adaptable in the way they work and draw on the most appropriate technique for you in each moment.
Is counselling confidential?
Everything you talk about in your counselling session is confidential. The exception to this is when somebody’s safety is at risk in which case counsellors in New Zealand are ethically bound to take appropriate action.
In practice this will involve talking with the client first and trying to reach an agreement on what to do. But in very rare circumstances, if agreement can’t be reached, the counsellor would be obligated to take steps to alleviate the safety risk.
How long does counselling go on for?
Counselling sessions usually occur weekly and are 50 minutes long (couples sessions are 60 minutes long). The number of sessions needed varies for each person. Some people might gain the changes they need from as little as one or two sessions but most will have ongoing appointments ranging from a few weeks to a few months or even longer if necessary.
Counselling is about facilitating change. Change can sometimes happen quickly but in reality, long standing change usually takes time; firstly, to understand, and then to implement and maintain.
At Auckland City Therapy we work with an open ended approach to counselling which means that the therapy continues – and we are available – for a long as you need. You decide when you feel ready to stop.
Do counsellors give advice?
It is commonly believed that counsellors are not supposed to offer advice but this is not strictly true. Generally speaking it is more beneficial if people can process and discover for themselves which decisions to make and the counsellors role is to help guide this process. However, there may be occasions when direct advice is helpful. In practice, rather than simply telling you what to do, the counsellor might share their opinion and then explore it with you to see if it is useful.
Do counsellors give homework?
Sometimes counsellors give ‘homework’ which means making a specific effort between sessions to put new learnings into practice. We believe that people will naturally implement the insights they gain without a therapist specifically instructing them to and so we don’t routinely prescribe homework. However, if we believe it will be useful then we will discuss this with you.
Finding the right counsellor
Research shows that a good fit between client and counsellor is one of the most important factors in a positive therapy outcome. Clinically speaking, a good fit is referring to what is known as the therapeutic relationship, or the therapeutic alliance. A good fit goes beyond simply finding someone that you like. A counsellor’s ability to empathise (understand how it feels in your shoes), to be congruent (genuine and real) and be unconditionally able to appreciate your struggle, are essential. Try to notice these qualities when deciding if you and your counsellor are a good match.
Individual or couples counselling
Counselling often helps people who are struggling with a relationship.
Individual sessions can help one partner explore in depth and make changes to themselves that affect the relationship (and vicariously, their partner). Joint seasons can help both partners understand and improve their styles of communication and their behaviour as the counsellor will see in detail how each person reacts to the other during the counselling sessions.
If you think you might benefit from individual sessions as well as couples sessions it is a good idea to come to the first appointment together so that you meet the counsellor at the same time and then discuss the best way to proceed. If you begin counselling on your own it might not feel like an equal alliance when your partner later joins. In this situation it might be helpful to begin the couples counselling with a different counsellor. At Auckland City Therapy we often manage this scenario with one therapist working with one partner and a different therapist working with the couple. Alternatively we can make a referral to another therapist at a different practice.
Face-to-face and online counselling
Ideally it is best to meet your counsellor in person but sometimes this is not logistically possible. Fortunately, online counselling using Skype or Facetime makes therapy accessible even if your counsellor is not nearby.
Online counselling is also helpful for people who need to travel for work as it allows continuity of sessions without interruption.
Booking your first appointment
The easiest way to book a counselling session is to fill in the form below and we will call or email you right back. We endeavour to respond within 4 business hours. Alternatively, you can call either of us directly. We can’t take phone calls when we are in client sessions but if you leave a detailed message we can call you right back. Our individual phone numbers and email addresses are on the contact page.
When you arrive at our office there is free parking outside on the street. Our office is in a lovely old villa in Mt Eden. When you arrive come through the front door and walk down the corridor to the waiting room and either Jon or Amanda (whoever you booked your appointment with) will meet you there. We don’t have a receptionist so you will not deal with anybody else during your appointment.