Frequently asked Questions

Team work, supporting each other

Are our sessions confidential?

Yes, what we talk about is confidential.  If needed I may seek permission from you to discuss aspects of your sessions with your doctor, or other health professionals involved in your therapy, or my supervisor. On rare occasions, if I have serious concerns for your safety, or the safety of another person, I am required by law to break confidentiality.



How does a session work?

Our first session

  • Try to be a few minutes early so you don’t feel rushed and have a chance to get familiar with your surroundings.

  • It’s likely that you will feel nervous. I understand this and will do my best to help you relax.

  • During this first session you will have the opportunity to tell me about yourself and what you hope to achieve. I will need to ask you about aspects of your life to understand how I can help. Be prepared for this and answer as best you can. It is an opportunity to get to know each other, to assess and to decide together what therapeutic pathway is going to be most suitable for your current situation. Tell me if you are feeling uncomfortable about anything I may ask.

What can I do to get the most out of my session?

Before we start:

  • As mentioned above, think about what you want to get out of therapy

  • Think about how you will know if the work we do together is working for you

  • Decide to make a commitment to attending your sessions

During our sessions:

  • Be an active participant in each session

  • Take responsibility for your learning

  • Talk to me about any concerns you have or what you are most worried about

  • It’s important to tell me if you don’t understand or agree with something I say – I need to know how you are feeling to provide the best help

  • It helps to be honest and open about yourself – don’t avoid discussing or revealing something. I will not judge you, and I am bound by confidentiality (as detailed above)

  • Remember to tell me about any successes you have had since the last session.

Between sessions:

  • Take some time to think about what you want to discuss next time.

  • You may be asked to complete tasks between our sessions. These tasks are designed to help you get the most out of your therapy and practise the skills you are learning. If you have difficulty completing these tasks, talk about it with me and together you may be able to find a solution.

What if we don’t get along?

For many people, therapy is a good experience that helps them make positive changes in their lives. However, sometimes things don’t seem to work out. This may be for a range of reasons, but sometimes people just don’t click.

If you have concerns or feel that your therapy is not working out for any reason, its ok to talk to me about it. This may be difficult to bring up but sharing your concerns may mean that we can work together to resolve the problem or change the approach to your therapy. If the issue can’t be fixed, then I will help you find another therapist or approach that is more suited to you as your wellbeing is my priority.

If for some reason I find that I am are unable to continue working with you, I will talk openly about this with you and discuss options.

What is the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, counsellor and coach?

A psychologist has spent all their study focusing on psychology. A psychologist may provide counselling and psychotherapy but will also draw from scientific research to ensure that treatments are effective and matched to the client’s needs. Psychologists have expertise in aspects of psychological functioning, including cognitive, emotional, behavioural, spiritual, and intellectual dimensions. Psychologists assess, advise, and assist people to improve their life adjustment and functioning. The settings in which psychologists offer their services are diverse, including schools, health centres and hospitals, community and sports organisations, the workplace, police and defence services, research institutes, as well as private clinics. Psychologists have at a minimum completed 5 years study and completed an internship in order to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. They are required to hold annual practising certificates.

A psychiatrist has first studied to become a Doctor. They then gone on to specialised study and work with complex mental illness, completing five years of training through the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Fellowship programme. Because psychiatrists are medical practitioners, they can prescribe medications, which psychologists cannot. Psychiatrists also hold annual practising certificates.

In New Zealand, psychotherapy commonly refers to psychological therapies that are based on psycho-dynamic theories of human behaviour and personality. These theories emphasise the importance of unconscious mental processes, early childhood experiences, and the role of emotions in shaping behaviour. Presently to legally practise in New Zealand a psychotherapist must: be registered and hold a current annual practising certificate.

Counselling, as a professional occupation, arose from more social settings. Broadly speaking, counselling focuses on treating unwanted or distressing emotional or behavioural symptoms. The aim of counselling is to ease emotional distress and help persons get back to a normal level of functioning. Most employers and professional bodies require their counselling employees to hold at least a Level 6 diploma in counselling or a degree in psychotherapy. From 2019, the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) will require new members to have a bachelor’s degree.

Coaching is meant to help “healthy” clients. Instead of helping them solve problems, coaching focuses on helping persons utilise their abilities more effectively than they have previously and is often used in business settings with executives. Though many coaches may have undertaken professional training, no license or official registration is needed to practise coaching.

All psychologists and Psychotherapists are regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA). Its purpose is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing mechanisms to ensure the lifelong competence of health practitioners. These mechanisms have been legislated in order to protect the public by providing reassurance of a psychologist's competence and fitness to practise, and by providing a system of accountability. Psychiatrists are regulated in the same way but under the Medical Council of New Zealand. Counsellors and Coaches are not part of these regulatory bodies.