I practice counselling from an integrated approach that I have developed as I studied and then developed further as I have grown as a professional working full time in counselling since 2009. My work is shaped by several counselling modalities including Person Centred, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Narrative ideas, as well as the use of Sand Tray alongside them.
I am also anchored in my practice by the values and ethical standards of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors, of which I am a Registered Member.
I see counselling as made up of two parts. The first part is the relationship between me as the counsellor and you as the client. I am able to offer an accepting, friendly, nonjudgmental relationship that is outside of your day-to-day friendships and family. I provide a private and confidential space where you are able to seek help, support and healing, often discovering it within yourself.
The second part is what I am trying to to do for you in the time when we meet. I see myself as working with you to clearly understand your hopes for counselling. I then work to create a space where, using my skills you can have a really good conversation with yourself, unlike one you are able to have with people you are deeply emotionally invested in. This space allows you to gain understanding of yourself and your situation and map it out clearly.
With clarity we are then able to collaborate to find the right approach to help you make a way forward in your situation. To give just a couple of possible examples, it might be helping you find ways to make meaning of your life in the midst of loss, or it could be developing understandings and strategies that work for you to in order to gain freedom from anxiety or depression.
I have worked with a wide range of people, circumstances and challenges they are facing. My goal is help you achieve your hoped-for outcomes in counselling.
What to expect
If you are interested in working with me, the first appointment will be one where I introduce myself to you a bit and ask you to do the same in a very relaxed and casual conversation. I will then listen to what your experience and understanding of counselling is and I will clarify my approach to your satisfaction. This normally takes about half the time or a bit less. If you are then feeling comfortable to continue working with me you can begin to talk about what your hopes for counselling are.
In counselling, I draw on a range of different talking therapy approaches and use a variety of tools that can be creative, active or reflective. I will simply introduce you to any counselling approach or tool we might use and you will be able to decide what feels comfortable and effective to you as we work together.
That you feel in control of your experience in counselling is of great importance to me.
What is Sand Tray work?
Sand Tray is a tool that that lets you process externally your inner thoughts, emotions and experiences.
It uses small objects and figures as symbols, allowing you to express in a symbolic language your inner world into a small protected space in the Sand Tray.
You, as the client, make your own meaning of the Sand Tray - I simply guide you through a process and allow you to make your own meaning of your Tray. I show you how you can use the symbols to gain information and insight for yourself into your challenges, as well as allow you to process experiences in a safe way. I often find clients are able to express and process that which they are otherwise struggling to. The Sand Tray allows alternative and hoped-for futures to be imagined and the impacts of past and current situations be more clearly understood.
I have worked using Sand Tray with clients of all ages and have found it to be a tool that helps many people cut through confusion and
stuck-ness. It also brings a great focus to sessions, bringing people to the heart of the matter quickly but in a very safe and protected way.
Sand Tray can also be used with couples or groups, and is very effective at helping each person be heard clearly while also bringing a shared understanding.
Some people fear that they are not creative enough or artistic enough to use this tool. In reality, it does not require special skills - just a willingness to trust intuition, to let go of the fear of "getting it right", and experimenting to see whether it is useful.