Frequently Asked Questions

Alcohol & drugs

Q: I have a problem with alcohol. Have you a male therapist you'd recommend?
A: Sure - See our alcohol and drug specialists who are experienced in working in this area.

Q: Over the last couple of years of marriage my drinking and smoking of cannabis has increased to the point that I am blacking out and being abusive to my partner in a vocal way, she has now asked me to move out and I have also lost a lot of time to be with my daughter. While this was going on I also received a promotion at work which is great but now I must perform even more and it can be stressful to say the least. I am always having panic attacks and I seem to find once I start thinking about anything negative it seems to come true. Who would you suggest I talk to? I live in Sandringham at the moment. Many thanks.
A: See our alcohol and drug specialists. They are also very competent to work with the anxiety and panic attacks which are not uncommon with alcohol and drug use. Please do contact one of them for a chat. We will do our best to find a way to meet your needs or to suggest alternatives.

Q: I'm 22 and when I drink I get out of control angry. I have a really short temper even when I'm sober. I get quite depressed after this and then I want to hurt myself. Other than these incidents life's good. What can I do? I feel like I'm going crazy or that I have some kind of mental illness. I didn't have the best childhood also.
A: Well done! What you have just done is tremendous! The next step is making contact with one of our team.

Q: I have been in a relationship for 2 years now. But when I drink a lot of alcohol I tend to get angry at anything my partner says? I blackout and find out the next day I have been rude and disrespectful to her. I don't want to lose my partner because she couldn't be any more perfect but my I don't know where this anger is coming from. Help please
A: Doing work on the anger without looking at the alcohol is like putting water into a leaky bucket. The first step is getting an alcohol assessment. You can do this through one of our alcohol and drug counsellors or get one free though CADS (Community Alcohol and Drug Services). You can call CADS on 09-845 1818.

Q: Would you be able to recommend the best person to contact; my partner is an alcoholic who also messes with substance abuse. He has a very short temper and the inability to deal with stress. He is not violent though. He has issues with his father and our relationship is not working although I really want to try and do what I can to help him. He suffers from anxiety, depression and insomnia. Please help.
A: See our alcohol and drug specialists. Please do contact one of them for a chat. We will do our best to find a way to meet your needs or to suggest alternatives.

Q: I'm a 23 year old female I have an alcohol problem its reaching my relationship with my partner. We have been together for 8yrs we always have arguments then it leads me to turn to alcohol to make me feel better. I can't get over my partners past with girls he's been with. I get angry easily and take it out on him or my kids or sometimes just get up and go and drink with friends. Can you please tell me what I should do about this?
A: It's time to seek help -see our alcohol and drug specialists.

Anger

Q: My partner thinks I have minor anger issues. Who can I talk to as I want a little help resolving some of these.
A: Any of the team would be fine. I suggest you browse the profiles of the therapists that are most conveniently located for you, give one or two of them a call and have a chat about their fees, available times etc. This will give you a feel for who you would like to work with and take it from there.

Q: How to control angry?
A: Self help books are a good place to start. One book I have recently come across is a new NZ book out from Skylight called the Anger Toolkit. It is written for teens but I have found that adults also find it useful. You can order it from their website skylight.org.nz. There are also some wonderful self help websites such as Auckland University's Calm website calm.auckland.ac.nz. Another possibility is attending an anger management program such as those run by North Harbour Living With Violence, Shine or Man Alive. The third possibility is one-on-one therapy which is where we fit in. We can help you figure out what's going on at a psychological level. Contact any of our team to have a chat about their services or to make an appointment

Q: Hi I'm 14 and a half turning 16 and I always have had anger issues and whenever I get upset or depressed I cut myself. Is there a possibility that there could be a therapist for my own in Auckland, Henderson?
A: Could you get in contact with Caroline. She is a therapist out West who works with children and adolescents. She may be able to work with you or if not should be able to advise you what services are available in the area and how to access then.

Q: H I am concerned for my brother he has an anger problem such as holding grudges very abusive verbally and physically holding onto a lot of pain such as his past and now trying to commit suicide how do I help him?
A: For general advice and support you friend could call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours service staffed by experienced nurses and talk to them about your concerns. You could also contact a support organisation like Supporting Families in Mental Illness sfauckland.org.nz. Please note that if at any stage there is imminent risk him harming himself or another then seek urgent help. The emergency phone number for the Auckland Mental Health Crisis Team is 0800 800 717 or call emergency services 111.

Q: I've a partner who is a positive and loving person. But she has the need to control the family environment and social scale, and when under the influence of alcohol, it just all blows up and results in hurting loved ones. She can switch and over reacts at anything she sees she does not like. Please help.
A: When someone is in denial it is very difficult to get through to them but you do them no favours by tolerating or excusing their abusive behaviour.

Q: I'm a young student but when I'm at home I'm always out of control and I'm always not getting along well with the people that stays with my father and stepmom. I'm not really good at talking to others of my personal problems of want I have been through the last few years I grew up in a violent childhood but managed it through my age and teenager now I'm a fully grown young women etc etc.
A: I'm sorry to hear you not coping so well. If you are at immediate risk of harming yourself or another then please seek urgent help. The emergency phone number for the Auckland Mental Health Crisis Team is 0800 800 717. Otherwise please contact one of our team to make a counselling appointment.

Q: Our daughter is 6.5 years old and she is very angry lately if we don't let her go to our neighbour's house for example, or invite some school friends of her, or not buy her something that she saw in a store. Her anger becomes stronger and stronger with drama, tears, bad language, nervous tensions, blackmailing us, etc. We tried several things but nothing is working. If you fulfill her wishes on Sunday and on Monday not the drama starts over and over. Please advise where we should go to ask for help. Thanks.
A: I suggest you contact one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists.

Anxiety

Q: I think I may have G.A.D (generalised anxiety disorder), as the symptoms fit they way I have felt for the last 5 years. How would I go about sorting this issue out, or diagnosing it? I have been trying to come to see someone about it for years, but as I get anxious and stressed I worry that someone will reject what I think, so I cannot persuade myself to go. I'm unsure what I should do about this.
A: Sounds like the level anxiety and stress is significantly impacting your self confidence. While each clients journey is unique psychotherapy allows you to build up a trusting relationship with your therapist so that you can untangle the symptoms and delve into their origins. The very act of doing this within the context of a relationship where you are not judged but accepted and understood is deeply therapeutic and allows you to discover new perspectives and capabilities within yourself.

Q: I have suffered from generalised anxiety disorder for years, but it has got a lot worse recently. I work in Epsom and live in Ellerslie. Who would you most recommend for helping manage anxiety in the areas I live and work?
A: I am happy to recommend any of the team for generalised anxiety disorder as they are all well qualified and experienced. In your area you have a good selection to chose from. As choosing a therapist is such a personal thing I encourage people to actively browse the profiles and give one or two of them a call and have a chat about their fees, available times etc. This will give you a feel for who you would like to work with.

Q: Extreme anxiety - do you have someone that deals with this?
A: Sure - as psychotherapist we are all trained and experienced in working with people experiencing intense emotional states.

Q: I've been sent to hospital about three times last month for inflammation in my heart and at the same time I quit smoking cold turkey. During the time I was going through withdrawals and stress through family losses. Now I'm feeling a lot scared worried and I think my anxiety level is a bit high. It is affecting my work environment and my family. I sometimes think when I have little aches on my chest that I'm going to have a heart attack which makes me panic and feel that I'm going to black out. I've seen my doctors and they think that I am still going through the smoking withdrawals. Is there a way I can be helped.
A: Goodness you have are going through a lot. Sounds likes it is really taking an emotional toll. I would certainly recommend you get some help so you have a chance to talk about this and make some sense of it.

Q: All of a sudden I have started to worry like crazy about everything. My husband is a huge worrier and suffers from anxiety issues all the time, I have always been the 'stronger' one of the two of us and supported him all the time, I used to be so laid back but now I feel like I am starting to be just like him. It is driving me crazy as I have this horrible feeling of guilt all the time and my mind is going crazy, I wish I could just turn off my thoughts. What can I do...?
A: To help manage such symptoms there are some wonderful websites such as Auckland University's Calm website http://calm.auckland.ac.nz. If you have already explored self-help options then I suggest seeing one of our team to figure out what's going on.

Q: Hi, At times I suffer anxiety and depression, I feel detached from others and even myself. I tried counselling which helped a little. Sometimes it's hard to smile and I've noticed I'm not breathing well, I feel screaming might be good but strangely just don't know how, or that I can. I'm not if it's important and what to do if anything. Any advice appreciated.
A: Sounds like some early childhood stuff is being triggered. Some depth psychotherapy may well help you get a handle on this.

Q: Is there someone who could help with my problem, I get very uptight as a passenger driving at night in any weather especially on windy roads due to an accident over 20 years ago. I get extremely anxious and upset which normally leads to conflict with the driver and me in a worse state by the end of the journey. Any suggestions?
A: Such reactions to trauma are not uncommon though they generally lessen over time. I would suggest contacting any of our team have a chat to them and take it from there.

Q: I was wondering if your therapists know about how to treat adult separation anxiety disorder. I think I've had separation anxiety on and off since childhood and its progressed into adulthood. I am seeing a therapist at the moment but I'm not sure he understands much about separation anxiety. I really need help on getting rid of it so I can have a healthy relationship.
A: Childhood relationship and attachment are central to psychotherapeutic training so any of our team should be able to understand and work with separation anxiety.

Q: 5 ways to reduce unwanted stress.
A: 1 Deep breathing, 2 Exercise, 3 Creative outlets, 4 Enjoyable activities, 5 See a therapist to work on the underlying issues.

Q: My ex husband suffers from depression and extreme anxiety. This has been for some years and he admits he is not enjoying life. He obsesses over various things, at the moment money and "blows up" when something unexpected happens causing great stress for me and my teenage kids. I feel like his brain is damaged. He won't seek medical help. Where can my kids and I get help dealing with him and the effects of his behaviour? I am at breaking point and very concerned about the longer term effect his behaviour will have on my kids.
A: This certainly draws attention to impact of such problems to those around them, particularly their family and children. Any of our team would be happy to support you and help you find a way forward.

Asperger's & Autism

Q: Who can diagnose Asperger's?
A: Asperger's is a complex and specialist field. I suggest you get in contact with Colleen who is an specialist in this field.

Q: My daughter is 12 years old. She has had difficulty all her life socially, is very shy, cries, and when her anxieties are very high doesn't eat, drink talk and goes into a deep depression. She's been under wharanki for two years they won't say she has Asperger's just shows traits. Our GP has full out a medical and has said under his opinion she has Asperger's. She's has been her GP for 8 years. I'm also a trained special needs teacher aide and I have always thought she showed many traits of Asperger's.... doesn't like loud noise ...doesn't like taste and texture of certain foods ...gets fixed on certain things doesn't like change at all ... never ever had a babysitter cries at the thought of having to do something that's out of her comfort zone...has just started to sleep in her own bedroom in her own bed the list goes on and on and she isn't as mature as her peers and talks like a baby but has a body of a teenage girl. My daughter is medicated as life goes on its getting harder for her to grip the world and she seems to have longer episodes of anxiety and depression and harder for anyone to connect to her. She starts college 2012 its a nightmare already, meds have been increased she just had a week in bed wouldn't connect to anyone my GP the school and she is under the RTLB are wonderful but what else can I do ...please help. It also doesn't help that I have a problem with depression and her older sister has been sick with glandular fever I have no one to turn to as my family are all leaving the country I don't know what support groups there are please can you help me. Kind regards.
A: Asperger's is a complex condition. I suggest you get in contact with Colleen who is a specialist in this field. She is all well qualified to support you in the various challenges you are currently facing.

Q: I suspect my husband may have Asperger's syndrome. How can I get him tested? Is there help for me? I find it difficult to teach him how to parent and often end up parenting him.
A: I suggest you get in contact with Colleen. She will either be able to help you or point you in the right direction.

Q: I have looked for evidence of the effectiveness of RDI and there is none as yet. Other than articles written by the developer of the approach. Are you able to tell me of any other published research? I have a child with autism and obviously don't want to spend a great deal of money on an unfounded therapy.
A: I understand there is a recently published study. Contact Colleen for a copy.

Bipolar

Q: Would you be able to recommend the best person to contact. My ex husband has been diagnosed and treated for bipolar condition and has narcissistic traits. Although we have been separated for a couple of years I am now finding it harder to cope and need assistance to develop strategies to deal with the aggressive emails and texts I continue to receive. I would like the children to have a relationship with their Dad but I am tired of having to modify my behaviour to keep the peace.
A: Any of our team would understand the toll that aggression and narcissism can take and the general difficulties of separation and divorce particularly where there are children.

Q: Hey there. My daughter's father just told me the other night that he has bipolar he was diagnosed a few years ago is there a chance my daughter could have it as she has erratic mood swings and temper.
A: It is a possibility but there could also be a thousand other explanations. You may wish to consult with one of our child therapists.

Q: I'm concerned that my partner may have ADHD or bipolar disorder which is undiagnosed. I have looked up on the internet and found most of the symptoms in him and its becoming worse. Don't know where to go from here, can you help?
A: We can do a preliminary assessment and refer on for psychiatric help where necessary. If you feel he is a risk either to himself or to others is important to take this very seriously. I suggest you call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours service and have a chat to them about your concerns.

Q: Hi I'm in my 20's and I've used antidepressants for treatment for depression for almost 10 years. However I saw a doctor years ago who wanted me to visit someone at mental health for what I think he suspected to be bi-polar. I didn't go. I'm too embarrassed to talk about the things I've done (he was a great doctor and I opened up to him a bit more) I've had one session with a doctor and counsellor recently, and just started on antidepressants. I feel like my risk taking tendencies get worse on antidepressants, but really helps with my depressive side. I can't seem to talk to anyone about this honestly. Who should I contact?
A: Sounds important that you find someone that you can talk honestly about all this so you can keep yourself safe. I suggest you get in contact with one of the team and take it from there.

Q: We have a 31 year old son who lives overseas and was diagnosed with bi polar two years ago. He has subsequently met someone and has had a child. Before our grand daughter was born his behaviour towards me changed. He suddenly started to believe that he had had a dreadful childhood and I had personally done it to him. He deliberately sabotaged the relationship between his partner and me and told her incredible lies. She loves him so she believes him. We are not allowed to see our grandchild because he has said I am toxic and poisonous and he wants to protect his family from me. He has walked out of our lives and wants no further communication with us. He had a great childhood and wanted for nothing and I have always been incredibly close to him. How on earth do I live the rest of my life without my son in it. I am incredibly sad and honestly feel that I don't want to live the rest of my life being unhappy everyday. Can you ever learn to accept that a child hates you and doesn't want to be in your life. He wants to be dead to us but I can't do that. Who on earth can help me with dealing with the future.
A: You are welcome to make an appointment with any of our team however perhaps it would be just as useful to connect with other families effected by mental illness - see Supporting Families in Mental Illness sfauckland.org.nz who offer information, support and run groups for family members.

Borderline personality disorder

Q: Is there any support for people with BPD (borderline personality disorder) through Auckland Therapy?
A: As psychotherapists all of our team are experienced in long term work with clients with personality disorders including BPD.

Bulling

Q: I am 15 yrs old and I've been bullied at my school since I was in fifth grade. The school got me talking to a social worker bout my anxiety and the bulling but here lately it feels like it's getting worse. I get nervous around everyone I come home from school and just lock myself in my room. I feel nervous I don't eat or drink. I won't talk to any of my friends so now they think there is something wrong with me. What do I do? Help......
A: Sounds like you are developing increasing anxiety symptoms from the ongoing bullying . I would encourage you to get further help. I suggest you give 'What's up?' a call. They are a phone counselling service for young people facing difficulties just like you. To talk to a counsellor, call 0800 WHATSUP or 0800 942 8787 free from 1pm to 11pm, seven days a week. Also have a look at thelowdown.co.nz - a brilliant kiwi website. Whatever you do please keep reaching out.

Q: My 14 year old son is feeling alienated and feels he doesn't fit in at school. He has been like this for quite some time. He feels like he is surrounded by morons. I think he is depressed. He has talked to me about school which sounds like hell on a daily basis. He is being bullied and has a low self esteem. He rarely smiles anymore. I want someone to listen to him and give me an opinion on what he needs. It's breaking my heart to see him in pain.
A: How very distressing. One of our specialist child & adolescent therapists are the ones to contact.

Children & young people

Q: Our 18 year old son has trouble dealing with girl friend problems. He cannot cope when there is conflict and becomes very depressed and has suicidal thoughts. This lasts for about an hour then he comes right and says he doesn't know why he goes downhill like that. He has been to specialist counselling previously but had no positive effect. His coping mechanisms seem to be working but if here is any advice you can offer please do.
A: It can be tough because therapy is such a personal thing - sometimes people just don't click with the first therapist or first therapeutic approach - what suits one person may not suit another. It is important to realise there are many different therapists and therapies. Also the more active engagement and buy-in you can get from your son the more likelihood of success.

Q: I have a 14 year old son who has problems with anxiety and has developed rituals such as hand washing. These rituals are only on a small scale, so far and do not interfere with his life. My question is, would it be better to get help now or would this make him worse as he has a 'label' attached to him as anxious or phobic. I have spoken to him about anxiety as I also suffer from it but it made him worse as it made him worry more that he had a 'condition'. Thanks.
A: I suggest you contact one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists and have a chat to her about them situation and their services.

Q: I am very worried about my 10 year old daughter, she has performed minor sexual acts with my 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter. I don't know how to talk to her about this I don't know who to talk to about this and I'm scared that something similar has happened to her. Please can you tell me where to go from here?
A: I suggest you contact specialist child & adolescent therapists and have a chat to them about the situation and their services. They are ACC registered and conversant with such matters.

Q: Hi , I am a mum of a 16 year son. My son is not too well he was taking drugs and smoking weed in the past. Because of using this substances he said he can hear people talking he will laugh. After seeing doctors he was prescribed Olanzapine and Lithium. Sometimes he is very irritating and doesn't want to have shower brush his teeth. I need help for him don't know what to do, got the local community helping me. Can you please give some advice or help.
A: Try getting him with Marinoto Child and Youth Mental Health Services - they have a good name with these sorts of issues.

Q: At what age can one see a therapist on their own? as in a minor
A: Child and adolescent psychotherapists such as our specialist child & adolescent therapists work with children of all ages. The age limit for adult psychotherapy would generally be around 16 but this would need to be confirmed with the particular therapist.

Q: As counsellor when a teenager comes to you and wants details about how she can go successfully through suicide what will you tell her as your client.
A: With sensitivity, professionalism and regard to legal and ethical responsibilities.

Q: I am a concerned grandmother. My grand-son is self harming by pinching himself badly. He is very shy. He hates himself says nobody will listen to him he is scared of failure. Both his parents are teachers. Can you help? I don't know how much I can afford for therapy either.
A: Sure - get in touch with our specialist child & adolescent therapists.

Q: Hi, I have a son who to me seems normal, he does struggle fitting in with other boys from time to time as he has issues with losing games or losing control in play situations, to me normal 9 year old behaviour that has been constantly improving for the last couple of years. My wife has always been concerned with this behaviour and talks to others. A part time teacher who helps both of our children with after school extra work has suggested that he may have mild Asperger's, she has no qualification to say this in my opinion, my question is, do you support educational professionals making these kind of statements and should parents take them seriously? Thanks.
A: To put your minds at ease maybe you should consider getting as specialist professional assessment - Colleen is qualified and experienced in childhood Asperger's assessment and diagnosis.

Q: I suspect my child is being sexually abused, who do I talk to or what do I do?
A: The NZ Children's Commissioner has published a set of guidelines - here is the link to a copy of their guidelines on their website - Children's Commissioner Guidelines. You could also contact one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists who are experienced in these matters.

Q: My son is 14 years old, he doesn't have many friends. In fact, the only friends he has are 2 girls. He just sits around all the time and plays with his Bratz dolls. He brushes their hair and changes their clothes. His favourite holiday is Halloween, when he can dress up. He is very mild tempered, quiet, and very much to himself. He has told me before that he wishes he was a girl. But, he also has said that he doesn't see himself with another man in adulthood. I just don't know what I should do, or if I should do anything. Please direct me. Thank You.
A: Growing up with gender traits that vary from the social norms can be tough on kids. Not only may it be confusing for them they are at risk of being bullied or ostracized. This in turn can lead to social withdrawal, anxiety or depression. I suggest you contact one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists for further help.

Q: I am about to have my stepson become part of our household due to the fact his mother can't take him anymore and is scared of him as he violently attacked his teacher leaving him black and blue he is ADHD and is a teen. What help does he need and could you help him.
A: I suggest you contact specialist child & adolescent therapists. and have a chat to them about the situation and their services.

Contacts

Q: Method of contact please.
A: Please contact members of the team directly. Their contact details are on their profile pages.

Costs

Q: What is the average cost per hour for therapy?
A: All our team are independent private practitioners so receive no government funding and have their own fees policies. Normally these are in the $90-$130 range per session. Some therapists have room to negotiate or offer advice on alternatives if this is unaffordable. Please do contact a therapist and have a chat. We will do our best to find a way to meet your needs or to suggest alternatives.

Q: I am struggling with a few issues and need to see a counsellor, but I'm broke. Is there any free or subsidised services? I'm not a student or beneficiary but I only work part time.
A: There are a number of possible options - see our page on special funding.

Q: I am wanting to know if you work alongside WINZ and how much per hour?
A: Yes our team can work alongside WINZ however there may to be a top up fee. Please contact a therapist to discuss further.

Q: Is it free for people under 18?
A: Unfortunately not as we receive no government funding.

Q: My Father in-law died some months ago after many years of Marriage. I am becoming increasingly concerned about my Mother in-law, who doesn't appear to be coping well at all. She does receive the pension and now also a living alone allowance. The funeral costs really set her and us back which brings me to my question - Do you know if she may qualify, for any financial help (from WINZ or anyone else) which may enable her to have some grief counselling?
A: Yes as a beneficiary she should be eligible for a WINZ counselling subsidy with a doctor's recommendation. WINZ counselling funding is available to beneficiaries and low-income workers. It requires some form filling (Disability Allowance Application Form & Disability Allowance Counselling Certificate) plus a doctor's sign off. There is info on their website but it is not easy to follow. Check with WINZ in person for more details on income thresholds etc.

Q: Can I claim costs from Southern Cross Medical Insurance?
A: Yes on some of the comprehensive plans (but not most)  - check with Southern Cross.

Q: I'm wondering what the normal rate for counselling is. I am leaving school in a few weeks but still need to see a counsellor after I leave. I am 18 years old and don't have much money. Is there any free options for me out there?
A: All our team are independent private practitioners so have their own fees policies. Normally these are in the $90-$130 range per session. If people are struggling financially I generally suggest people phone around and have a chat to a few therapists to explore options. These may include suggesting alternatives, checking out to see if you are eligible for a subsidy such as the Work an Income (WINZ) subsidy. Some therapists have some room to negotiate their fees. It sounds like you may be seeing a counsellor at school - if so they may have some suggestions. How about Youthline - as well as their telephone counselling they offer face-to-face counselling. You would need to check with them regarding their fees which are either free or low cost.

Q: Can you please let me know what the prices are for couples counselling?
A: All the team work individually so prices vary. Normally these are in the $90-$140 range per session. Some therapists have room to negotiate or offer advice on alternatives if this is unaffordable. Please do contact a therapist and have a chat. We will do our best to find a way to meet your needs or to suggest alternatives.

Q: Do you offer discounts for university students?
A: Our team are independent private practitioners so have their own fees policies. Some therapists have room to negotiate for those who might otherwise find therapy unaffordable. Where your doctor recommends counselling students and beneficiaries and even some low income may apply for a WINZ subsidy. Contact one of our team members for further details.

Q: Are your practitioners registered for EAP?
A: Hmm - bit complex - there are different EAP companies and different practitioners are registered with various of the companies - probably easiest if you go through your employer's HR - otherwise is there is a particular practitioner you wish to work with you would need to contact them directly and see what can be organised.

Cultural issues

Q: Does anyone work with TCK's (third culture kids) otherwise known as Global Nomads. I.E. adults who have issues relating to moving cultures, houses etc throughout their lives?
A: All of our team recognize and appreciate the importance of cultural identity and routinely work with the struggles of cultural difference. Any of our team are well qualified and experienced to work with cultural issues.

Depression

Q: Hi, I’m facing a deep depression issue especially after breakup with my girlfriend. And now it’s so intense that I can’t able to do even a normal work of my life. Even I start hating my life. What can I do? Please help.
A: I'm sorry to hear of your breakup and subsequent depression. It would be good for you to make and appointment to see one of our team. This may take a few days to organize so if you need immediate support then please do contact one of the helplines such as Youthline 0800 37 66 33 or Lifeline 0800 543 354.

Q: I have been depressed for many years. I am in my 30's and have a low paying job and have a learning disability. I cannot attract women of find a life partner. I am terrified I will be alone all my life and have contemplated suicide once 3 years ago. Why are there no male therapists or male services to mentor and deal with people like me.
A: I am sorry to hear of your struggles. Please contact one of our experienced male therapists to discuss possible options.

Q: Hi there, my daughter is 17 and I'd say suffers from heavy depression and anxiety. She won't get out of bed or eat and never ever goes out - the only place is work once a week. She never wants to go to school and I fear she might hurt herself. She refuses to go to the doctor or a counsellor to get help and I don't know what to do anymore how do I get her help? I don't want to contact the school counsellor as I fear if they start contacting her about it at school she won't go anymore. Please help.
A: Give Healthline 0800 611 116 a call. It is a free 24 hours service staffed by experienced nurses and talk to them about your concerns.

Q: How do you know if you have depression? What's the difference between depression and having a rough time for a bit?
A: Hmm complex question - here's one way of looking at it - if you are having a rough time in one or even a couple of areas of your life but that is spreading out and effecting other areas of your life that is a likely sign of depression. For instance perhaps you are having a tough time at work and your relationship is under stress, for a while you were coping but for some time now you have stopped enjoying your sport, finding you family irritating and bored with your hobbies. I hope you get the picture - the problem has spread out and is effecting other areas of your life - there is a general loss of pleasure or enjoyment in life. Other symptoms may be heightened anxiety, changes in sleep or eating patterns, sadness, lethargy or loss of confidence - again the initial problem has spread to impact your general health and wellbeing.

Q: I have a friend who is severely depressed, has 4 children, live off of barely anything, has poor communication with her husband, suffering from health issues, and becoming very despondent. She has no money to go to a counsellor as neither do I to arrange it for her. Are there any government agencies that provide counselling to those who cannot afford the fees?
A: She may be able to access a some free help through her GP depending the particular district health board that she lives in and the primary health organisation her GP belongs to. Give the GP's practice nurse a call and see what they suggest. Apart from that there are a number of non-profit organisations that provide low cost counselling. Check with your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice on this in your area.

Dissociative identity disorder

Q: I am moving from the south Island to Auckland in a couple of weeks. Have dissociation identity disorder. Will be needing a new Doctor can you recommend one in West Auckland. Prefer a female
A: Sorry I don't know - perhaps Helen or Violet could help.

Q: Who can you recommend for assessing and helping an adult with DID / MPD - who is now in reasonable communication with the alters, and can switch as needed (sometimes with assistance from a trusted friend)
A: Suggest you contact Helen or Violet both if whom have considerable experience in this field.

Domestic abuse

Q: I'm 19 Married with two under 2 year old boys, my husband calls me names like stupid & dump & it makes me feel like I'm nothing & what's worse is that he can call me names put me down but if I did it to him he will get really mad... I really need help please
A: Suggest you get in touch with Shine 0508 744 633 a free Confidential Domestic Abuse Helpline so you can talk through the situation over the phone with someone and get some advice on what to do and the sort of help you might need.

Q: I think my husband has some sort of mental disorder. He can be loving and wonderful and then something (even he admits he doesn't know what) triggers him into a psychotic mood swing where he is nasty rambles like an idiot and is scary to be around. He also destroys personal items of mine that he knows will hurt me but says at the time he can't stop himself. We have been to marriage counselling but he wouldn't admit to anything. I am at the stage I want to leave him but I am scared what he will do in one of his moods and he has threatened if I leave he will take our 2 year old daughter and disappear. He has enough family who would support him in stupid actions like this. I have other children to that are also scared of him and that hurts me that I have put them in this position but am to scared to get out. I have no family in NZ for help or support so very alone.
A: Safety of yourself and your children comes first - suggest you urgently get in touch with Women's refuge 0800 733 843 or (09) 378 1893 or Shine 0508 744 633.

Eating disorders

Q: I've had therapy in the past for three years for eating disorder issues and self harm. Ten years later and I'm still struggling with these issues. I don't want them to be such a big part of my life anymore, yet after years of therapy it still is. I'm beginning to doubt if I ever will recover from these things?
A: Eating disorder issues can be very serious, even life threatening and difficult to treat and can reoccur. Nowadays in Auckland we are fortunate to have a specialist Eating Disorder Services fully funded by the Auckland District Health Board offering a comprehensive range of treatment options. The Eating Disorders Service does not accept self-referrals. You must be referred by your GP, a Community Mental Health Centre (CMHC) or by a hospital. You must live in the Auckland region to qualify for treatment. Demand for the service is high and members of the EDS triage team liaise closely with referrers offering support and advice whilst clients remain on a waiting list for treatment.

Q: I was referred to the ED Service in Auckland by my doctor, however was turned away as I wasn't considered 'sick enough'. Anyway ... what is considered 'long term' therapy, and how long does it generally last? What if the therapist gets sick of working with you, because recovery is obviously a long process?
A: Long term therapy is open ended - this may mean many months or even years - it is a serious commitment by the therapist to accompany you on your recovery journey for as long as it takes. In the circumstances that the process must be brought to a close prematurely the therapist has a professional ethical responsibility to do this with all due care and consideration.

Q: I have had bulimia for over 20 years. I make myself sick at least once a day, sometimes more. I also often binge eat. Who can I talk to about this? I am tired of being like this.
A: We have several members of our team with particular experience with eating disorders.

Failing and disappointing people

Q: I'm 15 years old. I have issues with failing and disappointing people. I've thought about going to a counsellor but I don't know. Help please?
A: I suggest you give 'What's up?' a call. They are a phone counselling service for young people facing difficulties just like you. To talk to a counsellor, call 0800 WHATSUP or 0800 942 8787 free from noon to midnight, seven days a week. Check them out on Facebook. This would give you a chance to talk about what's happening and think about what the next step might be.

Family issues

Q: Our son is a teenage dad and he and his partner are becoming more alienated toward each other due to the interference by her family. Are there any organisations that specialises in teenage relationship counselling and/or parenting. We sense they want to be together but when it starts working well, something happens and they split with conflict. Parenting is hard enough without being a teenager and new to relationships. Would welcome input. Thank you
A: I suggest you try Youthline and see what they suggest or contact one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists.

Q: My parents and my wife don't speak and practically hate each other, but neither of them seems to want fix the situation. I would like to take them all to a therapist. Where do you suggest we go (we are in Auckland city centre) and how much is it per session?
A: Any of our couples counsellors are used to working with family dynamics. Contact one or two to check them out. Costs are in the $90-$130 range. Some therapists have room to negotiate if this is unaffordable.

Fear of death

Q: Hi there, I'm a 23 year old female. I've had on and off problems with anxiety and depression for a few years but recently have had a resurgence of thanataphobia that I used to have when I was young. For a few weeks my mind has been obsessed with and terrified with dying. I keep worrying about what will happen when I die and what will happen when my loved ones die. The inevitability of it scares me because I am so terrified of there being nothing after death. Can you help? I don't know how much I can afford for therapy either.
A: Any of the team.. You would need to check with them regards pricing.

Gender identity

Q: Hi. I'm 22 years old and identify as a FTM transgender and would like to know who I'd see about gender identity issues?
A: I generally suggest ringing around and having a chat with a few therapists to find a comfortable fit - the following have particular interest or experience in working with sexuality and or gender Catherine (City), or Deborah (Howick).

Grief

Q: How I'll help a co-worker in grief about a friend pass away.
A: The rawness of deep grieving can leave friends and families of the bereaved feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and scared of making things worse. Because they are experienced in working with grief therapists can offer companionship to people in deep grief that others may struggle to provide.

Q: I am married for three years now and have tried conceiving for a baby with my husband for quite some time now, but we are unable to conceive. It has now started to affect me and I feel I have all the signs for stress and depression. Trying for a baby has became an obsession for me. I don't enjoy doing anything like I use too. nothing seems to keep my mind off from thinking of having a child of my own. My husband doesn't say much but I know deep inside even he wants the same thing.
A: How heart wrenching. Sounds like it time to start taking care of yourself. A good place to start would be having someone to really talk to about all this either by yourself or as a couple. Please contact one of our team and take it from there.

Helping friends & family member

Q: We care for a family member; he's in his 20's and we know that he needs to receive some counselling. I read below that this is one of the most difficult times for all concerned, actually seeking help. He agreed on one occasion to go to an appointment then later I found out he did not attend. Do you have any suggestions that might be of help please?
A: Sometimes it is reassuring for a friend or family member to take the person to the first appointment and wait for them during the appointment. The friend or family member may even join them in the session for at least part of the first session.

Q: My 31 year old male friend, he is in NZ on a work visa, have huge hang-ups with himself, I suggested that he gets in touch with a psychotherapist. He holds everything inside, appears to be ok, doesn't speak much needs serious help.
A: Sometimes when people most need help it is the most difficult for them to admit it or to reach out. This is difficult for those around them that care for them.

Q: Hi, I have a son in his 20's. He seemed to be a good boy since he was still young except, he kept on lying which started on small things, did not show interest in school. As he grow up, he continues to lie and resents being reprimanded if he does something wrong. He keeps on committing the same mistake in spite of our reminders.
A: How frustrating! Doing some family therapy together could be helpful.

Q: My son (40') highly intelligent and formerly coping with life reasonably well is now crippled by anxiety and practically unable to function. His anxiety is allied to OCD and a bi-polar disorder. Is there anyone out there who can help us help him please? His GP is outstanding and he is receiving good medication but I feel more intensive treatment is needed. (He is resistant to my suggestions by the way - I feel this is because he can only handle getting through each day just now. No work, mostly sleeping (had a breakdown at Easter) I would be grateful for ANY information at this stage.
A: Thank you for your question as this is such an important topic. I don't know what you have tried so please excuse me if I suggest things you already have covered. There are heaps of services but they are fragmented as Auckland is split into three district health boards with a mixture of public and non-government contracted providers as well as Primary Health Organisation (PHO) and fully private services. Even for people it working in the field its a nightmare to work out who is who and the criteria for access. To get further help you will need to do some research and get vocal. Most services are channelled through the Community Mental Health Services. Your son should be being supported by a CMHS, if not ask that the GP refer him. Once in contact with the CMHS ask for additional resources such as a psychiatric review, psychological services, respite care or community support workers. If you are a hitting brick wall with your CMHS then there are a number of support and advocacy organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation and Supporting Families in Mental Illness who would be worth talking to. If you can afford it get him a private psychiatric review and treatment plan. If he is willing get him seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychotherapist experienced in working with psychiatric illness. You could even consider Ashburn House (residential treatment) - expensive but with an excellent name. See links for the web address the organisations I have suggested. NB Even with all this recovery may be very slow so it is also about looking after yourself.

Q: Thanks so much for your reply - my son is receiving treatment but I feel your comments re a review with private consultation are well worth looking at. We have got nowhere really with public system - too overstretched and he withdrew himself once his acute care went down to community care. Will follow up your suggestions but will talk to our doctor first (his GP too and very, very good) and also get support for ourselves.
A: I appreciate you getting back to me - wishing you all the best for making progress in these difficult circumstances.

Q: My husband had a mental breakdown a few years back and last year he suffered another one (more emotional) etc. He has not been 100% "right" and it's like I am married to a different man. During some days we had to be apart as I had to go on business he "got involved emotionally" with my best friend (not anymore). She claims it was not just emotional but "more" and he swears he did not touch her. When somebody is in a mentally broken down state (he used to do strange things - did not remember some things etc etc) could they possibly have kissed or been intimate with someone - and not realised it?
A: This sounds like a difficult and complex situation. Whatever did happen it sounds like you could do with someone to talk all this through with. I hope you take this opportunity to get some support for yourself.

Q: My husband is mentally sick, gets depressed very often and is difficult to handle. He does not want to see a therapist because he thinks it will cost too much? Where can I get help from?
A: Given the potential seriousness of the situation I suggest you call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours service staffed by experienced nurses and talk to them about your concerns.

Q: How do you get help for someone who doesn't think they have a problem?
A: It really depends on the circumstances. If it is a couples or family issues or they are a minor perhaps you could go to counselling as a couple or family. You could also consider talking to other people in their family or their friends to express your concern and get their input. If they are seriously unwell then you many need to take stronger action - see information about the Section 8 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 below.

Q: Hi. I am 29 years old. My mom she was mentally ill since I was 16 years old. She used to say that she can hear trees talking to her and people following her etc. However the problem is she won’t admit she was ill and refused to take any medicines. Today she talked to me with a lot of random topics. She got angry with no reason during the conversation. I have no idea what I should do. My GP informed me unless your mom is physically hurting people or herself, otherwise no one can force her to go to hospital. She refused when I mention about going to talk to GP and when I ask her to start taking the medicines. If it’s in this situation, what can we do? I just had a feeling that she’s going to breakdown just like before. Can you help please?
A: Section 8 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, often referred to as the Mental Health Act enables mental health services to compulsorily assess, treat or hospitalise people who have a mental disorder and are a serious danger to themselves or others, or have a seriously diminished capacity to take care of themselves. A judge will decide on this after hearing from the person, psychiatrist, lawyer, and perhaps others. For general advice and support you friend could call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours service staffed by experienced nurses and talk to them about your concerns. You could also contact a support organisation like Supporting Families in Mental Illness sfauckland.org.nz. Please note that if at any stage there is imminent risk of her harming herself or another then seek urgent help. The emergency phone number for the Auckland Mental Health Crisis Team is 0800 800 717 or call emergency services 111.

Q: My sister has had depression and anxiety issues for many years now resultant in 3 suicide attempts, currently she is taking numerous drugs but is still incredibly anxious, her biggest concern is that her hair is falling out (which it obviously is not) and that it will eventually cause her death. As far as I am concerned she has never received any consultative type care they just seem to load her up with drugs and send her on her way. The root cause has never been addressed I believe. Where to from here?
A: These are of course complex matters. There are some services available though the public system but like all the health system there are over stretched and it can be difficult access. I would suggest you agitate with her GP or Community Mental Health Services for further help - for instance one possibility is Seagar House http://healthpoint.co.nz (please note their programs have complex intake criteria). You could also ask for a medication review from the GP or CMHS. If she is stable enough one of our team could work with her but this would need to be privately funded and likely to be long term.

Q: I have a very good friend who is having a terrible time with his wife's state of mind who is quite obviously imbalanced. It has taken him several months to even get her to see a psychiatrist. When he and her father took her to the therapist they were told to leave the room whilst the consultation took place. After the meeting, they asked how it went but were told that because of the privacy act, they could not be told anything without her consent and would not discuss anything with either her husband or father. Where in New Zealand can he go to seek consultative advice as to a correct course of treatment?
A: Under New Zealand law without the client's consent there is no way around this. For general advice and support you friend could call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours service staffed by experienced nurses and have a chat to them about his concerns. Please note that if at any stage there is imminent risk of the wife harming herself or another then seek urgent help. The emergency phone number for the Auckland Mental Health Crisis Team is 0800 800 717.

Q: I was afraid that this would be the answer. Everyone that is with her for more than 3 or 4 hours can see that she is a danger to herself and to others just by "being there and acting the way she does" (cigarette issue & fires ~ driving a vehicle in the manner that she does).
A: Given the seriousness of your concerns it may be worth considering seeking legal intervention. Section 8 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, often referred to as the Mental Health Act enables mental health services to compulsorily assess, treat or hospitalise people who have a mental disorder and are a serious danger to themselves or others, or have a seriously diminished capacity to take care of themselves. A judge will decide on this after hearing from the person, psychiatrist, lawyer, and perhaps others. You would need to seek specialist legal or medical advice on how to go about this.

Q: I have friend who son feels that he can read people minds, stares into space, says he feel he has metal in his head, he recently went for a blood test all test are normal, but my friends son says he feels that his blood was all drained out. Is there any way you can help or suggest what can they do, I'm very concerned for my friend & son, we want to help them any in way we can. Please help thanks.
A: We can do a preliminary assessment and refer on for psychiatric help where necessary. If you feel he is a risk either to himself or to others is important to take this very seriously. You could call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours service government funded health advice line staffed by experienced nurses and have a chat to them about your concerns.

Incest

Q: If I want to take my brother to court for sexually molesting me many years ago when I was young, do I have to go to the police or can I just go to a lawyer?
A: Suggest you contact Auckland Sexual Abuse for independent confidential advice phone (09) 623 1700 or email asah@sexualabusehelp.org.nz

Q: What are some common goals in counselling on incest survivors?
A: Goals are very particular to an individual client. They will very much depend on any issues that the client is having (possibly anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship or sexual issues etc). So it is likely to involve understanding the impact of the incest and untangling any difficulties that have resulted. The impact of the incest will depend on many factors such as the age of the person at the time, relationship to the family member involved, length of time that it continued for etc.

Issues with parents

Q: Hi I've had a very toxic relationship with my mother throughout my life. She has never shown any compassion or empathy and seems to enjoy tragedy in life. She is extremely manipulative in order to get her own way. My feelings have never been heard, and get a response of don't be a drama queen. She constantly lies denying events or behaviour to the point where she accuses me of being insane. [edited] I have looked on the net and think she maybe narcissistic but am unsure.
A: One thing about narcissists is that they treat others as an extension of them themselves. This can be very alluring as when you are in favour with them it can seem like you are basking in their 'magnificence' but without their attention it is like the sun has gone out. This often makes it very difficult for children of narcissistic parents to emotionally separate, build their own sense of self and have develop healthy self esteem without outside help.

Q: I have always struggled when it comes to my relationship with my mother as she has been a very domineering influence in my life [edited] I pretty much hate everything in my life as it is as I realise that everything I am now and everything I am doing was always just to please my mother and make her happy as I have always relied on her praise and approval to give myself a sense of achievement. I had contemplated suicide when I was fifteen but assured myself that I would be able to break away within a few years but four years on I realise, even though I don’t have to see or hear her every day, I’m carrying her voice around with me inside my head and all my decisions are pretty much compelled from the way I have been brought up. I have been contemplating suicide very recently and am afraid that I have no options left to take. Who would you suggest to see in regards to this issue?
A: I'm sorry to hear you not coping so well. As psychotherapists we are all trained to understand and work with you to overcome such difficulties. I suggest you browse the profiles and get a feel for who you would like to work with. (NB If you are at immediate risk of harming yourself please seek urgent help from an crisis service such as Youthline 0800 37 66 33 or Lifeline 0800 543 354.)

Jealously

Q: I would like to know if one of you could help me with morbid jealousy or obsessive jealousy.
A: Working with intense or difficult emotions within relationships is a normal part of psychotherapeutic work. Those therapists who work with couples who are generally the more experienced in this area.

Q: I am a 23 year old female and have severe jealousy issues towards my partner which have increased over the 4 years we have been together despite him giving me no reasons not to trust him I believe I have identified the root causes of these issues, however I still do not react any better when I feel myself getting jealous. Would seeing a counsellor help me find a way to get rid of these feelings?
A: It's great that you are looking to address such feeling. Working with a therapist would allows you to take your efforts to resolve this to the next level.

Loneliness

Q: I'm having a third life crisis. I'm so lonely, and can't imagine anyone ever loving me as I really don't like myself. I don't know what to do, I meet people I like all the time, but no one ever seems to like me. I'm pretty depressed, but don't want to go onto anti-depressants again, as they're so hard to stop. I need to talk to someone about my issues, but really can't afford expensive therapy. What can I do? Please help.
A: Given this state of misery if you can possibly afford it surely the cost of a year or so of therapy is a small price to pay. If you really can't afford it then have a read of the special funding page which briefly outlines some possible funding sources and alternatives.

Lying

Q: I am a 22year old female who is a chronic liar. I've actively tried to stop, but sometimes I just start saying a lie and then I feel I have to follow it threw. Also friends will bring up things I've told them, believing them to be truth, so I feel I have to continue with those lies. I have lost friends, as the only way I can seem to stop is by pulling away. On top of that, I'm scared of my own mind, because of my lies, I've a very active imagination, and when by myself, my mind wanders, and the thoughts/fantasies I have scare me. Who do you think it is best for me to contact, I think I really need help.
A: Oh any of the team - just read over the profiles and see who you feel you would most enjoy to work with.

Meanness

Q: Hi, a lot of people are saying that I am 'mean' because of the things I tend to say. I have never been a fan of mincing words, and have always taken a more direct approach when it comes to voicing my thoughts. I used to like to think that I am no meaner than anyone else, and that I just say what other people are thinking, but everyone at work, and even my family say I'm mean, spiteful critical, horrible, dark and now I'm starting to believe them and it's really hurtful, especially considering the things I say don't truly reflect what I think, what I think it 10x worse so I hold back slightly. Do I have a problem? I still maintain friendships, and have a good relationship with my family, but they all seem to say the same things about me.
A: I imagine you are feeling quite confused at the moment. Yet it sounds like it's time to take stock. Doing some therapeutic work on this would give you a chance to explore what is going on so you make some sense of it all and decide how to move forward with this.

Mind-Body - Chronic pain

Q: I am 20 years old, I had a back injury nearly two years ago and I am in pain everyday. I have seen a lot of medical people and i am currently seeing a neuromuscular specialist to help me but this will take years and I will never fully recover. The chronic pain I feel everyday is taking its toll on my life and my emotions. I don't want to get out of bed anymore because when I am asleep I don't feel any pain. How do I go about getting some help to get my life sorted and get over this injury and just live? I am beginning to hate my life, i don't go out anymore accept to work but that's only part time. I am a poor student with a life long injury, can you help?.
A: Emma and Fadi have specialist training in mind-body issues. You may be able to get WINZ funding.

Miscarriage

Q: I went through a miscarriage about almost a year ago now and I'm finding it quite hard to come to terms with the loss as I really wanted this baby. I also just come out of a relationship and its really hard getting over the guy considering he was my first love is this all normal?
A: Sounds like you would like to move forward but are feeling stuck. If so it may be a good idea to work this all though with a therapist to free you up so you can get back on track and move forward.

Moods & negative thinking

Q: I am a 23 year old female. I have issues with constant negative thinking and I get upset/angry over very small things and often feel very sensitive. I think up negative scenarios in my head and it often affects my moods. Sometimes people will joke with me and I take it seriously and get offended and sometimes I get angry about these things. I feel this is going to severely affect my relationship and I am worried about my attitude and constant mood changes and want it to stop. How to I change this?
A: What a great first step in identifying and acknowledging patterns that are not working well. Unfortunately most people find change difficult and many pretty well impossible by themselves. Working with a therapist allows you together to make sense of these patterns and offer support and encouragement in developing more satisfying ways of living.

Q: I'm 16 years old, I feel tired and sad all the time, I get angry really easily and I'm always getting into arguments with my family. I have been self harming for 3.5 years now. I constantly think about death. I feel as though I don't fit in anywhere and hate my life. I've told a few close friends about my cutting and they don't seem to understand. Help what's going on?
A: Sounds like you are suffering from depression and could really do with some support. I suggest you give 'What's up?' a call. They are a phone counselling service for young people facing difficulties just like you. To talk to a counsellor, call 0800 WHATSUP or 0800 942 8787 free from noon to midnight, seven days a week. Check them out on Facebook. This would give you a chance to talk about what's happening and think about what the next step might be.

Q: I have been feeling unusually tired, sad, pathetic and pessimistic. I have talked to a close friend already but they don't truly understand. This has been going on for more than a few weeks and it has gotten to the stage that I will feel like crying for no apparent reason, which is very unlike me. I have found myself almost trying to block myself out from everything that is happening around me; I constantly think about death and don't understand why I carry on in a world like this. But I have never attempted anything close to suicide, it has occurred to me but I know how much that would hurt my family and I could never hurt them. I am easily irritated and drowsy almost dead, in a zombie like state. Please help what is going on?
A: The combination of physical, mental and emotional changes your symptoms strongly point towards depression. Given the length and severity of the symptoms I would urge you to seek help from any of our team or a GP.

Q: Hi I am 24 year old. I have got good education and full time job good money but still I feel bored at my job I don't feel that's what I am satisfied here. Recently I started one business and it turn out to be loss as the guy we bought business turn out to be a cheater. I am not getting able to forget that and stresses me a lot. I am becoming very sensitive and getting angry all the time feel like leaving this country. I do not know what is wrong with me please give me some suggestion.
A: Sounds like you could do with a therapist to talk this all though with. This would help you make sense of what has happened, how you feel about it, and what you can do to move forward. Please contact one of our team to discuss this further.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Q: Hi, I have recently been diagnosed with OCD. I do not believe that I have OCD but some traits that could easily come across as OCD. I have been on medication for four weeks now, and my mood seems to have lifted tremendously. Do I have to have OCD for medication to work? How can I be sure I have OCD? I do agree that I have some symptoms, but I find it hard to live with. Am I able to have a normal life? I mean is it so bad to have OCD? or is it ok? Can I heal myself naturally? Do I need therapy which I really don't want. What causes OCD?
A: It sounds like you have a lot of questions. This is not surprising as this would be a lot to get your head around and if your mood was low you may not have been a state to do all that at the time of the assessment. If you mood has lifted perhaps it is a good time to take your questions back to whoever saw you as you already know each other. You could ask them to go over everything with you, explain or reconsider the diagnosis, discuss its implications, and if appropriate to explore possible treatment options. Such options might include counselling or psychotherapy in addition, or, as an alternative to medication.

Q: I am 32 years old and have been living with bizarre habits for the last 20 odd years. I have been looking on the internet and only have what I deem to be OCD. Strange rituals I need to complete so my anxiety levels decrease, worrying constantly about my loved ones. Hums and ticks that I can't control. I know in my mind that it is not logical for me to act this way, but I cannot help it and I feel unhappy and anxious all the time. Is there something I can do myself to get rid of these feelings? I am not comfortable talking about it with my Dr or calling a help line. I have got used to living this way, but surely I can make it easier / more manageable for myself? My husband is very supportive and I have a good job, but with my constant ticking people must think I am mental. I also get regular headaches from the stress / tension I put on myself. Any ideas on how to tackle this? Please?
A: Well done for contacting us - an excellent first step. Continuing to educate yourself about OCD sounds like a good next step - one useful book is called Brain Lock by Jeffrey M. Schwartz. This explains the neurological underpinning of OCD. If you cannot get it locally you can certainly get it from one of the internet book sellers such as Book Depository or Amazon. Once you understand what is going on hopefully it will be a whole less scary and allow you to reach out for further help.

Older persons

Q: Is there any therapist that specializes in older age relationship problems where no children are involved, where emotional / psychological abuse is the issue. I am 61
A: Any of our more mature, more experienced therapists, particularly those who regularly work with couples would suit.

Q: Hi am 61 - male. I have been to my GP in the past who gave me medication for what he termed depression. It changed nothing about the way I feel about myself and life. My whole life I have had what I call early childhood "flashbacks" of possible sexual abuse at a very early age and I have had many meaningless sexual affairs over my 40 year marriage! Is there any point to speaking with anyone at this late stage?
A: Sure - people can make significant gains from therapy at any age.

Q: My 78 year old mother suffers severe anxiety and stress. She has been medicated for 5 years with no improvement. She is in desperate need of help. Do you provide a geriatric service?
A: We have no specialists in this field but if you called around a few of our team I am reasonably confidence you would find someone who would be more than capable and happy to work with your mother.

Out of Auckland

Q: I have a teenage girl needing life advise and counselling. Do you know where in Thames we can go?
A: Sorry I don't know - try your local Citizens Advice Bureau or GP.

Q: Hi, I have a sister who has a long term addiction to marijuana and is now wanting to get help via counselling and rehab. How much for these services via you, or, because we live in Gisborne, do you know of any other services being offered closer such as in Napier or Hastings, and she is on the domestic purposes benefit, so are these services subsidised at all? Thanks.
A: Suggest you contact Awhina House, 232 Rutene Road Gisborne (06) 867 1764 which is a fully funded drug and alcohol service

Parenting

Q: Hi I am a mother of three young girls 6yrs, 3yrs, 10mnth, and before life was tough, and even tougher every time small thing go wrong I always yelled and screaming and me and my husband always argue and I had enough of it please help me before its too late.
A: Sounds like you need some parenting support. I suggest you call the Barnardos Parent Helpline (0800) 472 7368 - 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Further if you or someone close to you is at imminent risk of harming themselves or another please seek immediate medical attention, immediate advice from a telephone help line such as Healthline 0800 611 116 or immediate help from emergency services 111.

Q: Hello! I have a 5 year old son, my only child. We recently visited his two cousins, a girl (5yrs) and boy (3yrs) for the first time. While playing together unsupervised one day, my son and the 5 yr old girl got naked together [edited] I didn't have a healthy sexual education as a child, and I am unsure about how to deal with this and other experiences we will have in the future. Is there someone who can advise me on this or point me in the direction of good resources? Thanks.
A: I suggest you contact one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists and have a chat to them about the situation and their services.

Q: My daughter is now 13, from the age of six months she has had 'temper problems'. When she is in a 'mood' often caused by lack of sleep or hunger she will spin off into a 'monster'. She is irrational, she will scream and argue and not listen to anything she is told. If you try and discipline her with taking something off her, she takes it that she has lost the world and may as well be as bad as she can. She will follow you around the house antagonizing the situation and will then bully the younger children to get more of a reaction. It seems like when she is in these rages that she is not capable of controlling herself, however she is the complete opposite at school (quiet, respectful, etc). She does seem to have a problem expressing herself emotionally, i.e. yesterday she was hurt by something someone said but she expressed it as being in a bad and angry mood. Any suggestions as to how to help her and our family? She says she is not willing to talk to outsiders about it.
A: How about some family therapy with one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists.. This may be less threatening for your daughter than one-on-one counselling and a chance for the whole family to talk about what happening and how to move forward together.

Passive aggression

Q: Do you help with passive aggression?
A: As psychotherapists we address such relational patterns and the many ways emotions expressed including passive aggression.

Relationships

Q: I want to break up with my boyfriend but he is suicidal.. I can't handle it anymore because it drove to depression at a point.. What do I do?...
A: What a difficult situation. Seeing a therapist would give you a safe and supportive space to talk this is all through and figure out a way forward.

Q: My boyfriend loves me so much but he bores me, I accuse him, I overreact and sometimes I don't love him. Please help!
A: Sounds like its time you talked this through with a therapist. Rae-Marie has made quite a study of the psychology of boredom so she would be a good pick.

Q: Yes hi, I am having real problems in a new relationship and I am concerned as I have very little confidence & have a lot of anxiety. I have lost 12kgs because I can't eat properly due to feeling sick all the time. Do I need to see a counsellor or who?
A: It seems you are really hurting - both emotionally and physically. I would recommend seeing one of our team that you can talk to about what is going on so you can sort it though, help you find your confidence in yourself and create a new way forward.

Q: I'm 23, two years ago I was in a relationship with a girl who was five years older than me, but it didn't last long. So ever since we broke up, I have never been any other relationship. I try other girls but I always end up with luck. I was wondering if there is anything I can do?
A: Seeing a therapist for a short while may give you a chance to talk things through and help you rebuild your confidence.

Q: My wife and I are in our 40's and have been married for many years. We have been separated then back together (we were and i thought and still think, even though she doesn't admit it emphatically in love with each other) and our current relationship status is hanging on by a thread. She is withdrawing from me, things like I love you but not in love with you, your better off without me, move on etc. and I think this is all caused by an abusive relationship she had with a guy that she was dating when we were apart that physically traumatized here severely, even though she doesn't want to admit it. I love her dearly and devote my life to her, but she is emotionally turning into herself and causing a strain on our relationship. I want to help but she says she doesn't want help. At the moment the love is one way and is putting a strain on our family. I think we need counselling, but she says no. I want to address our situation, but I am finding it increasingly difficult and fear that we are heading for a meltdown again. Is there still hope for us? We also have a 16 year old daughter, and have been back together for 2 years. Dilemma.
A: Sometimes when people most need help it is the most difficult for them to admit it or to reach out. This is difficult for those around them that care for them. Talking this all through with a counsellor may help you clarify your feeling, evaluate your options and support you though this difficult situation.

Q: My husband cheated on me, and we are trying to work things out but I don't understand why he won't have sex with me?
A: Emotions might be running pretty high right now so some couples counselling could be helpful to re-establish communications between you both.

Q: I have trust issues with my partner of almost 4 years and I love him but I don't know what to do, I want to see a therapist but I am a university student and I can't afford to see one, what can I do please?
A: Have you tried your place of study? All the big universities and polytechnics have counselling centres and most of the smaller ones have contracts with agencies.   If not you could try Youthline as they offer free face-to-face counselling as well as their phone service. Yet again if you want to go private you could apply for a partial subsidy from WINZ for counselling. (This apples for all students, beneficiaries and even some low income earners).

Q: My partner comes across as though he is moody regularly. He makes friends uneasy but doesn't realise he is doing it. It is his body language and tone that isn't friendly. Is there any help we can get for him? He is not violent and doesn't get angry. It's more a frustration thing over the little things that annoy him.
A: If he realises there is an issues and is open to do doing some work then some therapy it is likely to prove useful. If he is resistant to it then some couples therapy may at least help you communicate how this effects you.

Q: Hi, my husband & I have been married 22 years & have 5 children together. We have been to counselling twice before but my husband was not able to be real & instead laughed off any issues I had which was very frustrating for me. I had told him I wanted to separate but have agreed to try to move forward together. Would it be better to try individual counselling or couple counselling to try & retrieve our marriage?
A: It may be more about the goal that you take to counselling - sounds like the first goal could be to improve communication - if your husband would agree to a specific goal then you could try couples counselling again focused on that specific goal.

Q: Hi I have been with my partner for 13 years now we are high school sweethearts. He has accused me of infidelity in the past but it was never true. He's the one who has been unfaithful. He has always been very controlling of me and physically, emotionally and verbally abusive toward me. He drinks almost everyday. I don't have any friends. For me life is just unbearable I sometimes feel like ending it. I just wonder if I should even bother with this relationship anymore because it is so draining.
A: You are in an abusive relationship. It's time to get some help. A good place to start might be Shine Domestic Help Abuse Line 0508 744 633 or Lifeline 0800 543 354.

Q: Hello I am very lost right now. I have been very deceiving to my partner of many years. [...edited...] We have 5 children and our 2nd child is the only one who looks different. What am I to do. If I tell him it will hurt him so bad. And what will this do to our son. I have just blocked it out and put it in the back of my mind. I have told myself time and time again to just be honest and come clean but I'm too afraid and selfish. What should I do? Or in other words how should I tell him?
A: Sounds like you have been thinking about this for a long time - perhaps it would be good to talk it though with one of our couples therapists to decide if you want to tell him and if you decide to support you through this.

Q: My Partner and I have been together for over a year and a half now, I've recently moved out to live with family friends as he has become very controlling and I cannot do anything without him as he gets upset and thinks I'm leaving him etc. Please help, or suggest somebody we could talk to because I know he's not a bad person at all.
A: Sure - simply get in touch with any of our team who work with couples, make an appointment and take it from there.

Q: Hi, I have trust issues with my husband who has not physically cheated but has been "sneaky" on a few occasions, he does not want to go to counselling or talk through anything, he just wants to carry on as we have been, which is work/kids etc. But I can't fully move on until we have sorted this. I also have another issue with anger. I am nice to everyone in the street but have a short fuse at home with my children, which I hate, but I feel angry towards my parents for acting like this towards me and my siblings when I was growing up. And I want to change the way I am, I am turning out to be exactly like my dysfunctional parents. What are your thoughts? Thanks
A: Sounds like you have a good sense of yourself and some clear goals of what you would like to achieve. This bodes well for a positive outcome from therapy.

Q: Whenever I am in a relationship I say things that I don't mean but I know will hurt the other person even when very minor incident has happened, I don't know why I do this, maybe so that they will pay more attention to me or love me more, I'm very insecure and have depression problems but my partner does not know because I don't show it at all, I'm hurting me and my partner a lot, I'm killing all my relationships subconsciously and I don't know why I do it, Is there any reason or term for this?
A: Hmm at a guess what you are describing is an attachment issue. According to attachment theory our adult imitate relationships are largely modelled on the relationship with have with our caregivers in the first couple of years of life. You could Google "adult attachment styles" and see if any of this fits with you. Either way I would encourage you to see a therapist so you can sort through some of this.

Q: I am 62 years old and have been with my partner now for 8 years, both of us having been married once before. My feelings that I thought were love for him have got less over the years and now I find it quite difficult to live with him. I don't feel sexually attracted to him anymore, cannot even look into his face and I find him aggravating and do not find pleasure in his company or conversations. We are still sleeping in the same bed but there is absolutely no contact. I feel I am holding on to this relationship simply because I do not want to hurt him because he is basically a good man and says he loves me. I have discussed the situation with him and told him how I feel and he has been devastated and made murmurs about him going if I want him to. Why can I not just say let us split up. I think I am very scared about being alone again and for him to be alone as he has few friends and family. My sense of humour and love of life is suffering. Should I come and speak to someone? Am I just being totally unreasonable and selfish?
A: You would be welcome to come and talk to one of our team to help sort through your feeling on his complex issue. The other alternative would be to do some couples counselling together so you can both consider how you might best stay together or part company.

Q: How do I know when the time is right to leave my partner?
A: People quite frequently come to therapy because they are unsure of their relationship. This gives them time to talk though the issues and sort out what is going on. Often this also gives them ideas for working on the relationship which will either improve or deteriorate until they reach a gut level knowing.

Q: I've got 4 kids to the same man, and one on the way, he's cheated on me few times..The weekend just gone he went out and I have a gut feeling that he done it again..he says I didn't do anything. I just want the truth! so I can move on and be happy!
A: Sounds like you could do some counselling to talk this all through - please contact any of our team to make an appointment.

Q: Hi, I have been with my partner for almost two years now. It has been a very messy relationship, we have both been hurt and the scars remain with us creating trust issues and a controlling relationship both ways. However we both still see the good in our relationship and want to put the past behind us, unfortunately it is easier said than done. My partner is unsure about talking to any professional as he doesn't like the idea of anyone taking notes on us. In addition we are both still students and therefore can't afford expensive therapy. Is there anything you can think of that would help us move forward together and put the past behind us?
A: Talk with each other - even without therapy you can put time and effort into communication to fully acknowledge what has happened and where you are at, understand what the relationship means you both and create a shared vision of the future

Q: I've been with my partner going on ten years and since the beginning he had had and issue with porn and strippers. I recently found out the he also frequented prostitutes. Over the years its gotten worse, etc etc....
A: Sounds like you could really do with some support to talk it through and decide how to address this. Please contact any of our team to discuss this further.

Q: My partner and I have been together for 2 and a half years now. We have broken up 3 times (the first two lasted less than 24 hours). The last time we broke up was for more than a week. We talked and I convinced him to give it another try because we both love each other but he wants it to be a one month trial and to sit down and talk at the end of the month etc etc....
A: How about you see a couples counsellor during the month then you can address relationship issues as they arise. We have excellent couples therapists on our team of therapists. I suggest you contact one or two them and take it from there.

Q: My partner and I have just had our 1st child. My partner is constantly involved with the police. We are a young couple, he is looking @ jail time at the moment. He wants to change his life for our son but he can't seem to do it. His family doesn't support him in anything he does and I'm his only support. He won't open up to me about anything and he just holds it all inside. I don't know what to do. I don't want to give up on him. He needs me and I need him, he loves me and our son but he can't change his ways and open up. Please tell me what I could do.
A: Perhaps you could do some couples counselling together. With both your son's wellbeing and relationship at stake you may need to be insistent and not take 'no' for an answer. We have an excellent team of couples therapists. See a map of Therapist Locations or find Auckland Therapist by suburb.

Q: My partner and I have been together for almost five years. Unfortunately my trust was breached about 12 months ago, and gradually our relationship is deteriorating. At first I thought it would be something I could overcome, however I feel myself constantly wondering where and what he is doing. We are still communicating but we are both at a crossroads. He moved out yesterday, but we are willing to give counselling a go. We feel that this could be our last chance of being able to salvage something that means so much to the both of us. Are you able to suggest where or who to talk to?
A: We have a an excellent team of couples therapists. I suggest you contact one or two closest to you and contact them to check out their availability etc.

Q: Hi there, me and my partner have been together for about 3 years now and were just married last April. I noticed the change in him the minute he said I do. All the arguing and the fighting has just become to much for me and I have very weak and tired of all this. Some nights I find myself so angry, Worse case scenario - I've wanted to stab him or hurt him in some way that I would feel some kind of relief when he's is hurting. And the thing that really kills me is that our two year old son is right in the middle of all this. I try and communicate with him but he seems to be too good to talk nowadays. I am seriously considering marriage counselling or else I don't know what else I can do. Do you have any suggestions?
A: I urge you to urgently seek for help both for your own sakes and for the sake of your son. The situation sounds volatile and potentially dangerous. What's more living in a war zone is enormously stressful for children with long term consequences. Please contact one of our team to discuss this further.

Q: Hi, Me and my husband recently got married, we had a arranged marriage by our parents. We both we're in relationships before the engagement, however I kept seeing my boyfriend after the engagement as I did not take the engagement too seriously. After we got married my husband found out about my affair during our engaged period. I really love my husband and he loves me too, we want to both stay together, but it's very hard for him to forget about the pass. Who can you recommend that can help.
A: We have a an excellent team of couples therapists. I suggest you contact one or two closest to you and contact them to check out their availability etc.

Q: I am a very sexual 59 yr old man who loves his wife and enjoys a rewarding relationship with her (also 59) but we have very disparate interest in sex and she is becoming even less interested. She often depends on my instigating sex and its just not my style. I depend on at least a modicum of female sexuality for my own interest. I am frustrated by my wife's apparent lack of interest and what I see as her lack of effort towards physical intimacy. This may or may not be my own fault, either way I do not know what to do. My gut feel is she needs to change her attitude or seek medical help.
A: It certainly can be difficult when there is such an imbalance in a relationship. If this leads to a breakdown in communication this can lead to further loss of intimacy which makes things worse. Couples therapy may be able to help you talk though this through and find a way to reinvigorate your relationship.

Schizophrenia

Q: Hi. I am 19 and have found that I've started to get symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms can vary from anxiety, not being able to concentrate, problems sleeping not being social. I am really starting to get scared and don't know how to approach anyone about this. Can you please give me some advice or help?
A: Either way it is important to get an assessment to put your mind a rest and get appropriate help. Early intervention can make all the difference so seek help from either a doctor or a therapist to discuss your concerns and get an assessment. If that is a bit too scary give Youthline 0800 37 66 33 or Healthline 0800 611 116 a call to talk through your options.

Self harm

Q: Do you have any counsellors that work with self injury and anorexia?
A: We have several members of our team with particular experience with eating disorders. You may need contact them and have a conversation regarding the self-injury risks and a possible referral to the District Health Board's Eating Disorders Service.

Q: Hi, can you recommend anyone that I can talk to, to get help for my 17 year old son who self harms. He has been in counselling for a few years but I would like to find someone who specialises in this area. Thanks.
A: It really depends on what the underlying problem is - self harm is a symptom rather than a diagnosis - there are quite a number of possible distinct underlying conditions. Even so there are so many factors to consider such as what he wants, whether he is making progress of not, how he is getting on with his counsellor, his degree of risk etc. That said my gut level reaction is that if he is not responding after two years of counselling you should consider getting a full evaluation from a psychiatrist to check for neurological or psychiatric conditions. You could initiate this through his GP or in conjunction with his counsellor. Once you have this assessment you could then reevaluate the intervention options. You could also call one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists and have a chat about possible ways forward.

Sexual abuse

Q: Who do I get in contact with about the sexual abuse group therapy... and how much does it cost?
A: Contact Mandy 629 2399 or Helen 376 0158. They have a sliding scale fee so you would need to contact them regarding the fee.

Q: My question may seem a bit odd however do you have therapists work with people of the opposite sex for predominantly gender related issues? Like a female therapist working with a male with anger issues? Or a male therapist working with a female with S.A. history? and if so does it work okay? I've often wondered this. I'd prefer a male therapist but have S.A. issues but worried it may be weird so it puts me off contacting anyone.
A: Great question - not weird at all. Quite a few people have a strong sense of which gender therapist that would prefer to work with. For instance some people may choose the gender they feel safest with. Other times a client may deliberately choose the gender they find more challenging them as a way of addressing those issues.

Q: So a male therapist wouldn't think I was odd for choosing a male therapist to work through S.A. stuff with? I can't really explain why I'd prefer a male therapist for this though? Do you have male therapists that specialise in this area?.
A: Not at all. Really any of the team however if you want to make an ACC claim so you can get some ACC funding then Richard is ACC registered otherwise Tomislav has particular interest or experience in this area.

Q: I was abused by a family member when I was 6 years old, I am now in my forties and have been dependent on alcohol. There is a family get together soon and don't want to go, but if I don't it will hurt other family members who do not known of what happened. what should I do... I don't want to go but don't want to upset my mother or father.
A: 40 years is a long to carry such a secret - sounds like it has really taken a toll on your life - perhaps it's time to get some help. You would probably be eligible for ACC funding.

Q: Hi I am a victim of abuse since childhood and found out I ended up with bipolar have been under the mental health, I’ve had changes in my meds for so long that I feel that nothing has changed, feel like I haven’t been heard and nothing healing for me I’m still suffering, this has made a huge impact on my life loss my own family, also the lost of my relationships. that I always felt that I’m the blame & neglected that it was the bipolar that control me as I was growing up with it, I had too many people in my life under this section who suppose to help make a difference, could I be lucky to get the therapy I need and get back my life to balance too. I become so frightened of this world. Could you help me with some therapy, I’m not sure if I qualify for ACC funding.
A: I suggest you contact one of our ACC therapists and have a chat to them to find our if you qualify for funding.

Q: I am 37 years old and it has only just been explained to me that i have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder since I was a child when I was first sexually abused by my uncle. I have a son who is 6 years old and I am worried about him now too. up until a few weeks a go he was a happy confident boy, now he is rude, has nightmares and talks back to me. I am worried he too has what I have. A friend looked after my son for a whole day and that night the nightmares began. My son says he was nice to him the whole day and was happy, but I'm suspicious. How can I find out and get some help?
A: Suggest you get in contact with one of our specialist child & adolescent therapists and have a chat. I also refer you to the following NZ police webpage http://police.govt.nz/faq/items/23270.

Q: On that does one ever get over post traumatic stress disorder and sexual abuse? Are all therapists equipped to deal with it? or is it a specialty? Which female therapists?
A: Yes it is possible to get over post traumatic stress and sexual abuse though like a physical injury recovery will depend on many factors. Like a serious physical injury complete recovery may not always be realistic. Again like a serious physical injury improvement may a be step-wise process and require courage and patience. As psychotherapists all of us on this site are trained to work in depth with complex issues including trauma and PTSD.

Q: Do you have a male therapist that specialises in post traumatic stress disorder and sexual abuse?
A:Richard and Tomislav all have considerable experience in this area.

Q: When I was 9 years old my brothers mate had intercourse with me for 2 years. I was terrified! I am 58 years old now, with a life time of hang ups! Can I take him to court?
A: You can certainly report it to the police. The following is from the Police website:

All sexual assaults/abuse are taken seriously by Police. If the victim wishes to have a complaint investigated by Police he/she would need to make an appointment with their local Police Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) to discuss options. There are also community groups (such as Rape Crisis) in most Police Districts who provide support and advocacy for sexual abuse victims, and may be able to assist your friend to decide what he/she wishes to do. If the victim is seeking support for counselling there may be some funding available for this through ACC by lodging a claim through the sensitive claims unit.

Q: I have absolutely no recollection of sexual abuse at any point in my life yet I was aware of sex, sexual pleasure and even 'role play' from a young age, the earliest incident being around 6. One of the biggest things that I struggle with internally is that I involved my younger sibling in certain acts - and something I clearly remember is that I was under the impression that I wasn't doing anything 'evil' and 'wrong', but at the same time that it was to be done in secret so that mum wouldn't find out - to me that feel like something I may have been possibly told myself. This, to memory, happened less than about 5 times, the last time being when I was about 8 or 9. My sibling and I have never addressed it. Basically on the surface, I feel like this all points to symptoms of sexual abuse, but I have zero recollection or suspicious towards anyone in my childhood. I need to know whether this is some sort of forgotten trauma or it's just an unfortunate event that put a stain in my childhood purely by chance. Who would be the most ideal therapist to see about this? Thank you.
A: Thank you for your courageous inquiry - I am sure many people who read your words will relate to it in one form or another. As psychotherapists we all routinely work with such complex and confusing issues arising from early childhood. Part of the purpose of this site is so inquirers can read over therapist's profiles and from this get a feel of who they would most like to work with. Since therapy is such a deeply personal thing the strength of connection between client and therapist outweighs most other considerations. That said you may want to consider choosing one of the ACC registered therapists as they are generally more experienced in working with this area and also leaves open the possibility of applying for ACC funding.

Q: Hi, I have just started counselling for sexual assaults that happened last year. I was also in a range of other traumatic events. Recently, I have had really high, paralyzing anxiety. I get along with my therapist, but I told him in our last session that I don't think I'll be comfortable talking about sexually explicit stuff with him. He said we don't need to. That we'll deal with the stuff happening now - and he usually finds after dealing with people's emotions now, people don't need to talk about the event. Isn't the point of therapy to both help me manage my life now AND to go through the traumatic events and deal with whatever that stirs up? Or is it normal to never need to directly revisit the events? I'm haven't had much relationship experience, and don't want lots of hang-ups about intimacy, which I'm concerned will happen if I don't directly work through the events. Most of the time I am apathetically distanced from the assaults. My other question is what methods of counselling is done for trauma survivors? Is it really just go along each week and discuss whatever is bothering me? No deeper focus? Thanks!
A: Goodness what a complex question - there have been many books written about all this and many different opinions. I think most would agree that therapist and client need to have a shared understanding of the goals of the therapy and the general approach - this is called the working alliance. Further that there is a shared responsibility of both therapist and client to stay on the same page. I hope you will take your concerns and questions back to your therapist so you can talk about this together and rebuild the working alliance.

Q: Re confidentiality. If I talk to a therapist about past sexual abuse are they obliged to report it?
A: No - The only exceptions to confidentiality occur when, in the professional judgment of the counsellor, there is clear danger to the client or others.

Q: Hi I'm 48yrs old male. When I was about 12-13 I was sexually abused by my then male teacher. I have been traumatised all my life & become shy & withdrawn. Have been separated for 2yrs & whenever I start a new relationship trust is always a issue for me. Me not trusting her which has ended a relationship with a beautiful women. That was in Australia & I have come home, been back 3 weeks, to face my demons & seek help as I have become depressed. Need to do this to finally find closure & happiness in my life. Please help. Have limited funds. Maybe there is a group I can attend? Any advise you can give will be most appreciated.
A: Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust mssat.org.nz runs a men's support group. Otherwise for one-on-one counselling you would most likely be eligible for ACC funding. Contact one of our ACC therapists for more information. There is Auckland Sexual Abuse Help :- 24 hour confidential phone line: (09) 623 1700 for support or advice.

Q: My cousin has just come out that he is gay and I think he is feeling depressed. He abuses alcohol, and changes his whole personality when he is drunk. He told me that he was raped when he went to town in the weekend. Who could he talk to about this? I feel he really needs help?
A: I would encourage him to contact one of our ACC registered therapists they are all experienced in working with trauma and with sexuality.

Q: I need to find an article about a person that's been abused and survived! I want to know how that person did it. Please?
A: Well there are many survival stories on the net and plenty of books available online from Amazom or even from Borders, Pathfinders or The Women's Bookshop in Auckland. Other than that you could phone Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP 24 hour confidential phone line: (09) 623 1700 and have a chat to one of their phone counsellors and ask for a recommendation or make an appointment with one of our counsellors and take it from there.

Q: Hi. I am 32 year old female and I am finally looking to get help with sexual abuse that I was victim to by my step mother's father when I was a child. Also I have recently had a conversation with my younger sister in Australia who is getting counselling with similar issues has had a positive outcome has convinced me that it is time. I think due to my behaviours as an adult have lead me to the point that I want to move forward. Can you advise me of someone who would be suitable to see and would prefer a female.
A: Our registered ACC sexual abuse counsellors are all experienced in working in this area. This also means you may be able to get some partial funding for your therapy. They are at various location throughout Auckland.

Q: What constitutes sexual abuse? From the age of 5-14 I started having sex with males the same age as me to 20yrs my senior, however I didn't say no or try to stop what was going on, in fact I enjoyed it at the time, but I do feel like this has had a major impact on my life. Is there any help for someone in my situation?
A: Your young age means these events certainly constitute sexual abuse and will very likely have had a impact on your life. I would encourage you to contact one of our ACC registered therapists to discuss this further.

Q: I've been through ACC for the initial assessment for a sexual abuse claim. I've talked to a therapist and found it incredibly painful in fear of stigma and shame to the point I couldn't go through the rest of the sessions. Sex and sex addictions is a very sensitive and personal problem and I need help to go through the healing and recovery. How do I find someone I can be comfortable with to deal with sexual issues, and how do I cope/overcome the debilitating fear of talking about those issues?
A: Thank you for your inquiry. Firstly I would like to acknowledge the tremendous courage that you have shown already. As therapists we are keenly aware of the difficulty that you talk about. This is part of the reason that we have so vehemently opposed the recent ACC changes. Sexual abuse is often locked in secrecy and shame. Remember the therapy is for you - it is your space - you can take things at your own pace - you can wait until you are ready and only as much in any session as you want. If it gets overwhelming let your therapists know so you can address the anxiety together.

Q: What are the needs that might be required by a person with this condition in terms of: Physical support, Social support and Cognitive support?
A: Recovery from sexual abuse can be a long and difficult journey. Of course support is important but only to the degree that the person is ready to and able to accept support. This is because the rebuilding of trust from the enormous betrayal of sexual abuse is often slow step-by-step process.

Sexual addictions

Q: Hello, can you please inform me if anyone on the North Shore has ever dealt with the issue of sexsomnia before? and if not could you point me in the direction of some help, thank you.
A: We are fortunate to have a specialist sex therapist on our team so I suggest you contact Kathryn and have chat about your concerns and take it from there.

Q: I am battling with pornography addiction. It has wrecked my relationship with my partner and I do realise that I need help. Who would you recommend I contact? Also, what are you're fees?
A: I suggest you contact Kathryn our specialist sex therapist or see the addictions page for specialists we have in this area. You would need to contact them regarding their fee.

Q: My partner has admitted to performing indecent acts at a neighbour's clothes line. I have heard this is not his first indiscretion. How do I believe what he says and how do I get him to own up to his past so we can perhaps move on?
A: Psychologically such behaviour is likely to be the tip of an iceberg, in that it almost certainly covers over other issues such as anxiety, depression, historic abuse or other problems. This means that you are likely to need outside help both for him and your relationship. I suggest you contact Kathryn our specialist sex therapist who has a wealth of experience in this area.

Q: My boyfriend is a sex addict. He had been to the counselling for a couple months in 2007. However, I just found out he is still a sex addict, he is still looking for whores. He told me it's very hard to stop, however, he has cut it down to minimum. I wonder if the sex addict would ever change? Is it just too hard to stop? I am going to leave him, I don't think he would ever change. Do you still have the rehab for the sex addicts?
A: Addictions are generally difficult but not impossible to shift. Recovery is likely to be long term and relapse is often part of the recovery journey. Almost always addiction covers over some other problem such as depression, anxiety or trauma. This means recovery not only involves addressing addictive behaviours but also addressing the underlying issues. See the addictions page for specialists we have in this area.

Sexual issues

Q: We are concerned our son may be heading into trouble with young children he's in his 20's but tends to associate with young children we are concerned as to possible pedophile. We have no money were can we find help for him before he hurts someone.
A: If you could afford it I suggest you contact Kathryn our specialist sex therapist. Otherwise the organization to contact is Safe - safenz.org.nz, phone 09 377 9898,email info@safenetwork.org.nz - I suggest you contact them and have chat about your concerns and take it from there.

Q: Where can you go to talk about sex?
A: I suggest you contact Kathryn our specialist sex therapist.

Q: : Hi I'm male and having um sexual issues. Erectile dysfunction sort of thing. Is there anyone that could help with this as I've read it can be psychological? I'm very embarrassed though to see someone. Would this be embarrassing for a counsellor to discuss also? ta
A: Sure - Kathryn is a specialist sex counsellor - and as for embarrassment - as with many things in life the anticipation is often much worse than the actuality.

Q: Would Auckland Therapy be able to successfully treat delayed ejaculation and retarded ejaculation?
A: We are fortunate to have a specialist sex therapist on our team so I suggest you contact Kathryn and have chat about your concerns and take it from there.

Q: Where would I go or who do I ask for advice as to how to tighten up as after having children I am not tight anymore.
A: We are fortunate to have a specialist sex therapist on our team so I suggest you contact Kathryn and have chat about your concerns and take it from there.

Q: Man's issue and premature ejaculation. Do you cure that sort of thing?
A: Sexual dysfunctions are complex with a usually a mixture of physical and emotional origins. While all our team are experienced with the emotional aspects of sexual issues Kathryn is our sex specialist so she would be one to contact about an evaluation and treatment options.

Sexuality

Q: Hi, I am a teenager and I feel as though I might be gay or bisexual, though I desperately don't want to be. I used to get turned on by girls when I was finishing primary (as normal for an 11 year old) but then all of a sudden I spent two years at an all-boys intermediate school. I had little contact with girls my age for 2-3 years. For the last year or so, I feel myself being turned on my some guys at my school. I am now at an all-boys high school, but I do spend quite a bit of time with girls, and have been for the last year or so. I still do get turned on by girls, but not so much to the extent that some guys I know turn me on. Even though they turn me on, I do NOT want a relationship with another guy. That would just be weird and wouldn't feel right. I know a quite a lot of girls and there are a few I think are cute and would like to ask out, but I'm worried that if I do I might turn gay or something. For example, a major fear of mine is that I may not get an erection at the 'right time'. You can see my dilemma, I have given this quite a bit of thought. One thing that really confuses me is that I don't get turned on whatsoever by erotic pictures of men (e.g. models, or on the net), much more by erotic pictures of girls. The little pornography I have seen, the straight and lesbian pornography turns me on quite a bit more than the gay pornography. It's really just a few guys I know that turn me on, and it seems to be purely physical, not emotional whatsoever. I suspect this problem came about because of the long time period isolated from girls just as I was getting interested in them. I am not especially close to my parents so it is not something I can share with them. I am close to my friends, but life would change too much if I reached out to them for help. My best friend is kind of a bigot so he would definitely judge me, and the school I go to is a very masculine and non-forgiving school. I'm pretty masculine myself, so this is very frustrating for me. I desperately want this problem to go away. Looking to the future, I would want to have a wife and family, and I don't want this stupid issue getting in the way. Desperately in need of help, I have nowhere else to turn to. Can you help me ??
A: Sexuality is a complex interplay of various layers of attraction: physical, emotional, and spiritual, with several dimensions of instinctual and learned responses. To reassure you many people (if not everyone) goes through a period of sexual confusion and exploration and most (if not all) of us are bisexual to some extent or another (consciously or unconsciously). Perhaps it would help to talk to your school counsellor or a phone counsellor. A great phone counselling service for teens is What's Up. It is a free, national phone counselling service for five to 18 year olds. To talk to a counsellor, call 0800 WHATSUP or 0800 942 8787 free from 1pm - 11pm, seven days a week. NB You have expressed you dilemma in a very self aware, articulate and intelligent way which is an encouraging sign that you will successfully navigate these sexual confusions and explorations.

Social anxiety

Q: Hi, I am in need of some help. I am in my 20's and outwardly I would appear to be a high achiever, with confidence and a long list of successes. However, I constantly battle myself. I think about suicide but could never hurt my family like that. I have poor self worth, confidence and body image. I am very self aware though and worry that antidepressants will take away my personality to the point where I cannot succeed as I have been doing. Long comment - what do you think?
A: Goodness this pretty much sounds like a recipe for depression and anxiety - it's time to get some help!

Q: I'm 24years old I've always been shy & antisocial but lately it's getting worst I just want to hide in my room I'm scared to go to work as I just can't get on with co workers I'm sad all the time I get hot & sweaty when around people I feel so dumb.
A: Sounds like it time to get some help. I suggest you get in touch with one of the team, make an appointment and take it from there. If that's too hard at least talk to a doctor about medication options or do the program on depression.org.nz to stabilize your mood then get to some therapy to sort things out long-term.

Q: I've been looking into social phobia on the internet, is it possible social phobia/anxiety can cause blackouts? I've been diagnosed with depression in the past but being medicated never helped me answering the phone, talking to people, being in public or passing out when put in stressful social situations. So I have come off my meds and I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with me.
A: Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint is common with panic attacks. Please do contact one of our team if you would like further help.

Suicidal feelings

Q: Do you have male therapists that work with suicidal ideation?
A: Yes, any of our team - here is a list of our male therapists.

Therapy

Q: What services do you provide?
A: Auckland Therapy offers comprehensive counselling and psychotherapy services. In addition to individual counselling and psychotherapy we offer: Couples Counselling, Men's Counselling, Child & Adolescent Counselling Group Therapy and more...

Q: I'm in my 1st year of studying. I have a lot of friends wanting me to help counsel them, I advise them I'm not qualified, they get upset with me when I refer them to other agencies. How can I make them understand I'm only studying and don't have all the answers yet?
A: It is pleasing you are taking your professional ethical responsibilities seriously. I suggest you take this question to your teachers or therapist to explore it fully.

Q: I am a counselling psychologist. One of my patients is a young man. He is addicted to pornography for many years. Now he wants to have sex all the time, but he lacks the confidence even to talk to a female leave aside take her to bed. He is now becoming psychotic to some extent. How can I help him?
A: Sounds like it is time to seek out some professional supervision. The following members of our team offer supervision services Linde, Liadan, Jenni, Helen, Frances, Deborah.

Q: Are your counsellors non judgemental & supportive?
A: Yes. However good therapy can at times be challenging as change is not always easy or comfortable.

Q: Your website has to be the electronic Swiss army knife for this topic.
A: Thank you - we appreciate your feedback.

Q: Found your guys site wow you guys are doing a amazing job . Good on you . S
A: Thank you - appreciate your feedback.

Q: Is it normal to be skeptical of therapy / therapists?
A: It's certainly not unusual.

Q: Who answers the questions on this page and how do I see them or make an appointment with them? They sound quite knowledgeable
A: It's a combined effort of a number of team members.

Q: What is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist?
A: Psychological problems are complex. They have many interwoven causes including biological, historical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual. Different professional stress different understandings and different approaches to treatment.

A psychiatrist is medical doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment or psychiatric (mental) conditions. They have expect knowledge in the biological causes of psychological disorders and the use of medication for treatment. Clinical psychologists also work with psychological problems however their expertise is behavioral and cognitive (thinking) causes of psychological disorder. They specialise in changing in behaviour and thinking. Psychotherapists particular expertise is the historical, emotional and relational causes of psychological distress. They focus on self-understanding to promote change and growth.

Q: I am thinking about counselling for myself. I have never got this done before so am not sure where to start. It's for marriage problems. Can you let me know who to call and also provide me with an estimate of how much it will cost? Thank you .
A: I suggest you browse the profiles of our team that are located in your area and give one or two of them a call and have a chat about their fees, available times etc. This will give you a feel for who you would like to work with. Fees are generally these are in the $90-$130 range per session. Some therapists have room to negotiate or may suggest alternatives if this is unaffordable.

Q: What subjects are taken at school in order to be a counsellor in future?
A: There are no particular requirements but the most useful would be Communications, Te Reo, & English plus any arts and humanities and - whatever will help develop you as a fully rounded person and helps you develop a broad understanding of human nature.

Q: What if I start with a therapist and I don't want to continue?
A: Well sometimes therapist and client are just not a good fit and despite the best efforts of both things just don't click. Please do talk to your therapist about your concerns.

Q: How confidential is what we would talk about?
A: Confidentially is taken very seriously by therapists. What is said in the room stays in the room with the following exceptions: Firstly as part of good professional practice therapists routinely discuss aspects of the therapy professional supervisors. Secondly (and very rarely) we have legal duties to disclose where there is serious and imminent risk of harm to the client or another person.

Q: I am worried that I don't know what sort of therapy I need. What if psychotherapy is not right for me??
A: Part of the purpose of this website is so you can make informed decisions about therapy. If you have questions please ask away or call up one of our team and have a chat.

Q: If the person will not seek help?
A: Hmm difficult - you could call Healthline 0800 611 116 which is a free 24 hours health information service staffed by registered nurses and have a chat to them about your concerns.

Q: What's the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychologist?
A: Both psychologists and psychotherapists address emotional distress or psychological distress. Psychologists understand human being from the outside in - they use generalised approaches with little appreciation of individual difference. Psychotherapists approach this from the inside out - through therapy the client comes to their own unique self understandings which in turn promotes meaningful change.

Weight & body image

Q: I'm 35 years old and consider myself successful in life however I continue to struggle with self-sabotaging my efforts to lose weight. I know what to do, how to do and why to do but keep failing and wonder if there is more to my failures. I don't respond well to the 'gentle touch' and the 'you have the power within you to change speeches' as it were so have been reluctant to go to counselling. Any suggestions?
A: Sounds like some depth psychotherapy would be a good option for your - that is talking with someone who has a deep understanding of unconscious process and making sense of what is happening at an unconscious level.

Workplace

Q: Hi, I would like to get some help in dealing with workplace issues - ideally in problem solving and developing strategies for coping. Could you please recommend a suitable therapist? (City central/Epsom/Remuera area)
A: Pretty much any of our team - I suggest you pick a couple, phone them up and have a chat to get a feel for them and their approach and then go from there.

Find a Therapist

Learn more about the Issues we deal with, the Counselling Services we offer, see a map of Therapist Locations or find Auckland Therapist by suburb.