Bipolar disorders

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder @ Auckland Therapy counselling and psychotherapyBipolar disorder is a term used to describe people who experience extreme highs and lows of mood over long periods of time such that this causes distress or interferes with their lives and relationships. It covers a wide spectrum of from people who are seriously unwell to those whose mood swings are moderate.

It has become a rather 'popular' diagnosis, rather unhelpful since it covers such a board range of symptoms and severity.

Causes of bipolar

There is evidence that this disorder is largely the result of fluctuations in brain chemistry and has a genetic basis. These fluctuations are very individual, with wide variation in duration and severity of the manic peaks and depressive troughs.

With the creation of many new medications, advice is best sought from an experienced GP or psychiatrist to see if medication is appropriate. This may involve some trial-and-error to find a balance between benefits and side-effects.

Medication alone is seldom a complete solution and complementary approaches are often helpful including lifestyle changes, support systems and therapy.


While medication may be very successful in smoothing out the extremes, people with bipolar, like everyone else, are vulnerable to all the difficulties of life and the psychological injuries from childhood disruptions, trauma or abuse.

Weather you are on medication or not, therapy offers a safe space to seek help for the high and lows, relationships issues, grief and loss, anxiety, trauma, sexual identity, etc. For some, long-term therapy will be an important way of staying well by providing:

  • safely and stability during the tough times
  • address any psychological injuries that might emerge
  • reflection and personal development

Also see Trauma & PTSD,  Mental health issuesPersonality disorders & BPD, Sexual abuse or Emotional issues

Find a therapist

Please note: In Auckland we are fortunate to have publicly funded specialist treatment programmes that offer an range of services not possible in private practice. If you are experiencing serious serious bipolar symptoms your therapist will assess these with you. They can then recommend treatment options and explain what resources may be available including public services or a private psychiatrist. Depending on your wishes, the severity of your symptoms, and the support you need, they may continue working with you or refer you to appropriate public or private psychiatric services.

For adults

See a map of Therapist Locations or find an Auckland Therapist by suburb or learn more about the Counselling Services we offer.

For children & teens

We also have an excellent specialist team of Child, adolescent and family therapists experienced in working with children and teenagers experiencing mental health difficulties.