Contacting a counsellor for professional guidance is a big and brave step. It is worth investing a bit of time into it to make sure that you are with the right person: someone who has expertise with the issue you seek help for, a person you warm up to early in the relationship, and whom you believe you may grow to trust and openly confide in in due time. To help you in ascertaining whether I am a good fit for you, I offer a preliminary phone conversation and an initial consultation.
Preliminary phone contact
Before we make an appointment, I will call you at a convenient time so that we can discuss the issue that is bringing you to counselling and ascertain whether I can offer you the guidance you need. This conversation typically lasts 20 minutes or so, and is free of charge.
This is the start of our working relationship. It is the time when you tell me in depth about your problem, its history and its manifestations in your day-to-day life. We will probably also touch on the current structure of your life, your family and your support systems for me to get a more comprehensive picture of your situation. We will also discuss your goals and hopes in coming to counselling. Towards the end of the session, I will offer a review of what you have shared with me, the insights that we have gained thus far, as well as suggest a plan for future work if required. You can at this point decide if you would like to continue working with me.
Typically, counselling happens for one hour weekly at a regular time. While I attempt to abide by this structure, I have however come to realize over my time in practice that a “one size fits all” structure does not suit all clients, either for personal or professional reasons. I believe that the counselling relationship should be a place of practical, as well as emotional, support and I therefore offer a more flexible approach outlined in the fee section below.
Similarly, I offer face-to-face and Skype (or Zoom) appointments for clients for whom it is impractical to travel to sessions, either regularly or on a one-off basis. Your specific needs will be discussed in our initial phone conversation. We will reevaluate them at the end of our initial consultation and can renegotiate them on an ongoing basis.
One-hour initial consultation (55 minutes of session time, allowing 5 minutes for transitions at the beginning and end of the appointment) at $100
Two-hour initial consultation (105 minutes of session time, allowing 5 minutes for transitions at the beginning and end of the appointment and a 10-minutes break at an convenient point during the session) at $180. This is recommended if you are coming for help with an ongoing issue that has spanned through a large portion of your life (for instance depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorder). The time-frame allows for a “time line”, an exercise when we identify the most outstanding times and events in your life and place them alongside the history of your presenting issue to find connections and patterns.
One-hour sessions (55 minutes of session time, allowing 5 minutes for transitions at the beginning and end of the appointment) at $100
90-minutes sessions (85 minutes of session time, allowing 5 minutes for transitions at the beginning and end of the appointment) at $150. This may be a suitable option if the nature of your work or life makes it hard to sustain regular weekly sessions and you want to get more out, of the time you can carve out.
Payment is required for each session by cash or internet banking. I can provide a receipt on request, emailed to you after our session. Any session that is not cancelled at least 24 hours prior will be charged in full. This can be waivered in case of emergency and the session rescheduled to a time suitable for both of us.
Sessions may be partially funded through the Disability Allowance. WINZ subsidizes counselling for beneficiaries and low income earners through the Disability Allowance if you meet income criteria and your Doctor agrees that you need counselling. The Disability Allowance is currently paid up to a maximum of $61.69 per week for adults, so that you would only need to cover the balance. For further information about the Disability Allowance, please see the Work and Income website.
There are however exceptions to confidentiality, outlined as follow by the NZAC Code of Ethics, Section 6.2: “(c) Exceptions to confidentiality occur when:
there is serious danger in the immediate or foreseeable future to the client or others,
the client’s competence to make a decision is impaired,
legal requirements demand that confidential material be revealed,
responding to a complaint about counselling practice.
(d) Wherever possible, the decision to make an exception to confidentiality is made: § after seeking the client’s co-operation, unless doing so would further compromise the safety of the client or others, § after consultation with a supervisor.” Ongoing supervision is also a requirement for membership of NZAC. Supervisors are bound by the same code of ethics and confidentiality as I am. Disclosure is limited to what is useful for supervision and anonymity is maintained as per section 6.1 (b) of the Code of Ethics: “Counsellors may discuss, in supervision, information received in counselling as part of the normal management of confidentiality.