We all have times in our life when we need extra support or wish to explore some aspect of ourselves. An objective third party can really help. I am a trained Counsellor & Family Therapist working in Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand.
I believe that we are all doing our best on any day, in any moment with the knowledge we have at the time (when we know better, we do better).
Sometimes our thought processes or behaviours produce unexpected or unwanted results. Exploring our motivations, self talk, beliefs and patterns can help create a more satisfying life now and in the future. Some people like to explore the past to understand how situations have come about; some like to change their life from the next moment onwards - both approaches can be covered in counselling with me.
You may have some questions like the ones below:
For more information on the counselling process with Suzi, click here.
A very important question that doesn't get asked
One question that doesn't get asked very often, but I will answer here is:
What is the most important element to get a good result out of counselling?
The answer to this question is the right fit with your counsellor. There are other important elements too - someone with the right kind of experience, qualifications and professional membership, but none of these things will work well if you don't have the right fit. If you don't "gel" with your counsellor; if the first session doesn't finish with a feeling of acceptance and rapport, then you won't get the results you are after.
It may be tempting to go to someone who charges less, or who has time available that fits your schedule best - choosing on this criteria may mean that you don't get the right person. I can't emphasise how important it is to find someone that you feel comfortable with - it may be worth waiting for some additional funds (or talking to them to see if they can discount their fee), or getting time off another commitment to see the right counsellor for you.
Trust your gut - have a good look through your potential counsellor's website, and allow yourself to get a sense of them. It is perfectly acceptable to telephone "interview" your counsellor before meeting. Clients who have spoken with me before making an appointment feel a lot more comfortable at the first appointment as a result.
Frequently Asked Questions that do get asked
Below are some additional questions that you may have about counselling:
Do I need to write things down?
You are welcome to bring a journal or paper with you to your counselling appointments. Often you will make plans and create goals that you may forget in the every day busyness of your life.
How many times will I need to come?
My hope is that you will get significant benefit from the first 2-3 sessions. If that is not the case, we will need to have a discussion about whether I'm the right fit, and whether this is the right time for you as a client, to be attending counselling.
Are our sessions confidential?
Information about supervision and confidentiality is on this page.
A brief summary is that everything we discuss is confidential with a couple of exceptions: if you give me permission to share information, professional supervision, if you or someone else is at serious risk of imminent harm. This is explained more fully on the page above under "confidentiality" and "supervision".
I take notes during the session, which are kept in a confidential location and no-one but me sees them.
What sort of things will we talk about?
I generally start with asking you a bit of information about your family tree to build a fuller picture of you.
We will then talk about what brings you to counselling and what goals you would like to work towards. More information is on this page under "What if I don't want to talk about some topics?"
Generally, whatever you are comfortable discussing can be covered in counselling. It is not my practice to ever re-traumatise someone by making them discuss an issue that they're not comfortable exploring.
Will I have to talk about my childhood?
As I mention above, I like to get some general information about whether your parents are still alive, together and how many siblings you have. Beyond that, you don't need to give any details about your childhood unless you think it's significant to what you are trying to achieve.
Most of us learn to live and love in the households we spent most time in during our formative years, so there may be some patterns you established at a younger age, that don't work for you as an adult.
Some people don't like to "rummage" around in the past. I am happy to work with present day issues and changing thought patterns from today to create a different future.
Can I bring my kids or significant other to my appointments?
You are welcome to bring a support person, partner or friend to your counselling appointments. They can be part of the counselling process or merely there for moral support - it's entirely up to you, the client.
As I work with children aged 14 and older, you would need to make childcare arrangements for younger children.
Babies who are not crawling are ok for counselling, but toddlers and crawling babies can be very disruptive to the work we are trying to do.
Babies and children pick up on the vibe, even if they are plugged into headphones, which is why it's not advisable to bring toddlers or older children with you
Will I have to do role plays?
Some therapeutic modalities utilise role plays/acting/rehearsing. My style is to work with whatever the client is comfortable with. I don't use psychodrama (role playing is included with this modality). I do sometimes, if the client is comfortable, utilise visualisation techniques, which can be very powerful and freeing.
A healthy counselling experience involves informed consent - checking in with the client about their own comfort levels and boundaries and never pushing them into something they are unwilling to explore.
How do I know Suzi is qualified to see me?
I have been working with clients since 2002, three years after I began my training. I am a Registered Counsellor and full member of NZAC, the professional body for counsellors in New Zealand.
Check out this page, which talks about professional memberships for therapists in New Zealand.
As part of my professional membership, I am required to attend professional development every year, and attend regular supervision. This means talking to an experienced counsellor about our client work to ensure that we are clear on our motivations, our own processes, and that both the clients and ourselves are kept safe. My supervisor is bound by the same ethics and confidentiality as me. I talk about my clients in such a way that they can’t be identified.
How do I book an appointment with Suzi?
Firstly, check out the available appointments on my schedule page.
Follow the process there, and I will email you back with confirmation.
If the time you wish to come shows "held", please get in touch. Tentative appointments may be available to be released upon your enquiry.
If you have a Gmail account, it may appear that you can book online - this isn't the case. It updates your GCalendar, but doesn't send any notification to me.
How do I pay Suzi?
Please make payment at the beginning of the session if you are paying by cash.
If you wish to pay by cash card, Visa or Mastercard there is an eftpos terminal at the clinic.
If you want to pay by online banking, please pay into 12 3014 0097943 00 at least 24 hours before your appointment.
I can also send you an invoice from my accounting system, which offers the option of directly into my account, Paypal or Stripe.
What happens if I can't make an appointment time?
It is a sign of respect that we both adhere to the time of each appointment. Please provide as much notice as possible for any postponement or cancellation with a call or text. There may be someone in need waiting for an appointment time.
Please provide as much notice as possible for any postponement or cancellation. If 24 hours’ notice is not given, the full fee will be charged (unless I am able to fill the appointment). Future appointments will be dependent on the cancellation fee being paid.