Your frequently asked questions about my counselling services answered

How does counselling help?

Sometimes problems and issues you have may go around and around in your head with no real solution in sight. A counsellor can be a sounding board – someone who can listen and reflect on what you’ve said, ask questions that move you forward, away from just ruminating. A counsellor can help you work out what’s best for you moving forward.

The counsellor can also work to help you discover what the underlying issues are for you. For example, it’s not just that you “self sabotage”, what’s the root of it – and how do you go about changing the behaviour that’s getting in your way?

If talking works, why shouldn’t I just talk to my friends?

Professional counselling services work quite differently to talking to a friend, as you’ll know very little about your counsellor / therapist and she won’t be wanting to interject and turn the conversation to her issues as friends often do. If your counsellor self discloses anything, it will always be in order to help you do the work. Also, the counsellor can challenge you in ways your friends won’t, because she doesn’t have a vested interest in your friendship, in keeping a social connection with you. She’s there to help you work through what you’re wanting to work through.

The time you spend with a counsellor / therapist is all about you. You get to experience what truly being heard feels like and you get to work though your problems with no judgement, no fear of the counsellor/therapist gossiping about what you’ve said, in a way that’s helpful and healing.

Your counsellor / therapist has also spent a lot of time examining research and studying different ways of helping you and so has a lot of background knowledge of various issues that you may be experiencing.

What does confidentiality mean?

You have full confidentiality within counselling / therapy. This means none of what you’ve disclosed to the counsellor will be shared with others without your consent. Confidentiality can be compromised if the counsellor has fear for you or for someone else – this is about the onus of care. Most counsellors will discuss the details of confidentiality in your first session.

How Many Counselling Sessions Will I Need?

This is a difficult question that can be addressed at your first session. It’s a bit like “how long is a piece of string”? It depends on how deep you want to go with the work and what your presenting issues are i.e., why you have come to counselling / therapy. Research does show that once you come to your first session you’re already about 65 percent of the way to where you want to go – that’s because you’ve got to the point of admitting you need some help.

How much are therapy or counselling sessions?

My counselling services cost around $100 per hour session on average. There is a sliding scale. ACC sensitive claims clients and OCP (employment assistance) clients get funding by those organisations, so clients don’t have to pay. If you’re on a low income, I can help you with attaining Winz funding.

How long will sessions take?

Each session is one hour long.

Do you do group therapy sessions?

I do groups, but at the moment mostly grief and loss groups for the Grief Centre in Birkenhead, and other organisations. If there are enough people who want other groups, I’m happy to facilitate them; there’s a lot of benefit and healing in taking part in group therapy.

What challenges can you help me with?

I work with all sorts of issues such as grief and loss, trauma, anxiety, depression, difficulty with emotions, pain / health issues, life transitions, workplace problems and cultural / immigration issues.

Are you a properly qualified counsellor?

Yes, I have a Master of Counselling through the University of Auckland and am registered with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors as a full member.

What is the difference between counselling and therapy?

Traditionally counselling is seen as dealing with here and now issues such as dealing with stress, lifestyle changes or relationships.  It usually is more short-term than therapy. Therapy is seen as going “deeper” – looking at emotional and relational patterns and their roots for an individual. It’s important to note that there’s a lot of overlap between the two – and many counsellors, myself included, do deep work if that’s what the client is wanting.

Could you tell me something about your therapy?

I have been training in therapy for the past few years and have been seeing therapy clients for at least four of them. I am currently preparing for my CTA (Certified Transactional Analysis) exam  – which will give me a full psychotherapy qualification.

Do you keep up with new ways of doing things?

I take professional development really seriously and am continually learning new ways of helping my clients. I also learn a lot from my clients themselves, which is really important in this field. Often what they say or how they present will lead me to more research and development of my practice.

If you’re having difficulties and you think that therapy might be helpful, then get in touch. If you’re looking for North Shore counselling services, Val Leveson is based in Glenfield, Auckland.

Talking does help.

Call 0211684502