Counselling Aotearoa News

NZAC: Room for growth, says new Exec member

From a voluntary group of counsellors to a powerful collective that can facilitate mental wellbeing change, the NZ Association of Counsellors has come a long way.

Nevertheless, new National Executive member Warren Mason says it has room for further improvement.

“The Association has come on leaps and bounds, but like many organisations, there is always room for growth,” he says.

“I feel the Association has much more potential for development, and I’m excited to assist in any way I can, or at the very least be party to that change.

“This growth will have wide-ranging benefits, not just for our members, but for Maori and Pakeha in their own unique and diverse ways.”

Warren believes the counselling profession and the Association have a responsibility to advocate for social justice, addressing New Zealand’s inequitable access to the right services.

While opportunities for those seeking help have improved, the stigma still remains, he says.

He says in order for people to have equitable support, both Maori and Pakeha views should be considered when pushing for change in thinking.

“As part of the Association’s continued growth, we have a responsibility to create a shift in thinking to focus on asking for help and to reinforce that it is ok to do so,” Warren says.

With years of previous Christian counselling experience through a church he belonged to, Warren wanted to formalise this role with tertiary education.

Following his graduation from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Commerce, he joined the Association over eight years ago as a student, while studying a Diploma in Counselling in Christchurch.

Since then, he has worked with non-governmental organisations, and in high school counselling positions, private practices, youth mentoring, Ng?i Tahu Runaka management and the Department of Corrections.

In 2009, he co-founded Atarangi Counselling Services as an answer to the pressing need for greater awareness into the effects of addictions, behavioural issues, general and acute social, psychological and psychiatric challenges and the implications for individuals, families and society.

In addition to his business acumen and NZAC treasury experience at Canterbury branch level, Warren hopes to complement the already-experienced Executive.

“While not yet being appointed a portfolio, I’m motivated to hit the ground running and offer my experience where appropriate.”

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