FAQs About Counselling

Have a look in the Search section of the NZAC website http://www.nzac.org.nz/nzac_counsellor_search.cfm , in your local phone directory or online for counsellors listing themselves as MNZAC (members of NZAC). You can also ask at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.  

Have a chat asking about time, place and cost. Let the counsellor know what you want to get out of counselling and check that they can provide this. You may also want to ask about the counsellor’s qualifications, their professional membership and the way they work. You should get a sense of whether you’d be comfortable talking to this person.   

NZAC counsellors are required to meet standards of training, ongoing professional development and accountability to ensure they offer a safe, respectful and effective service. They also have regular supervision.

There is a lot of similarity between counselling and psychotherapy as they are both “talking therapies”.  Psychotherapy recognises the importance of conscious and unconscious psychological processes and the relationship between the therapist and client to further the healing process.  Counselling draws from a number of theoretical approaches and can include these aspects. It will focus on your difficulties and concerns helping you develop more satisfying and resourceful ways of living. 

Counselling helps you explore and manage your emotions, thoughts and behaviour.  It can help you plan and set goals and improve your relationships.  Counselling assists you to address challenges in your life, get to know yourself better and to develop new ways of thinking and living. 
Counselling helps with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, life changes and stress, relationships with family, friends and work colleagues, trauma and abuse, domestic and sexual violence, ……  

It is sometimes difficult to know how many sessions will be required.  It depends on the complexity of the issues you want to work on.  Discuss this with your counsellor and review it with them when you need to.   

Counsellors don’t prescribe medication. Medication is sometimes useful in conjunction with counselling, for example in some cases of depression or anxiety.  Discuss any questions about medication with your GP.

Yes you may need to talk about difficult things however your counsellor is trained to ensure this is a safe and respectful process.  

Discuss your concerns with your counsellor first if you’re able to and if you’re still dissatisfied change counsellors.  It’s important to feel comfortable with your counsellor so trust your instincts. 

It’s normal to feel somewhat uncomfortable at first while you’re getting to know your counsellor.  However most people say they feel relieved to have started the process and to be able to talk freely with someone neutral and non-judgemental.  If you don’t feel you are making progress after the first few sessions talk to your counsellor about this.

Counselling works for most people, most of the time.  

It works best when you’re ready to participate and when you and your counsellor are clear and realistic about your therapy goals.  

Each counsellor sets their own fees.  Don’t be afraid to ask about this.  You may qualify for funding help so ask what’s available in your area.   

No, you can’t get a refund, in the same way you can’t get a refund for a GP or Dentist visit.  

There is funding available through ACC, Work and Income and some Primary Health Organisations/GP’s.  Ask your counsellor or GP if any of these apply to you.

We know from research that the relationship between the client and the counsellor has more effect than the type of counselling used. Most counsellors use a range of different modalities or ways of working and know how to find the way that works best for each client.  The most important thing is to look for a counsellor with whom you feel comfortable, safe and respected.  

Change counsellors.  It is important you feel safe and respected by your counsellor.  

NZAC has a complaints process you can access by writing to the Ethics Secretary, ethicssecretary@nzac.org.nz or NZAC, PO Box 25287, Wellington 6146 who can talk to you about whether you want to lay a complaint and what the process is.  

Yes you can bring a support person with you.