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  • Eating Disorders vs Disorded Eating
    While they may sound similar, there are important distinction between an eating disorder and disordered eating that will impact the best therapeutic approach. Eating Disorders (including Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder) Eating disorders are complex and benefit from the help of a trained specialist. During our initial consultation, we will assess your symptoms and discuss the best approach to treating them. In the event your symptoms pose a medical risk, treatment may involve referral or collaboration with other medical professionals. Disordered Eating (including Compulsive Eating, Comfort Eating, and Emotional Eating) Treatment will include exploration of emotional triggers, attachment patterns, thinking patterns, and influences from the pas in order to gain insight, build resilience, and create lasting change.
  • The Therapeutic Relationship
    Research suggests that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in therapeutic outcomes. As such, there is a strong emphasis in contemporary psychotherapy developing interpersonal connections. While a therapeutic relationship is a professional one, it can also feel intensely personal and is likely to have its ups and downs. Clients are encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings about the therapist and the therapeutic process during sessions. Therapy is a process that takes time and consistent effort to achieve results. Developing a strong and trustig relationship with your counsellor is essential to successful outcomes.
  • What is Attachment Theory?
    Perhaps the most profound idea to emerge in psychotherapy in the 20th century is that of attachment. Starting in the 1950s, this theory developed from careful observation of children and their caregivers. This theory has been validated by large amounts of research over many countries and cultures. It has stood the test of time, and has had far ranging influence in infant development, child rearing, education, counselling, psychology, as well as understanding adult love, intimacy and relationships. Secure Attachment The basic idea is very simple, almost self-evident. Babies are extremely vulnerable and totally dependent on their caregivers for their very survival. From early in infancy, children form very strong bonds with their primary caregivers for nurture and safety. Their worlds revolve around their parents and caregivers as they gradually explore their world, venturing away from their caregivers to explore, trusting they can return for security. So, ideally the caregivers are reliable enough, and intuitively know their child well enough, to respond to its needs (physical, emotional & psychological), yet allowing the freedom for the child to expand its world. Within these nurturing bonds, the child's mind, personality and sense of self gradually emerges. Such children are termed securely attached ; they are free to explore and develop, knowing they always have a safe place. All going well, they will gradually internalise that sense of security, develop independence, self-confidence and a sense of mastery in the world, while also capable of forming stable, loving and secure relationships as adults. Insecure Attachment For many different reasons, often outside caregivers' control, things are not always so rosy. For what even reason the child may not experience reliable caregiving and not be able to rely on its caregivers for attuned nurture and protection. The child may still form a very tight bond with their caregivers, but this bond will be undercut with a level of deep insecurity. In response, the child may become fearful and clingy, seeking comfort from their caregivers but finding little (anxious attachment). On the other hand they prematurely start protecting themselves and shield themselves from the caregiver, other people and the world in general (avoidant attachment). These are the two main types of insecure attachment. The anxious version is generally much more obvious but the avoidant one is just as insidious. A third style of insecure attachment known as disorganized attachment may develop in children who have experienced serious ongoing disruptions or unstable and unpredictable caregiving. Unsurprisingly, they are likely to respond to the stresses of life and relationships with chaos and emotional instability. Adult Attachment A good deal of research has validated the relative stability of attachment styles from childhood into adulthood. Children who are insecurely attached will most likely still grow into high functioning adults. However, they are likely to take insecure styles of relating into their adulthood. Further, these deep patterns of attachment are likely to surface in intimate relationships. Simplistically, the more insecure your attachment as a child, the more likely you are to have dissatisfying relationships. It may be difficult to trust your partner, feel secure or be vulnerable with them. For example, the avoidant partner usually finds emotional intimacy difficult so fearfully or hostilely withdraws into their own space. While the anxious partner often worries about being abandoned so frequently seeks reassurance and attention (sometimes negative attention is better than none). Though it has been less well researched and documented, attachment styles may feed directly into sexual styles of adulthood. In the bedroom, attachment styles may play in various ways. For example you may desire the physicality of sex but be uncomfortable with emotional closeness. On the other hand you may desire emotional closeness but feel this gets in the way of your full sexual expression. These are two over-simplistic examples of how attachment style and and sexuality may interrelate. Also, insecure attachment also predisposes people to anxiety, depression and other psychological disturbance. This is because people with insecure attachment are likely to experience the world as unsafe and not meeting their needs. This can also make it difficult to reach out or accept help so can be a barrier to seeking therapy. Once in therapy insecurely attached people are likely to want to be "fixed" by the therapist without risking any vulnerability or getting into "messy feeling stuff". Also it can take time to develop trust with a therapist. These dynamics may become more pronounced in times of stress, further impact psychological wellbeing. Seeking Help It is important to note that attachment styles are not rigidly fixed categories. They can be modified, responding to context, circumstances and interpersonal dynamics. So the good news is that change is possible. Taken from Attachment Styles, Sex & Intimacy © Malcolm Idoine for Auckland Therapy Blog, 7 Jan 2019
  • Free & Low Cost Counselling Options
    Need to talk? ​ Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor. Need to talk 1737 is a new free 24/7 four digit phone and text number funded by the Ministry of Health that will make it easier for people to connect with mental health professionals. The same trained mental health trained counsellors who currently respond to calls, texts, webchat and emails across the existing National Telehealth Service mental health helplines will support people who call or text 1737. Funding Sources ​ Work and Income Funding (WINZ) If you are a student, on a benefit or a low income you may be eligible for a Work and Income (WINZ) allowance that provides a subsidy of up to $61.69 a session. You will need a doctors recommendation - contact WINZ for more details. ACC Funding ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) will fund some counselling or psychotherapy, particularly that relating to physical injury, sexual abuse, or sexual assault. Contact either ACC Sensitive Claims or an ACC registered counsellor. Online Advice The Lowdown is a New Zealand depression website that allows you to chat online to a counsellor. AUT Psychotherapy Clinic The AUT Psychotherapy Clinic is on the North Shore Campus of AUT University. Advanced students of the Master of Health Science programme provide the psychotherapy. The AUT psychotherapy clinic aims to provide quality psychotherapy at an affordable cost. Link to the AUT Psychotherapy clinic. GP Services Some doctors can access free or subsidised counselling for their patients. This can depend on which Primary Health Organistaion (PHO) your GP is registered with. Give your GP's office a call and check with the practice nurse. Student Services Most of schools, universities, polytechnics and private tertiary providers offer free counselling for their students. Check their websites for details. Government Mental Health Services There are a range of mental health services funded by the government through the district health boards. Generally you can not self-refer to these services but need to go though a health profession. The best place to start place is your GP. ​ Community Counselling Services There are a variety of community funded organisations that provide free or low-cost counselling such as Lifeline, Youthline or Home and Family Counselling, as well as some charitable organisations and churches. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau should know the options in your area. Victim Support Counselling Victim Support provides emotional support, counselling, personal advocacy and information to all people affected by crime and trauma throughout New Zealand. ​ Barnardos Family Services Barnardos offers some low-cost services for children and families.

Ready to start the counselling process but struggling to afford it? Above are several free or low-cost options available to you. You can also contact me to discuss potential funding or payment plan options for my services.

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