Counselling in Auckland

In person Auckland Counselling to you have more joy, drive, ambition, and pleasure in your life? People go to counselling for various reasons. Too often, an individual will wait until their relationship is distress or they have completely lost the will to live before they engage in counselling. Why wait until you feel completely hopeless, lost and depressed? Counselling can help you to achieve the changes you want in your life today. I have studied various approaches to counselling and combine an integrative blend of interventions tailored to your specific needs. Relationship Counselling Therapy is located in Ponsonby, Auckland.

What is Counselling?

Counselling is professional therapy helping you to resolve intrapsychic psychological problems and achieve your goals. Goals might be to rid anxiety, feel calmer, feel happier, overcome trauma, bad habits, enjoy life more, to feel secure in relationships, to overcome compulsive behaviour or bad habits, increase confidence or self-esteem. Counsellors are trained in specific techniques such as EMDR or CBT to help with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, peak performance or relationships. Counselling is an opportunity to gain new insights into problems, learn anxiety-busting tools, communication skills, and strategies to navigate life’s challenges. A counsellor won’t usually give advice but can help you to clarify your issues, explore options and increase self-awareness. Having a counsellor/therapist is as important as having dentist, GP, check-up or getting your car service done. Just as plaque build up in teeth, resentments build up in relationships. Tackling problems early and getting regular check-ups could save you a root canal or extraction in the long run.

How can counselling help me?

Some common reasons clients seek counselling are:

  • Relationship issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Career issues
  • Lack of purpose/direction
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low self-confidence
  • Sexual issues

How do you know the counsellor is right for you?

Finding the right counsellor or therapist that you have a connection with is essential. Some questions to ask are: Do you feel comfortable talking about all issues with this person? Are they a full member of a professional counselling organisation and adhere to a professional code of ethics? Do they have specialist training or skills in the area you are seeking help with? If you do not feel that your counselling is the right fit, talk to them. It may be transference or it may be something else. Counsellors are trained to talk about difficulties that come up in the therapeutic relationship. If you or your counsellor do not feel a fit, then they will likely have a more suitable therapist in their network that they can refer to. A counsellor should always have your best interest at heart.

About Margo:

Margo is a registered, full member of New Zealand Association of Counsellors, as well as being a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist and trained in EMDR Therapy. She is dedicated to continuing professional development in areas of relationships, anxiety, depression, problematic use of substances and trauma. Find out more here

She has specialist skills in Relationship Counselling Techniques such as Imago Relationship Counselling and Gottman Relationship Therapy. Also Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Schema Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and EMDR.

What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a proven, researched technique used in counselling. It is particularly helpful for processing trauma. EMDR can help you to process traumatic or triggering experiences safely. An emotional trigger is any memory, experience or event that creates an emotional reaction. People come to counselling because they have many triggers. EMDR is a psychodynamic therapy which allows your to process past memories safely, sometimes without even having to talk about them. EMDR is particularly help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is often caused by a negative events such as serious accidents, sexual assault, physical abuse, exposure to traumatic events at work, medical events, childbirth issues, war, or torture. EMDR is a scientifically proven researched method to overcome PTSD.

What is CBT counselling?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of counselling talk therapy treatment that helps people identify problematic thought patterns that are leading to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, phobias or fears. The premises underlying CBT is that our thoughts lead to our feelings, feelings lead to our actions, and actions have consequences. There may be underlying beliefs that lead to our thoughts. For example, someone seeking counselling because of a fear of flying may have a thought that “The plane is going to crash”. This may lead to feelings to sweaty palms, racing heartbeat. The resulting action might be to not get on the plane. This has a consequence of not seeing any other country, other than New Zealand. CBT interrupts this thought pattern. Researchers have identified 10 most common thought patterns. These are: Polarized/all or nothing/ black or white thinking. People with this thinking pattern often see the world in extremes. Either I’m a complete failure or I’m a success. People are evil or people are good. It may result is moving people to your black list category. The antidote to this is to see shades of grey. Other patterns include: Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, Discounting the positives, Jumping to conclusions, Magnification or minimization, Emotional reasoning, “Should statements”, Labeling, and Personalization or blame.

What is Schema Therapy?

Cognitive Schema Therapy was developed for patients where CBT was not effective. It is more effective method to understand complex psychological trauma where needs were unmet in childhood.  Schema therapy is an integrative therapy approach combining elements of CBT, attachment, along with other forms of counselling therapy. It provides a platform to examine in-dept the relationship with yourself and others.  It is based on the premise that there are 18 dysfunctional patterns called “life traps” or early maladaptive schemas (EMS). EMS are assumptions about yourself and others that are holding you back from enjoying life and having healthy relationships with others .  Schema Therapy can provide great insights into interpersonal relationships as research indicates that interpersonal difficulties are closely tied to early maladaptive schemas. In a nutshell, schema therapy can help you to identify negative patterns of interacting in relationships and enjoy healthy patterns of behaviour. This is particularly useful those struggling with relationship issues, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse.  If you want to uncover repeating patterns of conflict or negative behaviour or you want to find a loving healthy relationship or you want to overcome compulsive behaviour, schema therapy may be the key to unlocking happiness.

How many counselling sessions do I need?

Some people come to counselling, are easily able to articulate their goals, feelings, needs, access cause, process trauma and do not have any resistance in making changes necessary. Others have more complex histories, unhelpful coping strategies, compounded by events such as betrayals of trust/affairs/active addiction/domestic violence/other trauma, which have not been resolved.  EMDR can be a particularly effective tools, in combination with CBT and schema therapy. I often recommend starting with 6 sessions and then reassessing whether treatment is complete or more sessions would be beneficial. 

How often should I do counselling sessions?

Once per week is generally recommended. For couples that are in a healthy relationship, once per fortnight may be sufficient. It is important that both parties in a couples session are heard, therefore 90 minutes is recommended.

For more challenging issues and those wanting faster results, intensive therapy may be more beneficial.  If you have been struggling with an issue like trauma, depression, substance abuse or anxiety for many years, then more intensive or longer sessions are likely to be more beneficial. Contact me for customised intensive  sessions.

Why does counselling seem to sometimes make things worse?

Counselling can help you to surface unconscious memories that have not been processed fully. Techniques like EMDR will help you to work through those unpleasant memories that may be causing blocks to enjoying life again and having connected relationships. It is therefore not uncommon to sometimes feel uncomfortable after a session. Know that “This too shall pass”. A counsellor will give you coping strategies to help you manage distress. Sometimes the goal of therapy is to expand the “window of tolerance”, thereby increasing the ability to manage stress better. This will result in better relationships with your partner, friends, colleagues kids, a better sense of self and great fulfilment.

What happens in a counselling session?

I will ask what goal you would like to achieve. Sessions will start with history taking. If we are doing EMDR, then it follows specific protocols.  EMDR focuses on identifying issues from the past that are causing current negative beliefs or blocks to love/success/happiness/being anxiety free. EMDR has a regimented set of instructions however it is proving highly effective in the treatment room. If we are doing Schema Therapy counselling, then I may ask you to fill in questionnaires and do homework reading. At other times, we may do visualisation or mindfulness therapy.

When should you see a counsellor?

Counselling can help you to experience more connectedness, enjoyment, and fun in life.  Counselling can help you if:

  • If you have a goal that you would like to achieve and you would like to enhance what is already going well
  • If you are experiencing recurring stress, anxiety or depression
  • Reoccurring interpersonal problems such as conflicts with your boss, neighbour, sibling, or friend that you cannot seem to let go of
  • If you struggle with trust issues
  • Excessive worry
  • Compulsive use of problematic substances
  • Recurring traumatic flashbacks or memories

Can Counselling help a broken relationship?

I have researched and/or trained in specific modalities such as Imago Therapy, Gottman Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy. Research has indicated couples wait several years after problems start in their relationship to seek help. Each of the above relationship modalities has a different focus. Imago Therapy is more psychodynamic in nature and will often identify childhood wounds that are leading to current emotional triggers. Gottman Therapy is focused on identifying current behavioural patterns and creating new ways of being. Emotionally Focused Therapy is focused on attachment and attunement between the couple. There are several exercises and techniques that can help heal a broken relationship. All relationship counselling therapy has a focus on helping couples communicate in a kind, loving way towards each other. A relationship counsellor can help facilitate conversations about trust, differing parenting styles, blended families, difficult in-law dynamics, non traditional relationships or infidelity.

Can counselling help with Anxiety? 

Helpful stress is called eustress and can be useful as a motivation tool but too much stress can lead to feeling overwhelmed and negatively impact day-to-day life. Anxiety and stress management is a common issues that counsellors work with. 1 in 4 New Zealanders are affected by anxiety. The anxiety family consists of social anxiety, general anxiety, phobias, panic disorder. Counselling helps you to identify the problem, address the symptoms and give you strategies to help you overcome anxiety. CBT, Schema Therapy, Mindfulness and Relaxation Therapy, EMDR are helpful clinical interventions. I particularly enjoy working with specific phobias such as fear of driving, bridges, water, flying, dentists, needles, blood, animals such as birds, dogs, or spiders.

Can counselling help with depression? 

It is natural to feel a bit down sometimes but if a low mood lingers for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of something more serious. In which case, it is best to talk with your GP and ask for a mental health assessment to rule out any physical causes. They can advise you on next steps. Research indicates that talk therapy is effective in treatment planning. Signs of depression include a lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, depressed mood, changes in appetite, a slowing down of thought, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, diminished ability to concentrate or making decisions and recurrent thoughts of death or recurrent suicidal ideation. The symptoms cannot be related to substance abuse or other medical condition. For more complex depression, Schema Therapy Counselling  has proven to be more effective than CBT. Here EMDR Counselling is proven to help depression and trauma symptoms by process present and past trauma.

Counselling to get over an ex.

Ask yourself 1) Was that person able to love me the way I deserved to be loved? and 2) Was I able to love them the way they deserved to be loved? Counselling gives the opportunity to reflect on the relationship, what were the frustrations, what were the negative patterns that kept repeating, how did you really feel in the relationship? how did you react? What were you needing in that relationship that you unable to get? Our mind is designed to avoid painful experiences and we forget about the lack of trust, resentment and conflict often lead to low self-esteem, self worth, lack of confidence, and feelings of rejection. There is often a mourning process, similar to grieving process, when a relationship ends. The Kubler-Ross theory of grief describes 5 stags of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. David Kessler has added a 6th stage called finding meaning.

Whether its unrequited love, you decided to end it or they decided to end it, it can be just as painful. Counselling can help you to process feelings, and give you tools to process emotions. You might be ready to hear this but eventually, you might find that there is indeed another fush in the sea and wonder what you ever saw in that other person.

Where can I contact you to find out more about starting counselling?

Text Margo on 021-0322563 or email [email protected] or

Book Free 15 minute no obligation call here