About Me
With over 30 years experience, my clients include individuals, couples and families.

My first qualification was in primary teaching when I left secondary school. I enjoyed supporting the children on an individual basis but the busyness of teaching did not always allow for that. I branched into social work training and worked for a few years as a social worker for the Department of Social Welfare. My interest in counselling developed through work at Bethany Centre with pregnant young women as a Social Worker/Counsellor. Once I had raised my children to school age I commenced further training.

I am a Family Therapist and work with individuals, families and couples. I studied education, psychology and counselling at Massey University, completing a Bachelor of Education.  Following that, I gained a Diploma in Counselling and Family Therapy at the Human Development and Training Institute of New Zealand specialising in individual, family and relationships therapy.

I have over 30 years experience in social services. My experience involves counselling children, adolescents and adults. I have counselled in private practice since 2005. I have worked part-time as a School Counsellor at Northcote Intermediate from 1997 until the end of 2017 and also was at Birkenhead Primary from 2012 until May 2017. I provide supervision for other counsellors and students of counselling; I am a provider for ACC Sensitive Claims; I provide counselling for Victim Support.  I am a Member of the NZ Association of Counsellors.

I am comfortable providing online counselling to anyone who occasionally finds it difficult to attend sessions. My preference is to see clients face to face. We can discuss options should you be considering virtual counselling.


Counselling Approach

As a counsellor, I am influenced by Social Systems Theory. As such when working with individuals, couples or families I consider your background and your current situation. Sometimes life brings with it unexpected challenges. This can create patterns of behaviour that feel uncomfortable. Possibly you don’t know how to change these patterns or habits. My approach is collaborative, exploring your struggles and discovering different ways of doing things to create a positive future within your social context.

As a relationship counsellor the approach I use is The Developmental Model. An American husband and wife team, Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson have used their years of couples counselling experience to create this impressive model. I work with couples who are either experiencing difficulties or who are about to enter a long term relationship and want to do it well. This model considers your past and how that influences the present ways of functioning in an intimate relationship and also recognizes the neuroscience behind how we function, especially when it comes to expressing emotions.

Psychodynamic therapy influences my approach to counselling also. Making links between the past and current experiences can result in a greater understanding of why you behave in certain ways. Once you understand yourself more deeply, we can explore ways of making positive changes. I enjoy the collaborative journey of discovering your strengths to make this happen.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) enables you to explore how behaviours, thoughts and feelings interact and influence how you view the world. If your beliefs about yourself are causing you to struggle, CBT encourages useful strategies for creating new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) provides opportunities to explore your strengths that you can utilise in your day to day life to create positive outcomes. This is an approach I used in schools where time was often limited.

Client-centred counselling is basic to professional counselling, therefore I aim at all times to be respectful, non-judgemental and collaborative in my approach. I strive to provide a safe environment where trust is essential and the connection between you and me, is paramount.

You can contact me on +64 274 889 236, or email liz@summerville.co.nz. I am based in Birkenhead, North Shore, Auckland. My charge is $135.00 per individual and $150.00 per couple for a 55 minute session. Longer session times are available if required.

How can counselling help you?
Contact me today for an informal chat, and to see if it feels like the right fit for you.
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