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Everyday is a Fresh Start - Read the Answers to  Common Questions

Read The Answers To Common Questions

Frequent Questions & Answers For You

You Asked, I Answered...

I receive a lot of inquiries about my counselling service at Harmony Counselling Service. To accommodate you faster, I have posted my answers to the questions I most frequently get. 

You can read them all on this page. 

Should you wish to speak with me personally, feel free to contact me so we discuss your particular needs and schedule a session if desired. 

My service is primarily based at 50 Croziers Rd, St Albans, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Lotus Flower
Harmony Counselling Service

What Are Your Qualifications And Experience?

I have a New Zealand Bachelor in Social Services (Counselling) achieved with Distinction and an Australian Diploma of Counselling. I am also qualified as a Restorative Justice Practitioner & Facilitator including experience in Sexual Violence and Family Violence specialities, as well as being experienced as a Nurse in Australia within multiple specialty areas for many years.

This breadth of experience and knowledge allows me to understand better the impact of various health or other life issues and experiences you may have. 

I continuously undertake regular professional development as required by my Full membership with the New Zealand Association Counsellors (NZAC) and Level 4 membership Australian Counselling Association (ACA) counselling professional bodies, to ensure I work within a 'best practice' and ethical approach for my clients at all times.  I am happy to show you my qualification and membership certificates upon request.
Harmony Counselling Service

What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Or Like Your Style?

No problem, I encourage honest discussion and feedback within our sessions so I can adjust my style to fit what you need. If you prefer to see another counsellor, I would be happy to assist you with this.

Harmony Counselling Service

What's The Difference Between A Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Psychologist And Psychiatrist?

There is a lot of similarities between counselling, psychotherapy and psychology - they all include various “talking therapy” methods. All these professions in New Zealand are based upon a high standard of rigorous training programmes to achieve their chosen qualification. All have professional organisational membership requirements to undertake ongoing professional development to maintain their competency and increase their skills sets as well as codes of conduct and ethics when working with clients.

Psychotherapy helps you to understand yourself by exploring how your early life experiences and personality affect your current thoughts, feelings, relationships and behaviour based on psychodynamic theories of human behaviour and personality. These theories emphasise the importance of unconscious mental processes, early childhood experiences, and the role of emotions in shaping behaviour with the idea being that once these buried experiences (and their accompanying emotions) are brought to the surface, they can be fully processed, and ultimately, released. For this reason, psychotherapy is normally a frequent (anywhere from 1 - 5 times a week) and long-term process (6 months to several years), allowing you the time and space to fully open up.

Counselling can also include these aspects, but will include a strong focus on your current difficulties and concerns to help you develop more satisfying and resourceful ways of living. A counsellor generally puts their focus to what’s happening to you in the present. This could be difficulties at work or home, specific traumatic events such as a bad break up or losing your job, or even just feeling more stressed than usual. Counsellors can also support you in somatically processing past trauma, addictions, phobia's or compulsive behaviours, so that the emotional intensity decreases to allow more functionality in your daily life that commonly can disrupt relationships and employment. A counsellor will look at your immediate presenting symptoms and behaviour (e.g. feeling more anxious than usual) and how that’s impacting your life. Looking at these difficulties, the counsellor will then focus on equipping you with workable, effective 'tools' that can help you break out of unhelpful thoughts and habits. This means that counselling normally has a shorter duration, lasting anywhere from just a few sessions, to sometimes many months of therapy where needed.

There are two main types of Psychologists (Counselling or Clinical) with the differences being found in the types of issues they work with. A counselling psychologist will tend to work with 'healthier' clients (those experiencing more surface-level emotional and social issues), whereas a clinical psychologist will normally work with people suffering more complex mental health conditions, such as personality disorders, major depressive disorders, schizophrenia, psychosis, and more severe or complex behavioural problems, often providing long term support with regular client sessions over several years.

Psychiatrists on the other hand are medical doctors who have completed their general medical training and then specialised in psychiatry. In New Zealand, psychiatrists are generally seen for ongoing specialised medical management of various mental health specific medications, such as anti-depressants, mood stabilisers, sleeping tablets and other medical psychiatric treatments such as electric convulsive therapy. They are also able to prescribe medications not available to your general practitioner and can advise your GP about the most appropriate treatment options for you. While some psychiatrists also provide psychotherapy, they are, however, more likely to refer you to a counsellor, a psychotherapist or a psychologist due to the high demand for their specialist medication management and diagnostic skills.

Harmony Counselling Service

What Modalities Or Approaches Do You Use During Sessions?

I work primarily from both a Person-Centred Therapy approach whilst also utilising the cultural Te Whare Tapa Wha Maori model with its holistic concepts. However, I can utilise other methods to suit your specific needs during each and every individual session. I am trained in many methods of therapy approaches including somatic based therapies and can teach you emotional regulation skills where this may be of benefit for you also.

The Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) approach is based on the core principles of empathy, genuineness, and acceptance. I then utilise Integrative Therapy which can incorporate techniques and concepts including practical and simple strategies from Assisted Animal Therapy (AAT) or Pet Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Brainspotting (BSP), Acknowledgement and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT - Tapping), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solutions Focused Therapy (SFT), Gestalt Therapy, Imaginal Exposure Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Imago Relationships Therapy, Child Play Therapy (CPT), Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy (TIY) based on Yin, Restorative & Yoga Nidra styles, Pranayama Breathwork Therapy and various others when required, changing them to suit your needs as therapy progresses. 

I also utilise various assessments when appropriate, to measure the severity of a specific problem as well as determining your progress within therapy. I can provide a copy of these for your doctor to assist you further where requested.

Harmony Counselling Service

What Is Animal Assisted Therapy or Pet Therapy?

Animal Assisted Therapy or 'Pet Therapy' is a growing area of therapy where animals are utilised within your therapy sessions to support increased comfort and engagement, reduce stress levels and encourages communication when feeling anxious in session. Animal Assisted Therapy is known to provide the following benefits:

  • increasing self-esteem
  • increasing verbal communication
  • developing social skills
  • increased participation within therapy
  • improving interactions with others


Other benefits of pet therapy include:

  • making you feel happier, lessening depression, and improving your outlook on life
  • decreasing loneliness and isolation
  • reducing boredom
  • reducing anxiety because of its calming effects
  • helpful in learning empathic and nurturing skills
  • improving the relationship between you and your healthcare provider


You may choose to have either 'Maggie' a delightfully happy Poochon Dog, or 'Molly' a cheeky, sweet Burmese Cat in your sessions to gain their bonus additional benefits.

Harmony Counselling Service

What ‘Speciality’ Or Client Problems Can You Assist With?

I can assist clients with a range of life struggles including anxiety & panic attacks, depression, excess stress, work or relationship difficulties, experiences of grief & loss, family violence & anger management, sexual abuse, addictions, chronic pain or health issues, self-esteem and confidence issues, past trauma or a current critical incidents, separation issues, career issues & redundancy, loss of identity, personal or family crisis, hoarding or clutter behaviours, sexual & gender identity related issues, intimacy issues, phobia's and compulsive behaviours, emotional regulation problems and help with managing self-harm behaviours or suicidal thoughts. 

If the issue you are having difficulty with is not listed, please feel to discuss it with me during your initial phone call with me so I can ensure I have the appropriate skills to assist you. If I am not skilled in the area of your need, I am happy to refer you to an appropriately skilled therapist who can help you.

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Provide Sessions For People From ‘Minority’ Community Groups?

Absolutely. I provide a non-judgemental, supportive and equal service for all people including those with physical or intellectual disability, all ethnic groups, people identifying as LGBTQI+, all forms of spiritual or religious beliefs, sex workers, people who have committed crimes and people from other 'minority' groups.

Harmony Counselling Service

Are You Registered With My Employers Employee Assistance Program (EAP) To Provide Free Counselling For Me?

I offer a set number of free sessions if you are an employee and eligible for the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for counselling with Benestar, Raise, Instep and Vitae through your employer. If you are not sure if your employer is registered with one of these EAP companies, just check with your manager, HR department or myself to find out and how many free sessions you may access.

Harmony Counselling Service

I Have Experienced A Sexual Assault Or Abuse - Can I Access ACC Funded Counselling or Trauma Informed Yoga Group Therapy?

If you have experienced sexual harm whether it be recently or many years ago, as an ACC Approved Provider for Sensitive Claims, you can access fully funded counselling with me. In our first session I can explain the ACC claims process and complete a quick simple form to get the process started. There are several options you can access including either a set number of short term therapy sessions or sessions provided over a longer term. You can stop therapy at any time, and resume again in the future as you need the support.

Don't worry...Not everyone one wants to talk in detail of the sexual harm they have experienced which is completely okay - I will support you to work on the issues that are impacting you now, that you feel are important for you in moving forward with your life positively.  

I also facilitate ACC fully funded Trauma Informed Yoga Group Therapy courses for clients who already have an existing and accepted sensitive claim, and are currently seeing a ACC Sensitive Claims approved therapist. Courses are run in school terms four times per year for 9 weeks each. You may choose to complete Level 1 Yoga (Beginners Yin & Restorative styles), Level 2 (Intermediate Yin & Restorative styles)  Yoga or, Yoga Nidra (Relaxation/Meditational style) courses. In each course you will also learn various emotional regulation skills to further support mood management. These classes are all available online, as well as in person in Christchurch city. I am happy to support you in the process of enrolling for these group therapies so you can gain additional benefit whilst attending your individual sensitive claims counselling therapy.

You may also be able to access support with transport to attend your ACC sensitive claim funded appointments or group therapy classes - just ask either ACC directly, your sensitive claims therapist or myself (if you are engaged with another therapist) and I will be happy to assist.

Harmony Counselling Service

I Have Cerebral Palsy - Can I Receive Free Counselling?

As an approved Counsellor with The Cerebral Palsy Society, they have a program called Get Up Again where they can support people to access a limited number of counselling sessions. You can apply on their website directly and once approved, they will allocate you a specific funding amount which you can then utilise to pay for your sessions.

Harmony Counselling Service

I Have A Child Diagnosed With Cancer - Is There Any Funded Support I May Access?


As an accepted Counsellor with the Child Cancer Foundation, they have specific funding for a set number of free counselling sessions to provide emotional support during such a stressful whanau time. You can contact them directly to request counselling therapy support and they will assist you to arrange getting sessions started. Once I have received their referral form for you, I will make direct contact to arrange an appointment.

Harmony Counselling Service

I Am A Child, Youth Or Young Adult Under 25 Years Old - Is there Any Funded Support I May Access?


As an accepted Counsellor with Gumboot Friday New Zealand - I Am Hope Organisation, they have specific funding for a limited number of free counselling sessions to provide emotional support for children, youth and young adults. You can apply directly online via their website to request counselling therapy support with my service - which is a simple, fast process. I will make direct contact with you once your referral is forwarded to me from Gumboot Friday New Zealand.

Harmony Counselling Service

Can WINZ or StudyLink Subsidise My Counselling Costs?

You may be eligible for WINZ to specifically cover counselling session costs. You do not need to be currently on a WINZ benefit to qualify for the counselling subsidy. WINZ can subsidise up to 40 payments per year at $75.10 each week, which they pay directly into your bank account to allow you to pay for your counselling sessions with me via internet transfer. I can provide receipts as required by WINZ to confirm your attendance for sessions. 

They may also provide additional financial support with funding to cover your travel costs to attend therapy.

Just ask your doctor to complete the WINZ Disability Certificate - Counselling Form. I will also need to complete a portion of your form for you to then lodge it with WINZ. You don't need to make an appointment with WINZ to submit the form – you may simply hand it in at their front desk of any branch for it to be processed or, upload it online via their website once you log into your account with them. I recommend you make a follow up phone call with them if you don’t see an increase in your payment upon your next normal benefit payment after lodging the form, to assist with speedy processing.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Can I Access Free Sessions From Victim Support As I Have Been Impacted By A Serious Crime Or Natural Disaster?

If you have been an impacted a serious crime or natural disaster you may be eligible for the Victim Assistance Scheme (VAS) provided by Victim Support. They provide funding under selected schemes with a set number of eligible therapy sessions - Homicide Counselling, Death by a Criminal Act Counselling, Serious Crime Counselling, Sexual Violence Counselling (if you are unable to access an ACC approved sensitive claims therapist) and Civil Defence Emergency Management Counselling. 

You just need to contact them directly to discuss your situation. They will provide you with an 'Application Approval Number' and send your referral to me so that I can then make contact with to arrange an appointment.  You may also be eligible for 'Travel to Counselling Reimbursement' from Victim Support - just ask them and they will assist you with this request. 

Harmony Counselling Service

What If I Am Unsure If Harmony Counselling Service Is Right for Me Before My First Session?

I am happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have before your first session during a phone discussion about my practice and approach. This allows you to initially assess if I am the right counsellor for you, and for me to ensure I am suitable to assist your needs or specific issue. If you feel I'm not, I am happy to refer you to another therapist who specialises in the area of your needs.

Harmony Counselling Service

What Happens In My First Counselling Session?

We will go over a 'counselling contract' together in which I will explain my various professional responsibilities to you as a client, discussing your needs and expectations, and answering any questions you may have. We will also complete an 'intake' discussion which helps to identify any relevant life experiences that have impacted you thus far, including what brings you to counselling, and then set goals for treatment based on what you would like to achieve from counselling by the time you complete therapy. We then get started on the goal that is most important to you. We will regularly review your goals to ensure you are progressing as desired by you.

Harmony Counselling Service

What Is Your Cancellation Policy?

24hrs notice is required before cancellation/rescheduling of appointments so that the time slot can be filled by another client. If less than 24hrs notice is provided or you don't attend your scheduled appointment, then the full session fee is required to be paid before further sessions can be held. The session fee may be waived on cancellations or non attendance due to genuine emergency situations.

Harmony Counselling Service

What If I Need to Change Appointments?

I understand life circumstances can change quickly. Feel free to contact me to rearrange your appointment for another day and time that is more suitable for you. Please give 24 hours' notice otherwise a late cancellation fee of the full session payment will apply.

Harmony Counselling Service

What Are Your Consulting Hours?

You can make appointments to suit your schedule from Tuesday to Friday, between 10am – 7pm.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Long Is Each Session?

You may choose to have 1 hour, 1.5hour, or 2-hour sessions according to your preference. I also have a 1⁄2 hour appointment time, which is more suitable for younger children if desired, if they are unable to tolerate 1 hour sessions. Just let me know your choice when you book.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Often Will My Sessions Be?

It is usually recommended for the best results that sessions are undertaken weekly initially and then tapered to longer intervals, such as fortnightly or monthly, as you feel appropriate until therapy completion. Some people feel they only need a few sessions, and others feel more comfortable with more sessions over an extended period of time. The choice is yours to make regarding what suits you best.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Many Sessions Will I Need?

It is difficult to determine how many sessions you may require. Counselling therapy is an individual process for each person. Some people only need a few sessions, while others may feel the benefit of more sessions to deal with more complex or ongoing life issues. I regularly 'check in' with you during therapy to ensure your needs from counselling are being met, and how you are feeling about continuing therapy. 

The appropriate time for ending therapy is negotiated to be when you are feeling ready, and no longer require my support. You can always return for 'top up' sessions in the future as needed, should your life circumstances change, and you feel a session or two may be beneficial for you at that time.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Much Is Your Session Fee?

A half-hour appointment for young children is $80. A one-hour session for adults, children or couples is $160. A 1.5-hour session is $240, and my 2-hour session fee is $320 for clients who prefer more extended sessions.  WINZ clients are offered a reduced rate of $150 for a one-hour session, which means your WINZ counselling allowance will fully cover my fee. These fees are all GST inclusive.

A set number of free sessions are available for eligible ACC Sensitive Claim clients, Benestar, Raise, Instep and Vitae Employee Assistance Program (EAP) clients, Victim Support clients, WINZ clients, Child Cancer Foundation clients, Gumboot Friday clients and Cerebral Palsy Society clients.

Harmony Counselling Service

Are You Registered For GST With IRD?

Yes, all my prices include GST and reflect this on any invoices I generate or receipt you may require. 

My GST number is 116-851-571.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Can I Pay For My Sessions As A Private Paying Client?

If seeing me in person, please pay via internet transfer on the day of your appointment directly into my Westpac business bank account - Gaye Mallinson T/A Harmony Counselling Service, account number 03-1592-0205396-00...just include your name as the reference so I know the payment came from you. I do not have EFTPOS facilities available.

For clients seeing me via Skype/Teams, Facetime or Phone, payment can also be made by internet transfer into my bank account directly on the day of each session held. Automatic payments can be easily set up with your bank to provide regular payments for each session if you have a regular appointment and prefer this option.

Harmony Counselling Service

What Happens If I Am Late Arriving For An Appointment?

We will be able to spend whatever remaining time is left for your scheduled appointment as per usual. Unfortunately, I am unable to extend the time as I have other bookings. The full session fee is required as per usual.

Harmony Counselling Service

Where Can I Attend Sessions In Person?

I have a consulting room at 50 Croziers Rd, St Albans, Christchurch which is set up as a safe, quiet and welcoming space for us to talk through your issues with a complimentary hot drink and snack should you wish. 


When you arrive, just enter via the pedestrian gate with the Harmony Counselling sign and follow the pathway to the entrance, press the doorbell to let me know you have arrived and I will be happy to greet you. 


I have a large range of 'fidget' items to keep your hands busy if you find this helpful while we talk or, you may also wish to have the company of one of my pet therapy animals in the consult room to increase your sense of comfort during your session. Additionally, you are welcome to utilise a weighted blanket available for use to enhance your sense of safety and grounding during your session. There are often a range of small wild birds to watch feeding outside the consult room window from a feeding post nearby which can be calming during the session.

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Provide Telehealth or Internet-Based Sessions Such As Skype/Teams/Facetime?

Yes, if you are unable to attend my consulting room due to time restraints, health issues or are a long distance away, we can arrange to undertake your sessions via Skype, Teams, Facetime or Phone. If by phone, I will call you to avoid any call costs to you.

If you would like to see an overview of the pros and cons of Telehealth counselling, check out the following link:

Harmony Counselling Service

I Have An Urgent Situation I Need to Talk to You About Since Our Last Session – What Can I Do?

No problem, just contact me, and we can arrange for your next session to be brought forward to a day and time suitable for you based on my availability. 

If it is more urgent and outside of my consulting hours, please see my 'Links' page for various after-hours emergency support organisations you can contact to support you until I can return your call on my next business working day. 

You will find I have also provided a list of potentially other helpful organisations that you may find useful as well.

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Have Professional Indemnity, Statutory Liability and Public Liability Insurance?

Yes, I have full professional indemnity, statutory liability and public liability insurance, which covers my private counselling practice. I am happy to show you my current policy upon request.

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Have A New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) And Are A Registered Legal Business?

Yes, my NZBN is 9429047527966. 

Feel free to check out my registered business details for Harmony Counselling Service on the NZBN government webpage

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Abide By A Code Of Conduct (Ethics)?

Yes, I am a Full member of the New Zealand Association Counsellors (NZAC) and Level 4 member of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). Professional counselling body membership requires me to abide by their code of ethics policy at all times. I am happy to show you their specific policies upon request.

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Receive Regular Professional Supervision?

Yes. As part of belonging to a professional counselling body, I am required to regularly attend supervision to discuss how I am working with my clients, along with discussing any personal feelings I may be experiencing to maintain my empathic capacity and avoid compassion fatigue. This ensures ongoing professional development through the maintenance of ethical and best practice standards. However, any client information discussed is done so in a non-identifying way to ensure client confidentiality.

Harmony Counselling Service

Is The Information I Discuss In My Appointment Kept Confidential?

Yes. I will not disclose any information about you to any other person or organisation unless required to do so by law or by your direct request.

There is an exception - Counsellors belonging to a professional counselling body (such as myself) are required to report only directly relevant information to an appropriate organisation such as your doctor or police if there is a serious concern for your safety, or if you intend to harm someone else.  This also includes concerns around child safety and protection which requires notification to Oranga Tamariki for any further support as assessed by them. If possible, this concern would be discussed with you at that time before any disclosure being reported, in order to ensure your safety or that of someone else.

Also, as part of belonging to a professional counselling body, Counsellors are required to attend regular supervision sessions to specifically discuss how we are working with clients. This is to ensure ongoing professional development through the maintenance of ethical and best practice standards. However, any client information discussed is done so in a non-identifying way to ensure client confidentiality.

Harmony Counselling Service

Do You Take Notes, What Happens To Them, And Can I Read Them?

Yes, I do record notes about each session and client contact, which is held on a specific medical database which has encryption protection as required by my professional body membership. They are securely stored according to the requirements of my professional body and then safely destroyed according to their policy. If you wish to see your notes or require a copy, certainly please discuss this with me and I will be happy to assist. 

I do not provide your information to any external organisation unless required by law or directly requested by you. Where your safety or that of someone else is of immediate concern, I am required to notify an appropriate person or organisation in order to safeguard that safety. If a serious risk is identified during a session, this would be discussed with you personally at that time. 


However, if the safety concern is raised between sessions, in the first instance I will attempt to contact you directly to assess the risk further. If I am not able to make contact with you directly in a short timeframe, I am required to make contact with a suitable person for their assistance to ascertain your safety and emotional welfare as my priority, and commitment to you.

Harmony Counselling Service

How Can I Make A Complaint Should I Wish To?

I welcome you to discuss any concerns you have directly with me, and I will do my absolute best to resolve any issue you may have. I will be supportive, and encourage you to be open and honest about your feelings and concerns with me at all times, to ensure a successful resolution for a positive therapeutic relationship experience.

Harmony Counselling Service

I Have Another Question Not Listed Above?

Certainly, please contact me, and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

If you are in a crisis and you need to talk to a mental health professional outside of Harmony Counselling Service's business hours or urgently, please see my 'Links' page for a list of appropriate organisations able to provide 24 hour emergency guidance and support.

Harmony Counselling Service
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