WELCOME TO PATHWAYS COUNSELLING SERVICE
My name is Karen Buckland and I am a counsellor in private practice operating under the name of Pathways Counselling Service. I have been a counsellor for 20 years and have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters in Counselling, both from Massey University. I am a full member of NZAC (New Zealand Association of Counsellors) and I am ACC accredited.
Pathways Counselling Services
The areas that I find of special interest are:
I work with individuals, male and female, from teenagers to adults. I also work with couples and families. Sessions are 50 minutes to one hour long. It is usually best to meet weekly but other arrangements are possible. It is essential when sharing issues of importance that you feel confident and safe in relating to the counsellor. Please feel free to make initial contact with me by phone or email to further discuss the issues you would like to bring so that we can decide together whether I can help you. My fee is $100 per hour. However this is negotiable under certain circumstances. In some situations there is also funding available. Please feel free to enquire about this on the initial contact.
- Depression and anxiety
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Domestic Violence
- Survivors of sexual abuse
- Relationship issues
- Family Therapy
- Eating disorders
- Careers Counselling
What is counselling?
Counselling is about working together to make sense of what is happening and finding ways to go forward. Often our current patterns of behaviour, thinking and relating to ourselves and others have formed in reaction to past experiences. When these are not useful they can cause huge emotional stress. Becoming aware of these patterns and the things in us that drive them can be hugely useful in helping us to take charge of our lives and to change the things that we need to do so.
Change can mean all sorts of things. It can range from being fun and fantastic to mildly attractive to seeming confusing and scary. However it is a process. My job in that process is to be alongside you as you work out what you want to be different. Once you understand that then the task becomes that of helping you use your own resources and talents to make that happen. This is always the rewarding part for you and for me – noticing the changes that you are making and then the differences they are making in the rest of your life.
Often doing this alone can seem overwhelming. However sharing it with someone in a safe, confidential and trusting environment can make it bearable. This is why counselling is becoming a much more common service for people to seek help from.
Counselling is not about expecting the counsellor to tell you what to do. Counselling is about helping you to find some answers of your own. I am not the expert of you. You are the expert of you. Often when life’s bumps and bruises come along we lose our expert voice. My job is to help you find it again.
In talking about it and having you share what you know about yourself and your situation with me, I can listen to you and notice what seems to be important to you. The wonderful thing is that through this kind of attention in which I reflect back to you what you have to said to me, you will usually end up with a lot more information about yourself and your situation than you had before you came. You will understand much more about what you’re feeling and what you’re reacting to. And in the process, your story will become much richer and you will have a much greater appreciation of yourself as the totally capable person you were actually born to be.
From there you can make your own plans. You will be fascinated at the ease with which you do this once you have the ‘bird’s eye’ view of yourself and your situation that the counselling process gives you.
I use a lot of different approaches. I do a lot of listening but I also ask a lot of questions, the answering of which helps both you and me to get a better view of you and your situation. Sometimes I get you to act out different people in your situation. Other times I get you to act out a situation between the part of you that wants something and the part of you that does not want it.
Sometimes you will get a better perspective if you draw or if you write in a journal. Writing a letter to yourself or to others (not necessarily to be sent) can be really helpful in increasing your perspective and bringing relief and release from things that were previously locked up inside of you.
Often, unpleasant emotions show up in your body somewhere. Becoming aware of this is important. Using simple ways of unlocking them can be very releasing. It can result in freeing your brain from the anxiety that unpleasant physical symptoms impose and allowing it to deal with your actual problems.
Certainly having a range of approaches means that I can tailor my input into your journey to meet your specific style and needs. Always however I am respectful of you and your well-being. You will always have the choice of whether to participate or not. Often we find it difficult or simply don’t want to do things that feel unfamiliar. If that’s the case it’s probably worth thinking and talking about why you don’t want to do a particular thing.
Always confidentiality is central. I will not be discussing you with anyone else unless I have your written permission. If for example it should become helpful to talk with your doctor, ideally the conversation would be held in front of you. I have a supervisor who I discuss things with as needs arise and she too is sworn to confidentiality. In fact she will not even know your name. Sometimes however situations arise in which there are safety issues involved. At such times it may become pertinent to involve somebody else who is able to help in a more specialised way. As always you are central to the process and your input is important.
If you are still wondering whether the style of counseling I offer would be of help to you, then please give me a call and we can discuss this further my number is 07-3781828.
What is family therapy?
Family therapy recognises that family relationships are an important factor in psychological health. It recognises that relationships themselves can be a means of nurturing change and development. Therefore involving families in solutions is often beneficial.
Family too, in this sense, does not just have to involve the traditional concept of parents and children. Rather, the concept of who counts as family, is more realistically defined in terms of the strongly supportive long-term roles and relationships that people have, which may or may not be connected by blood.
The number of sessions required depends on the situation. The average is 5 – 20 sessions. I usually meet several members of the family at that same time. This has the advantage of clarifying the ways family members see things and the differences between them – both outside the therapy room and within the session. It also makes it clearer for the family members themselves as they hear themselves and each other speak as I ‘hold up a mirror’ from my position outside of the family. This position of ‘observer’ also places me in an interesting position within the family as well and this can make some differences that can be quite useful.
So in family therapy, the focus is on relationship patterns, rather than on individuals. In the session I am interested in what is going on between individuals rather than within individuals. Of course, being a therapist I am still aware that there are things going on within individuals,but in the family setting that is not my focus. What is going on within an individual may need to be addressed in another setting.
Depending on what has brought the family to therapy, it may be appropriate to focus on looking at specific previous incidents of conflict with a view to suggesting alternative ways in which family members might have responded to each other during it. Alternatively it may be helpful to look at current sources of conflict by pointing out patterns of interaction that the family may not have noticed, but which, when paid attention to, lead to other ways of being that are more effective in solving problems.
Often the tendency is for family members to ‘blame’ each other as being the cause of the problems. This is not very useful so in family therapy my emphasis tends to be on the solving of problems rather than necessarily identifying a single cause.
Family therapy can be approached from a number of different angles. One is structural, which looks at the roles and boundaries between people in the family. Another is strategic, which sets tasks for each family member between sessions, with a view to noticing the changes that the completion of those tasks brings to the general sense of wellbeing in the family.
There are other ways of introducing change to the family as well. If you think that paying attention to your family relationships would be a useful way to address issues for you and your family members, then feel free to call me and we can discuss this further.