|Find Freedom From Fear
Happiness and Health
Learn to Trust Again
Be Stronger Together
Stop the Cycle of Blame
Better building blocks for better lives
About Christopher Swane
I have worked professionally in the areas of physical and mental health since 1998 as a body therapist and support counsellor.
During 2006 I developed a UK based synergistic health company with allied health professionals, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors and body therapists.
The aim of the organisation was to treat clients who were experiencing depression, eating disorders and anxiety with a holistic approach to mental and physical wellbeing.
After returning to Australia in 2008 I worked extensively with the “2010” New South Wales youth program. More recently I have worked with the Gay and Lesbian Counselling service and as a counsellor at Impotence Australia. My counselling at Impotence Australia has covered a broad range of sexual and mental health issues.
I currently undertake regular clinical supervision as required by Australian Counselling Association (A.C.A.), and my professional practice is guided by the A.C.A. ethical standards.
Qualifications a Master of Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Applied Social Science in (Counselling/Psychotherapy), which underpins my therapeutic practice and academic theoretical knowledge.
I also hold a Certificate four in counselling.
Grief and Loss Counselling
No matter how prepared we think we are, nothing can prepare us for a significant loss of a loved one from our lives. Loss is a universal phenomenon but we all respond with different degrees of grief and mourning. People grieve in different ways and with different durations. There is no set way to grieve. People experience grief in very different ways; from anger and betrayal through to depression and avoidance. Each person experiences grief and loss in their own way and the length of time and the depth of grief is unique to the individual.
We all experience bereavement during our lives. The suggested ‘normal’ process of grief extends through the emotions of sorrow, numbness, guilt, denial and anger which gradually fade over a period of time. These emotions do not have any order and may repeat many times before they begin to fade. You may find a time when memories fade but then come back with renewed strength. This may reignite feelings of sadness, loss, anger and sorrow.
The process of moving forward after a loss of a significant loved one can be accompanied by strong feelings of guilt. Guilt may also accompanied by strong feelings of regret; that something was left unsaid or left undone. Some people feel that their loved one is still with them while others feel that they have been completely abandoned. You may feel the loss of your past memories, or the loss of your future.
If you are experiencing grief and loss I offer a safe and confidential environment. Through grief and loss counselling we can explore your sorrow, and work through these strong and over powering feelings and memories. Therapy can assist you to deal with the very strong emotions that may be troubling you and influencing your life.
Christopher Swane is a couples and relationship counsellor based in Wellington. I can assist you to obtain a better understanding of the problems that may be affecting your relationship. Together we can find the answers that will lead you to a happier and healthier life. I offer a respectful, safe and confidential environment, where you may explore and find the answers to your relationship and individual issues.
Cross Cultural Relationships
As New Zealand becomes more multicultural it is likely that there will be an increase in cross-cultural relationships. The general expectation of cross-cultural relationships is one person will be from the perceived dominant culture (New Zealand) and the other person from a different culture. But with increased multiculturalism it is possible that both partners may originate from different cultures. For example one partner may be from South America while the other is from South East Asia. Or one partner may be from Africa while the other may be from Europe. As all relationships have their own particular problems, cross-cultural relationships may also have specific issues that lead to ongoing problems.
Many couples spend weeks planning their wedding with little thought to what comes after the special day. They are so focused on the wedding day they have not considered to look beyond their wedding and plan how their marriage will operate. Pre-marriage counselling can assist couples resolve to many issues prior to them becoming a major catastrophe.
LGBTI Relationship Counselling
The LGBTI community shares many similar relationships problems as straight couples. There are trust, communication and infidelity issues. But there are several issues that are unique to the LGBTI community.
A major issue which is unique to the LGBTI is being ‘out.’ Being out can affect LGBTI couples in different ways. If both partners are not out then there is a lack of acknowledgment of their relationship to friends or family members. This can create unique problems. There is always a requirement to have two bedrooms if living together which can create extra expense. When it comes to family events like Christmas do you go together or separately to your families? Not being out can create added complications and pressure to your relationship.
The LGBTI community experiences many similar relationship concerns with straight couples. There are trust, infidelity and communication issues. Just as lesbian, gay and bisexual couples have their own unique problems that affect only their relationships so it is with transgender relationships. Transgender couples have their own unique problems that are specific to their relationships.
There are a range of problems that may affect couples where one partner is re-thinking their gender identity. This can be a very difficult and turbulent time for couples. There may be considerable uncertainty for both partners as they manoeuvre these uncharted waters.
Depression & Anxiety
Many people who suffer from depression may also experience feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, sadness, helplessness or a mixture of feelings that are hard to identify.
Constantly arguing with friends, loved ones or work colleagues may be masking the deeper issue of depression.
The feelings that, “no one ever listens to me or no one would ever notice if I wasn’t there”, may be early signs of depression being covered by other feelings.
Along with anti-depressants and regular aerobic exercise, depression counselling/psychotherapy can assist the person who is suffering from long term depression.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the most common therapy used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. CBT therapy suggests that thoughts create emotions, and “cognitive distortions” crates unhealthy emotions or unhealthy perceptions of self. Psychodynamic psychotherapy has also been shown to be very affective in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Can counselling assist those in Wellington with Generalised Anxiety Disorder? Research indicates that it can. We all experience times when we are anxious about work, exams, relationships, buying a new house etc. But what if you worry indiscriminately about everything? Anxiety is important as it motivates us to prepare for important life events, for example studying for exams, or working extra hard on a report. But what happens when the anxiety is unproductive, and you cannot stop worrying about everything? This may even happen when you know it is unproductive and know that it affects those around you. These are some of the features of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Those with Generalised Anxiety Disorder may also experience physical symptoms; restlessness or feeling on edge, being constantly tired, having difficulty concentrating or the mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which affects approximately 3 in one 100 people and is found world wide. People with OCD experience intrusive thoughts that they feel are dangerous to themselves or others. People who experience these thoughts, try to avoid them, as much as someone with a snake or spider phobia. People with OCD battle the intrusive thoughts all day everyday and for some, most of their lives. And unfortunately they often fail in their attempts to to stop the thoughts.
What is self-esteem and can counselling in Wellington assist clients? Self-esteem has been described as the overall evaluation a person has of themselves. Knowing what you know of yourself do you feel good about yourself? (high self-esteem). Or do you feel bad about yourself? (low self-esteem). Our self-esteem can be linked to specific aspects of ourselves. For example, if being a successful sports person or having academic qualifications are important, being successful in these areas will boost your self-esteem. This may be the case even if the success in these areas is detrimental to family, friends, relationships, or social life. A person may have high self-esteem if they focus on their strengths, for example, being a great sportsperson. But if they are a great sportsperson who focuses on their weaknesses then they are likely to develop low self-esteem. Other research has indicated that those with low self-esteem do not have a clear understanding of themselves. They are confused in their own self-belief and have little understanding or insight into their behaviour which leads to identity confusion and low self-esteem.
Performance Anxiety & Social Phobias
Performance anxiety and social phobia are the most common anxiety disorders in the general population. Research indicates that 12% of the population will suffer from social phobia at some point in their life. We all know someone who appears shy but social phobia goes well beyond shyness. Those who suffer from social phobia experience extreme shyness in almost all social situations. People with social phobia dread being exposed to new social situations. And they may experience an irrational fear that they will appear to act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing in social situations.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post traumatic stress disorder was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-III (DSM-III) in the 1980s. Post traumatic stress disorder falls into the broad diagnostic category of anxiety disorders. But unlike most anxiety disorders post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be traced back to a single or reoccurring traumatic incidence. The trauma may be triggered by natural disaster, for instance, fire, earthquake, flood, hurricane, etc. Or PTSD may be a response to; an act by individuals, rape, assault, war, torture, motor vehicle accident, etc.
Men's Support Services
Counselling for Men
Men often feel that counselling or psychotherapy is only for women. And feel there is no benefit for them.
There are many aspects of therapy that can be beneficial to both men and women. These can include self-awareness and personal growth. Counselling can assist you with your communication skills. Other areas of benefit include; tackling difficult conversations with a partner. Or tackling difficult conversations with a work colleague.
Both men and women experience social conditioning from early childhood through to adolescence. The social conditioning that men experience primes them for a successful career, but often fails to develop them emotionally. As a counsellor psychotherapist I have experienced men who enter therapy because they struggle with their interpersonal relationships. The struggle often relates to their social conditioning and their beliefs in the myths of masculinity. Many men experience pressure to conform within rigid social conditioning. This pressure can come from childhood and from family, education, employment, media, and sport. The pressure to conform may lead men to develop self-censoring or aggressive behaviour. This often leads to aggression, conflict and unsatisfying interpersonal relationships.
Fatherhood & Parenting
Fatherhood is beginning to change. The change may be due to increased levels of divorce. Also there are an increasing number of children being born into non-marital cohabitating relationships. The traditional environment of marriage and children has changed in recent years. It is now common to find cohabitating couples with children. In the last forty years the percentage of births outside of marriage has quadrupled. There has been a change from eleven percent in 1970 to forty one percent in 2012.
The stereotype of the masculine man is one that is strong, self-reliant, assertive, self-directive, physically and emotionally self-sufficient. Another stereotype is that a man initiates sex and is always ready to have sex, anywhere at any time. The reality is that this is not always the case for many men. The emotional state of a man can affect their libido. Emotions such as; anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem and concerns about sexual performance can all affect a man’s libido. Other areas that may affect a man’s libido are poor body image and communication. It is normal for a man to experience a decrease in their libido from time to time, especially if they are emotionally distressed. For many men this is only a temporary situation and their interest in sex will return after a few weeks or months.
Same Sex Attraction
What is same sex attraction? It has been described as an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and sexual attraction to people of the same sex. Not all same sex attracted people identify as being gay. There are many men who may have sex with another man under certain circumstances. But they may not identify as being gay.
Addictions have been described as a person engaging in a rewarding behaviour that eventually leads to harmful consequences. Addictions inhibit the development and continuation of normal healthy relationships. They may impact upon a person’s ability to socialise and also be a productive member of society. There are many different types of addiction: sex addiction, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, computer addiction, shopping addiction, exercise addiction, and gambling addiction. But substance and gambling additions are the only two that are currently recognised as official medical conditions that may need treatment. There are several factors that may influence a person becoming addicted; they are genetic, social and psychological.
Anger is considered a negative emotion by many people. When people speak of anger it is often in very negative terms, for instance, “anger is bad” or, “I shouldn’t get angry.“ Anger is like any other emotion it is neither good nor bad it is just an emotion that wants and needs to be expressed. It is what people do with their anger which is important. Everyone from time to time feels anger in their relationships. Sometimes expressing strong feelings is useful when a person is dealing with strong emotions. But when anger starts to intimidate others then it is unhealthy and counterproductive in relationships.
Sexual Arousal Disorder
Sexual arousal disorder is often referred to as male erectile disorder and female sexual arousal disorder. Male sexual arousal disorder is more commonly known in Australia as erectile dysfunction. People with sexual arousal disorder may experience frequent sexual urges, fantasises and a strong desire to engage in sex. But their problem is the difficulty in becoming sexually aroused. Males have difficulty getting and retaining an erection. While females cannot achieve or maintain adequate lubrication.
During the first 60 minute session we are able to briefly discuss the problems or issues that may have brought a client into therapy. There is also the opportunity to discuss the client’s expectations of the therapeutic process. This also allows time for any paper work that may need to be completed prior to commencement. During this period I may take notes to assist with the ongoing therapeutic process.
There is a 24 hour cancellation policy. A standard fee is payable if cancellation is within 24 hours.
EFTPOS Now Available
Singles - $120 - 50 minutes
Couples - $150 - 50 minutes
Students - Health-Care Card - $85.00 - 50 minutes
Skype Online Counselling - $90.00 - 45 minutes
Master of Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy (Torrens Uni Sydney)
Bachelor of Counselling/Psychotherapy (Aust College of Applied Psychology)
Certificate 4 in Phone Counselling