Experienced but Down to Earth
Connecting to people is what counts – a warm, genuine real person is what I offer first and foremost. I bring over 30 yrs of combined experience and training to the counselling room. From Eastern practices and understanding of psychology to contemporary Western approaches of Counselling and Psychotherapy. I began working in the counselling field in 1999 with individuals, groups, couples and families addressing a wide range of issues. Relational problems, grief, anxiety, distress, depression and all forms of violence and abuse. Helping parents to negotiate parenting plans and making care arrangements. Providing workplace employee assistance for workplace issues and Professional Supervision.
The technical approach I use is influenced by a collection of ideas that are called Response-Based Practice (Allan Wade & Cathy Richardson & many others!) but also Adult Attachment Theory (Susan Johnson – Emotionally Focussed Couples Therapy) and Narrative Therapy (Michael White).
In this work I am always learning – learning how to listen and respond. Recognising the small yet significant things that are often overlooked. These are often meaningful attempts to uphold self-respect and dignity. I continue to learn the power that other peoples responses or the social responses have to either aid in recovery or continue to cause pain. How often those responses are overlooked leaving the person either believing that there is something broken or wrong about them or feeling trapped. Being a counsellor is a huge privilege, I’ve made working for people my life and I find it extremely rewarding.
Therefore, I wish to express all my gratitude to all my teachers especially the people I work for, who teach me the most.
Education & Training: In 1990 I started annually attending 10 day Vipassana courses (As taught by S. N. Goenka) and became fascinated with the experiential and observable interconnection between psychological dynamics, phenomenology and somaticism. This experiential learning is where I consider my training started and to this day I still consider this approach to be the most direct form of ‘psycho’ therapy. I went on to Graduate in a Diploma in Psychotherapy 2003 and Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences Major Psychotherapy in 2004. In 2006 I started postgraduate study including Professional Supervision and in 2008 started specialising in Couples Counselling work (Emotionally Focussed Therapy). In 2019 I enrolled in the Master’s Programme in Professional Practice and graduate in 2021.
Bren is a full member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. Alongside his counselling practice he has also taken up a variety of roles in the Social Services Sectors including; Case Management, Employment Consultancy, Social Housing and Mental Health Project Management.
“Ka nunui te mihi aroha ki ōu Atua, me ōu whenua, ā, ōu tupuna hoki. Ka korero ahau i tēnei mihi i te reo māori tuatahi nō tēnei whenua, kei mua te reo pākeha tuarua. Ko tēnei te mihi ki te wāhi o tōku kainga. I nga wā o mua i tae mai ōku tūpuna kei te noho rātou ki te whatumanawa o kahurānaki, te wāhi whangāia o Heretāunga i te taha ō Tukituki. I tae mai rātou nō uropi kei runga i ngā waka City of Auckland rāua ko Westland, a, he Pākeha ahau. E tipu ana ahau i Heretāunga, ēngari, kei Ahuriri e noho ana inaianei.
I greet you this way to tell you that from under the eye of Kahurānaki and alongside the Tukituki is the land where I was born and that I call home. My ancestors are from Poland, England, Germany, Scotland and from the Shetland Islands. Some of these ancestors were brought to Aotearoa by two ships called “Westland” and “The City of Auckland” finding their way to the Hawke Bay. With my husband and children, I now reside in Napier.”
I am a fully qualified and registered Psychotherapist MNZAP & PBANZ and a Certified Hakomi Practitioner. I have been working with people in the Bay for the past decade and have worked with victims of all kinds of violence, predominately sexualised violence – through the ACC sensitive claims process. In my therapeutic approach I weave together a wealth of experience from Hakomi therapy and Response Based Practice which draws together principles of awareness, non-violence and dignity. I have been strongly moved by my training in kaupapa Māori approaches, for both their strength and appropriateness for working within an Aotearoa context. Alongside my private practice I have also worked within agencies that have strong kaupapa Māori frameworks. All these frameworks lend themselves to gathering together an understanding of how we are consistently responding to the world and how we make choices to live.
Education: I graduated with a Diploma in Psychotherapy and a Diploma in Integrative Psychology which led to also gaining a Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences; Major Psychotherapy. Since graduating I have become a certified Hakomi practitioner (CHT). As a full member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists I obtained the Advanced Clinical Practice in April 2014.
Little Miss Doctor Lill: Therapy Dog
Our newest team member Doctor Lill is Relate HB’s Therapy Dog in training. Therapy dogs are very helpful for soothing and calming people in distress. Dr Lill is currently completing her K9D in Therapy Dog and can be available by request for most sessions – some human training is required before Dr Lill can join sessions, this is to assist her with her human research and development.