I am honoured to be a part of the NZAF Health Services team and supporting my community through the challenges of HIV stigma and homophobia.
Originally from the UK, I moved to Auckland with my partner (now husband) in 2002. My training in counselling started in 2003 when I began volunteering at Outline (then Gayline). After many years of further study and other community work I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Counselling in 2011. I have worked with diverse range of clients in different community settings and I have a particular interest in working with survivors of sexual abuse and trauma, grief and loss, sexual/gender identity as well as anxiety disorders.
We have come a long way since the HIV epidemic began in the 1980s. However, it is still reported that LGBTQI people experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide and addictions than non-LGBTQI people. The repercussions of homophobia can create a sense of not feeling accepted for who we are. Ultimately, I believe every human being deserves the right to feel accepted and to be able to realise their true potential.
My counselling approach is to provide a stable, safe and non-judgemental environment for my clients. Therapy often involves providing emotional support for people adjusting to living with HIV or developing new skills in relationship and self-management as well as processing internalised shame or homophobia. Clients also seek therapy to improve their self-esteem, to feel more connected to themselves and others, to help with the coming out process, or to be able to change unhelpful thinking and behavioural patterns.
I work at the Burnett Centre for 4 days a week.