Manawatu Counselling Staff

 

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Mark Rainier

I am originally from South Africa, where I worked initially as an English teacher and school counsellor before moving to run a university counselling service. As well as my teaching and counselling background I am a registered psychologist. My training is a mix of psychodynamic, cognitive and person-centred, but in the university context I work in a short-term solution focussed way when appropriate.

I have worked in a range of roles across universities, especially within Student Life and academic departments, over the years so have a good understanding of how academic study impacts on the emotional life and well-being of students. I have come to understand that most students have very good and healthy coping skills but sometimes the pressures of university life and study make it hard for them to access those skills. My role is to help people remember those skills - or discover them for the first time. I have a wide variety of experience including sport and health, trauma and psychotherapy. My specific interests are broad and range from spiritual to relationship, and sexual to eating and health, from depression and anxiety to career development, job-search and employability!

 

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David Coomber

I come from a creative arts background. I have been a professional musician (I studied both in NZ and in Europe) and have been involved with the University of Auckland’s School of Music since 1984 as a performance teacher. Creativity is central to my life, and I incorporate this in my work as a counsellor in various ways. Creativity in its myriad forms is, I believe, essential to a healthy life.


For me, counselling is providing a safe confidential and facilitating environment in which students can talk about their personal and emotional problems, and the difficulties they are experiencing. I work with students in creative ways that can raise self-esteem and confidence and build resourcefulness and resilience skills. I use a range of therapeutic methods, including solution focussed psychotherapy, schema therapy, Gestalt and expressive therapies, and cognitive behavioural based therapies. One aim of counselling is to promote positive personal growth aimed at helping the students manage daily living without repeating destructive patterns, recognising what positive strengths they have to support students to reach their potential.

 

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Angela Baker

I grew up on a farm in South Taranaki. I did my undergraduate degree at Massey University and later came back to do my M.A. in psychology part-time while working, trained as a counsellor and later completed the requirements to become a registered psychologist. In addition to counselling, I have experience as a career counsellor and also counselling in a pain management clinic. I have also worked in other areas including teaching, administration, and adult education. The therapeutic approaches I use primarily are solution-focussed approaches (including Neuro Linguistic Programming – NLP) and Mindfulness approaches. I have a particular interest in health and wellness (and conditions affecting our wellness such as sleep problems, stress, anxiety, and pain), and a fascination with the interconnectedness of body-mind-spirit. I am also interested in career choice and development, and in spirituality. I live in the country with my partner, and in my spare time I enjoy gardening, bush walks, swimming, kayaking when I get the chance, and reading.

 

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John Pahina

Tēnā koutou katoa, my name is John Pahina and I am of Ngāti Porou descent. 

I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in psychology at Massey University and am a Registered Clinical Psychologist.

My primary role in this service is to work collectively with Māori and their whanau to assist in overcoming or managing difficulties that preclude wellbeing. In order to support and work alongside Māori I utilise a number of therapeutic strategies including Māori models of wellbeing, strength based strategies, and cognitive-behavioural therapies. I am committed to providing a secure and confidential space in which people can feel safe to express themselves and grow.

I have a mental health background in forensic settings prior to moving to Massey University. My interest areas include Māori mental health and the role of culture as a protective factor in wellbeing.

 

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Lynley Hayward

I have a diploma in health science and a diploma in counselling, and a graduate certificate in sexual abuse counselling.

I'm originally from Taranaki but have lived in Palmerston North for the last ten years. I worked at the Youth One Stop Shop for several years as a youth counsellor, and enjoy working with students.

I work in a way that aims to empower people by helping them to find their own resources within the difficulties that they may be experiencing. I see therapy as being a collaborative process that can help people to understand themselves in new ways that support their well-being. I look to strengthen stories of possibilities, desired change and how people prefer to be.

 

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Morag Cunningham

I am very aware that life at university can be very stressful for students and it is easy to feel disconnected and unsupported. I have a strong interest in social justice and a practical approach to supporting students. I am keen to help students to identify their strengths and work out ways to deal with factors which have a negative impact on their well-being whether they be social, financial, environmental or spiritual.

 I believe that mental distress is a normal part of human experience and that at different times in our lives, we all need support to maintain good mental health.

 

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Nicky Rees

I am originally from the UK and have been in New Zealand since 1996. I have a Bachelor of Counselling and am a member of New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

I have been working at Massey as a counsellor since 2006 and really enjoy being a part of university life. Student life is exciting and enriching but it can also be demanding and overwhelming when pressures and stresses start to build up. It is important to me that there is somewhere for you to come if and when things start to unravel and you feel overloaded. I try to provide somewhere that is safe, a space to unload, explore, ask questions and find supportive strategies.

My approach often incorporates mindfulness, which is a way of getting out of your head and into your life – this helps to reduce stress overload and increase resilience and distress tolerance. I utilise something called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and ACT which is especially useful for helping you respond to problematical thoughts and difficult emotions.


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Felicity Samuel

I initially trained as a journalist, and spent my early working life as a social researcher. My interest in helping people to live in rewarding ways lead me to study counselling, as an adult student here at Massey, so I know only too well what it’s like to juggle academic work amidst the practicalities of daily life.

As a counsellor I have worked with individuals, couples, and families at a counselling agency, and with students here at Massey. I see my role as a ‘sounding board’, enabling people to talk freely about what troubles them, and to explore ways of overcoming their troubles. I draw from a range of counselling approaches, including solution focused, person centred, collaborative and gestalt. I am interested in helping people to unearth their own wisdom about what it is they need to live well, and the steps they can take to do so.

 

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Lesley Lowdon

I am originally from the north of England with a background in accountancy within manufacturing and engineering fields.

My career path changed to the counselling area some years after arrival in New Zealand where I have obtained a diploma in counselling and a graduate certificate in sexual abuse counselling.

Historically my counselling experience is varied and includes working in NGOs, a drug and alcohol rehab facility, primary and secondary level educational services and sexual abuse services.

My motivation in my work is to help facilitate changes in peoples lives that result in them moving towards achieving their potential in all areas of their lives: - spiritual, physical, emotional and social. To do this I see my role as one of walking alongside my clients for a time helping engender hope and positive change.

With this in mind I use an eclectic mix of modalities which include IDT, psychodrama, narrative and CBT alongside creativity, commonsense, sense of humour and a love for people.

 

 

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