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Low-cost therapy for anxiety sufferers

Centre for Psychology team members (from left); Dr Kirsty Furness, senior clinical psychologist Kay Mathewson, centre director Louise Morgan, Dr Pixie Armstrong-Barrington, and administrator Helen McMaster.

Centre for Psychology staff at the Auckland campus are offering anxiety sufferers low-cost group therapy programmes in the Albany Village next month.

Senior clinical psychologist Dr Kirsty Furness, who will be leading the programmes, says it is aimed at those who don’t have access to other public and private mental health services.

“The groups help understand anxiety, as well as provide practical skills to manage anxiety,” Dr Furness says.

Anxiety sufferers can feel overwhelmed, experience a sudden sense of panic, or feel self-conscious. Participants in previous programmes have reported significantly reduced anxiety and depression levels, with useful techniques and materials provided on the course.

Group facilitator and clinical psychologist Dr Pixie Armstrong-Barrington says cognitive behaviour therapy, which provides a practical approach to help manage and overcome problems, is the main technique employed. “CBT has been very well-researched and is a short-term, skills-focused therapy that enables participants to learn new strategies for coping with anxiety,” she says. “Group therapy can be extremely helpful because you get more support in a group environment. Everyone gets together to find a solution.” 

The sessions will run every Tuesday from October 8, from 10.30am to noon for eight weeks, at the Centre for Psychology in the North Shore Library Building, 229 Dairy Flat Highway.

It is one of a range of community programmes provided by the centre, and is available to people aged 18 and over, with a maximum of eight participants per group. There is an initial assessment fee and fees for each session. People interested in therapy do not need a GP referral but will be assessed by the centre first. 

For more information, contact Helen McMaster: call (09) 213 6095.

The centre also offers clinical expertise for a wide range of needs, including children with emotional, learning or behavioural difficulties; individuals or couples with relationship problems; older adults suffering anxiety, grief or depression; people with work-related difficulties; and new migrants struggling with adjusting to a new culture and customs.

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