Underpinning Principles

Underpinning Principles

In the spirit of wanting you to know as much as I can offer before we meet, here are some ideas that inform my counselling practice.

Narrative Pathways is based on the following:

– Life is a journey that can have its ups and downs. The pathway through life can be more challenging at times than at other times.

– People routinely make sense of their lives through the stories they say about the events and experiences encountered in life.

– We are all made up of multiple stories – there’s more than one thing to say about how we experience our lives.

– At times a problem story can dominate, overwhelm, or disconnect us from the other possible stories about our lives.

– People act on the basis of the stories they form about themselves and others. In this way stories or “narratives” we carry have a shaping effect on our emotions and our actions.

– People are not the problem, problems are “the problem”. That is, whatever a person struggles within trying to live the life they want can be thought of as “the problem” rather than the person themselves (or others).

– Often “problems” start by presenting themselves as a way to help ourselves feel better, cope, or avoid difficulty. They can then strive to take over. Problems can narrow down how we or others see ourselves or understand things.
– Even when problems are large, they don’t have to define us. Part of us lies outside of their influence and holds the key to limiting or eliminating the influence problems have in our lives. 

Narrative Pathways empowers people to stand against problems and regain enthusiasm for life.

While I have counselling expertise, as a therapist I am not the expert on your life and what might work for you, you are!  

This principle places the person’s experience, meaning, and understandings at the centre of our conversations rather than some “analysis”, diagnosis, or belief about a personality flaw that comes from a counsellor.

Only you can define what’s going on in your world and what things mean to you. I can help you uncover this and explore the effect of the meanings you make, but your words and experience are what count!

“I don’t intend to tell you how to lead your life or to try to change you. That is completely up to you to decide. What I do is connect you to your preferred ways of being, and support you to bring about the changes you want in your behaviour or situation.”

What Counselling Does

– Provides a safe, supportive and non-judgemental experience where your ideas and experience are deeply heard, respected and made central.

– Creates a collaborative space for you to reflect on and make meaning of your life experiences and daily hassles, and together we can reach new understandings and find new possibilities.

– Strengthens your connection to your preferred ways of being, and those parts of yourself (your strengths and abilities) that are not so influenced or dominated by the problem.  

– Explores together different ways of thinking about stressful situations or problems that are more manageable for you.

– Considers the influences of societal ideas about family, sexuality, gender identities, age, class, and cultural background on people’s experiences of life.

Narrative Pathways intends to create effective, therapeutic conversations that focus on strengths, solutions and people’s preferences rather than problems, supposed personal deficits, or typical judgements. 
We will talk together about what is important to you and what you cherish or hold dear.

We will also talk about what is getting in the way and how we can help you step further into where you would like to be.

Ethical Practice

As a fully qualified counsellor and member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (the professional counselling association of NZ) I adhere to a code of ethical practice.

Details of this code are available here:  NZAC Code of Ethics

In addition to this, I regularly attend training events, professional development workshops and clinical supervision where I review and reflect on my work.  I also highly value and appreciate any comments and feedback from clients about what has worked for them, and what I might do differently.