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ABACUS, a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) provider of services, a nation-wide provider of Professional Supervision for the workplace.
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Individual Counselling

Counselling Therapy for: Addictions, Stress and Burnout

Abacus counsellors are highly qualified health professionals with experience in the field of addictions, and come from professional disciplines such as psychology, social work, nursing, and also psychotherapy. They have all held counselling and management positions in alcohol and drug services and problem gambling treatment services and have also worked with behavioural addictions, such as internet/games, sex addiction and internet pornography. Our counsellors are all well acquainted with stress and burnout issues and are familiar with the provisions of the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which requires employers to be aware of the impact of stress and fatigue on their employees.

Counselling for all issues is provided in a discreet environment and clients’ privacy and well-being is paramount. Many people prefer to attend a private establishment for their issues, rather than mainstream services, in the interests of keeping their issues personal, particularly with some addictive processes. Counselling is client-centred, and your counsellor will work with you to develop your own goals and treatment plans, and ongoing supports. We also cater to the many employers who wish to access personal and discreet counselling services for valued employees at all levels, who may be severely affected by substance and behavioural addictions.

ABACUS provide personal and discreet help for the full range of addiction problems, and a wide range of counselling issues by registered professionals:

Alison Penfold • Alcohol, Drug or Gambling problems and addictions • Over-spending • Family affected by other’s addictions.

Sean Sullivan • Internet and Computer Game addictions • Internet Pornography • Alcohol, Drug and Gambling problems and addictions • Family affected by other’s addictions.

Mike Goulding • Internet Pornography • Alcohol, Drug or Gambling problems and addictions • Family affected by other’s addictions • Anger and violence issues for men • Men’s issues

Peter Thorburn • Internet and Computer Game addictions • Alcohol, Drug or Gambling problems and addictions • Youth Problems – including dyslexia • ADHD and depression.



If you would like discreet, professional counselling and support, please phone us for an initial chat, or to arrange an appointment.

Head Office
8 Pompallier Terrace,
Ponsonby, Auckland 1011

PO Box 90710
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1142

09 360 6957


Counselling Therapy for: Relationships – Couples, Partners and Problems

Have you been thinking more and more about what is happening in your partner relationship? For most couples there are times when “taking stock” has value. This may follow a crisis, tension or conflict, or the loss of trust or connection, or you might be wondering what has happened to the spark or romance that was once there but now appears to be missing. You may want growth together, rather than growing apart.

Typical turning points in a relationship can be:

  • Affairs or conflict of loyalties: Loyalties to an ex-partner and a current partner may come into conflict, or there may be competing demands from immediate or wider family members.
  • Grief or loss: Children (who may have been the focus and connecting point of the relationship) may have left home, or the partners may have simply aged, experienced physical or mental changes, or perhaps lost the ability to relate to each other.
  • Needs for sexual closeness may have changed and the couple may have become sexually incompatible.
  • Addictions and other behaviours: Use of gambling, alcohol or other drugs, or changes in attitudes, caring, and tolerance may adversely affect the couple relationship.
  • Power struggles: Sometimes one or both of the people in the partner relationship will feel that the other is trying to control them. Issues that have been “on the boil” may come to the head, particularly when past resentments or annoyances have built up.
  • Differences in values: Each partner may have different ideas about parenting, or what they feel is right or wrong.

Sometimes counselling can help when we want to be different, or want our partner to make changes. On the other hand, it might be you who feels pressured by your partner to change. You may want to say something to your partner that is important to you, but find it too difficult on your own, for fear of being misunderstood, hurtful, or being hurt.

Just as a house needs maintenance, so too do couple relationships. One way that this can occur is through “relationship counselling”. Relationship counselling provides couples with opportunities to explore roles, values, expectations, behaviours, patterns of communication, hopes and desires. The counsellor will ask questions that invite exploration, and will encourage the couple to self-reflect on their contribution to the relationship, and sometimes uncover their own innate solutions to problems. Feedback, consisting of observations, interpretations and alternative perspectives will offered, to encourage safe, civil and constructive communication. The couple has time both within and outside the session, to experiment with advice and suggestions made by the counsellor, and review the outcome of these in subsequent sessions.

Often, an added bonus arising from talking and listening, is that the couple gain increased clarity about what is happening, and more understanding and empathy towards each other, strengthening the relationship. It may be that a behaviour becomes better tolerated, or decisions are made for stronger boundaries. However, it may be that separation is the desired outcome for the couple, and if so, this change can then be implemented with increased understanding and awareness.

Some clients who have had counselling, report:

“Now I understand why they ask me to do that. Sometimes I will do things their way rather than mine, because I understand what it means to them and how my way reminds them of their past! I don’t want to be like the ex-partner so it’s not such a big deal to do it differently.”

“I tend to like to go way and think about things and take the time to cool down. But now I know that she likes to talk about it straight away and get it over and done with. Now, we negotiate how long it can wait.”

“I just wanted him to tell me that he loved me. I felt jealous a lot of the time. Now we take time to connect with each other, so that I feel less scared.”

“He thought that by taking out the rubbish, (which neither of us like to do), was saying I love you. We have learnt how the other person says they care and how to show our love in ways that make difference.”

Frequently asked questions:

“What if I can’t get my partner to come to counselling? There are ways that a relationship can be explored without both partners attending. Often, when one partner makes positive changes, the other has a different reaction and the dynamics can change dramatically. There are also motivating ways that you can use to encourage your partner to attend. This can be discussed with your counsellor.

Can I see you individually as well as with my partner? How does confidentiality work in these instances? Confidentiality is discussed on a case-by-case basis. Client safety is paramount. If you do not want your partner to know what you disclose, this will be respected. Ethics and boundaries are part of the professionalism brought to the process through your counsellor. ABACUS has trained couples therapists available to help you, along with couples groups that are formed from those who wish to have ongoing support in a supportive and sharing environment where they learn from each other, as well as the group leader. If you would like further information, please contact us either by phone or by email or using the above contact form.