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NMIT Launches New Community Counselling Service

NMIT and Relationships Aotearoa Launch New Community Counselling Service

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is launching a new low-cost community counselling service in Nelson in partnership with Relationships Aotearoa (RA).

Based at the RA building in Collingwood Street, Nelson, the service will be open four days a week from 5 May 2014 and will be operated by senior NMIT students in the final stages of their Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) degrees. The service will be open from 10am until 2pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday during term time with counselling sessions costing just $25.

NMIT Counselling Coordinator Raewyn Laurenson said she hoped the service would help meet an unmet need in the community. “Funding for counselling is being reduced - yet at the same time we’re constantly seeing stories in the media about the rise of depression. If we can provide a service which supports our community and also serves our students to gain the hours of practical experience they need, that’s got to be a good thing.”

Raewyn Laurenson said the initiative followed the successful launch in 2013 of a student counselling service on campus at NMIT, run by senior counselling students. She said the RA service students would be well supervised and well-trained. “It’s not a crisis centre and any complex cases will be referred to trained professionals at Relationship Aotearoa.” She did not believe the service would compete with other free or low cost counselling services which are mainly targeted to specific groups.

“Our service will support individuals who don’t fit into any of those other categories and who couldn’t otherwise afford to access counselling services.”

The four NMIT students who will be working with RA are Georgina Pattullo, Kate Sheldon, Jane Brash and Alex Sawyer. Jane Brash who is the final year of her degree said she saw the new clinic as an ‘amazing opportunity’ to work alongside experienced counsellors, work with a different clientele and gain more practical counselling experience. “It’s also going to make it easier for more people to access counselling services in Nelson,” she said.

RA’s Director of Operations for the South Island, Pablo Godoy, said the partnership with NMIT would enable RA to provide assistance to more people whom may otherwise not have been able to access their services.

“It’s an initiative with a lot of potential in reaching out to people in our community. The partnership enables us to add a valuable resource to our suite of services . It’s also an opportunity for us to share our expertise with some of the region’s future counsellors,” he said.

To make an appointment, contact Relationships Aotearoa and request the NMIT community counselling service. Ph 03 548-0904 or email southern@relationships.org.nz.


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