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Private Counselling Practitioners invited to "fill the gap"

Private Counselling Practitioners encouraged to “fill the gap” within mental health services.

1000’s of desperate people on various publicly funded mental health and counselling waiting lists could be helped immediately by every private counselling practitioner in New Zealand taking just one pro bono client, says a New Zealand-based international Relationship & Family therapist.

Steve Taylor, Director of Relationship Matters Ltd, is encouraging private counselling practitioners across the country to join him in offering free counselling sessions to a client currently on a public mental health or counselling waiting list.

“Since 2008, I have read dozens of stories about the mental health industry being chronically under-funded, with long waiting lists, and clients desperate for timely service delivery” says Mr Taylor.

At the same time, the counselling industry has witnessed the demise of Family Court counselling, the closure of Relationships Aotearoa, and the likely impending loss of Lifeline, which together represents tens of thousands of counselling hours lost to funding cuts”.

“Throughout this time, despite strong efficacy research being available for the talk therapy disciplines, it seems clear that successive Governments have not sufficiently recognised the value of our work, in large part because as an industry in New Zealand, we have failed to measure our own efficacy outcome results.”

“As private practitioners we number around 4000 people in New Zealand.

We thus have the scope, capacity, and financial resource to be able to offer something that the public funded mental health and counselling services are not able to offer – much quicker and affordable mental health assistance”.

“If every private practitioner in New Zealand offered just one client on a public waiting list a space in their private practice, we would collectively make a large dent in the waiting lists nationwide” says Mr Taylor.

“As private practitioners, we don’t need to wait for the Government to appropriately fund mental health services - we can just take action and help out those who are in need right now, by each of us taking just one pro bono client into our practices”.

“Relationship Matters Ltd has already allocated a free space in the agencies Practice diary to an Auckland family, and I would encourage other private counselling practitioners to do likewise in their own area of location, expertise, and capacity” said Mr Taylor.


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