Relationships, Counselling & Training in New Zealand, Aotearoa. Highlights Roy Bowdens new book ' A Psychotherapist sings in Aotearoa'
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*These and other observations on health welfare and other matters are on Roy's blog*

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  • The book cover above is from a photograph by Charles Bagnall
    titled "Sentries of Somes Island". (
    Somes (Matiu) Island is in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand.

    Bowden Relations (Established 1986)
    Mana Consultancy (Established 2000)

    Mana Consultancy Associates:





    A. Roy Bowden
    Carol M. Bowden

    (Our qualifications and professional experiences
    are outlined further down this column)

  • This Web Site last updated August 2014

  • *Based at Plimmerton which is near Wellington City, Porirua, Kapiti Coast, Horowhenua, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa:
    in the North Island, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

    *Consultancy and Supervision Services are available in Wairarapa monthly*

    Please click on the icons, to expand the sections below.
    Collapse all sections | Expand all sections
    Couples and family members are seen with both counsellors (Carol and Roy) present in the session. This ensures a gender balance is maintained and both partners are attended to.

  • We can e mail you a brochure which describes the way we work with couples, individuals and families.
    Our fees are set out for you in the brochure. If you would like to read this before deciding to make an appointment send a message to us using the contact box in the left hand column of this web page and we will send information to you.
  • To make an appointment send us your names,
    address(es) and phone numbers by e mail to
    -Our practice phone number is (04) 2330610
  • Our practice hours for couples vary according to numbers being seen in any one week and we try to make times that suit your schedule and ours.
  • The last appointment time is usually 6.30.p.m.
  • We do not practice on weekends.
  • The information on this site applies to 2014
  • We also suggest you read the information further down this page titled, "Guidelines for clients seeking counselling or therapy in New Zealand"
    Carol and Roy supervise counsellors, health professionals, agency managers and educators. We welcome enquiries about our supervision services.

    In 2013 Roy gained accreditation as a supervisor for addiction counsellors and professionals affiliated to the Drug and Alcohol Practitioners Association of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Roy has developed a course to train health and welfare professionals in supervision. He designed and taught supervision courses when he was employed at Massey University and the Wellington Institute of Technology and his new course, 'Supervision is Reflected Relationships' takes account of insights relevant to this decade. Feedback from participants on Roy's courses can be sent to you. Establish a group of interested people and he will negotiate a training event with you in supervision, counselling or aspects of social service work.

    See the orange button to the left of page one of this web site.
    Contact Roy Bowden by e mail at if you would like information or mentoring regarding your career in the helping professions in New Zealand.
    Roy is available to lead significant events including marriages and occasions for the way life begins and ends. He was a Methodist clergyman from 1966 to 1977. He resigned from his role as a minister in 1977 and in 2001 registered as a celebrant. If you are getting married or joining as partners he encourages you to build your own ceremony which can take place in any setting, at home, in a church, outdoors, or in places which hold significance for you. Examples of ceremonies can be sent to help you choose words, readings, vows and the format for the occasion. Roy meets with you and works with you to write the ceremony. His fees are related to the time taken to prepare and lead each occasion.

  • See more details and photographs at
  • Search for Roy under wedding or civil union celebrants
    Seminars, workshops, team or peer sessions which focus on training for people in the helping professions are available. Roy has taught across cultures and appreciated insights which come from close dialogue and the revision of his own training. He has innovative suggestions to re set traditional approaches to health and welfare services in Aotearoa.
    Enquire about related opportunities for health and personal assistance professionals (counsellors, social workers and health professionals)) to work with Roy in individually focused seminar settings. The aim is to work together towards the establishment of creative relationships "in the moment". In these tailored seminars every person has their unique professional learning needs attended to. There is no attempt to persuade participants that a particular way of working is preferable and no desire to establish adherence to a structured modality.

    Carol M. Bowden

    BA, M.Couns (Dist), H.Dip Tchg,
    Dip STN, MNZAC

    Carol works with Roy in couples counselling and offers services from her own private practice. Carol is an experienced and qualified counsellor, a member of the NZ Association of Counsellors and has worked with couples, in groups, and in teaching situations. Her experience includes training and practice as a Relationship Services (MG) counsellor, student counselling at Victoria University, school counselling, social work, teaching and special needs advisory services. Carol offers supervision for counsellors, trainees, school counsellors, agency managers and health and education professionals. Carol and Roy teach together in parent education seminars and seminars for professionals working with couples.
    A. Roy Bowden

    BA, MSW (Hons), Dip Soc Wk,
    Dip Theol Ordn, WCPC,

    Roy is a former President of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists and is the Pacific-New Zealand representative on the Board of the World Council for Psychotherapy. He holds the World Council Certificate in Psychotherapy and a Distinguished Service Award from the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists.

  • Roy's professional career included appointments as the director of a family counselling centre, social worker, family court counsellor, corporate staff counsellor, mediator, social auditor and former clergyman. After ten years as a Senior Lecturer in Adult Education and in Social Work at Massey University he established the first private psychotherapy practice in Palmerston North where he practised for ten years. He was a founding tutor and then programme director for the first bachelor degree in counselling in Aotearoa, New Zealand. He trained relationship (MG) counsellors nationally (1983-1993). Roy was Head of School (or faculty) in a New Zealand Institute of Technology where for fifteen years he pioneered the development of generic training for counsellors and therapists which was not dependent on preferred modalities. He still enjoys designing training for health professionals which discovers and develops the unique contribution each practitioner can make.

  • From August 2009 Roy chose not to accept clients for 'psychotherapy' in order to focus more on working with couples. His work as a counsellor,supervisor and trainer continues.

  • There is a description of the way Roy practises and his approach to theory in the side box on the second page of this web site.
    Mana Practitioners College offers creative solutions for organisations, health professionals and counsellors in their search for effective ways to assist people. Roy proposes a new kind of training for practitioners which builds on their knowledge of themselves in their own country and their unique skills. He does not suggest a method and prefers to draw on the potential in each person. "Method misses the person. The application of someone else's ideas or the use of manipulative instruments in the helping environment prevents immediacy and authenticity in relationships”.
    Roy is available as an educator, key note speaker seminar leader, consultant and supervisor to organisations, staff groups, international forums and community groups. He has been an invited speaker at World Congress for Psychotherapy events in Vienna, Buenos Aires, Beijing and at the World Congress in Sydney 2011. Roy was a keynote speaker at the PACFA conference in Melbourne in 2012 and at the Australian Association for Somatic Psychotherapy (Sydney 2013). His papers are available by writing to See also the contact box to the left of this web page and 'Papers to read' on the second page of this site (click on yellow box at left of this main page)
    Being a client in New Zealand

    Making a decision

    Professionals in New Zealand have a good reputation through history and are highly motivated to assist you with care and sensitivity. Most accept the view that your wishes are paramount and ‘the way you want to  change’ is the prime consideration.

    Note: From January 2009 all professionals using the title "Psychotherapist" must be registered with the newly established Psychotherapist's Registration Board of New Zealand. See


    It is advisable to make a first appointment and see whether the professional (or their approach) suits you. You may want to take a support person with you to the first appointment. There is no reason why you should not meet one or two counsellors or therapists first before deciding who establishes the most effective relationship with you.

    Counsellors and psychotherapists in Aotearoa advertise their services in a variety of ways. It is important the service you receive is based on a healthy personal relationship with the professional you have consulted. Most helping professionals believe that the person and the way they view themselves comes first. The management of any difficulties is woven into therapy keeping the person in focus. Other counsellors and therapists are ‘method specific’ or ‘issue specific’ and this means you will be ‘counselled’ according to the specific training the professional has had.

    Specialist services

    There are specialist services available for specific difficulties. It is important to check whether the counsellor or therapist has the required training in specific arenas before working with them on an issue or problem. Issues such as violence in the home, sexual abuse, addictions, or family separation may be best managed by someone who has specific training or experience in these areas. Ask your counsellor or therapist to tell you their history with regard to training or experience for important issues. If that is not easy for you to do ask your general practitioner to question the professional you are about to see.

    Individual, couple or family services

    You can access counselling or therapy as an individual, a couple, or as a family. Traditionally one counsellor is available to see one or more persons. In most agencies (or private practices) resources do not stretch to having more than one counsellor present. In some family based services (particularly those which make family therapy available) two counsellors often see the family together. While couple counselling can be highly successful with one counsellor present there are real advantages in having two counsellors and often it is important to have each gender represented by the counsellors.

    It is possible to ask for two counsellors to be present but bear in mind that most agencies will have difficulty providing this service due to limited financial resources.

    My view is that it is preferable for a couple to have two counsellors present and when families are in therapy it is even more important for there to be more than one therapist.
    In situations where culture is important more than two people may want to attend the sessions and your health professional or counsellor can provide facilities for this to happen.

    Children and Young Persons

    Children and young persons are often referred to counselling or therapy services. The most important question to ask before this happens is whether the child is being seen as ‘the problem’ because of their behaviour or their expressed feelings. Usually the ‘problem’ is ‘systemic’ which means the influences of the parents, siblings, school, or peers are crucial in the way the child is feeling or behaving. My view is that parents need to present for counselling first, discover more about the way they relate together and review their parenting agreements before deciding to place a child or a young person in counselling, therapy or treatment. It is seldom the case that a child or young person is the ‘cause’ of any difficulties. The causes lie in the system, the environment and the whole of life setting within which the young person lives. Make sure you obtain a variety of opinions regarding any interventions suggested for a child or young person as they may not have access to choices which can only be made when all information is to hand. Having said that, there are highly skilled child psychotherapists and counsellors who can help children and young people face changes, trauma, and challenges in ways that parents or other people cannot manage.

    Counsellors who are members of the NZ Association of Counsellors or the NZ Association of Psychotherapists may assist young persons.
    (See also the note above regarding registration from 2009)
    Ask them to describe their training and experience in working with young people. Counsellors and social workers in schools are able to assist young people and their families within school communities and can usually access helpful agencies to refer young people or families to. For children and young persons, psychotherapists who belong to ‘The New Zealand Association of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists’ have had specialist training, adhere to a code of ethics and have helpful links with other professional groups.

    Professional Issues

    For adults, counsellors and psychotherapists who are registered with NZAC or NZAP are the most appropriate to see as these professionals are bound by a code of ethics and there is a complaint system in place for clients. or

    (Complaints regarding psychotherapists are now managed through the registration board mentioned above)

    You are entitled to see copies of the codes of ethics and complaint systems. You are also entitled to have fee structures explained to you, receive receipts for any fees paid and make your own decision as to how many sessions you need. If you wish to have support persons present ask about arrangements for this to happen. If the counselling or therapy is about relationships you have with people ask whether those people (for example partners) can be seen with you and expect the focus in those sessions to be on the way the relationship functions more than a focus on specific 'problems'. Ensure each partner feels they are being given equal attention in the counselling process.

    Sessions with counsellors and therapists begin with a careful listening time which allows you to tell your story in detail. Then the professional is there to explore ways ahead with you and help you make your own decisions.

    Your counsellor or therapist may be trained in a ‘method’. Methods on their own do not make the difference. What makes the difference is the relationship between counsellor and client. Ask for techniques or methods to be explained and ask why the counsellor or therapist believes those techniques will make a difference to your particular situation. Before taking part in a method based approach find out exactly what you are being asked to do, whether you can have a support person present and whether you can first speak with someone who has been through a similar process. You may want to consult the internet and read different assessments of the method being used.

    My belief is that each person has the potential to change and, unless there is some neurological, ‘mental’ or physically centred impairment present, people can be helped through the establishment of effective relationships with counsellors or therapists. A healing relationship will eventually help you discover your own resources for change and a new quality of life. The healing relationship that eventually moves you forward may be with a professional person. On the other hand it may be with someone you know and trust who is close to you in other ways.

    Psychiatric services are available and counsellors and therapists are trained to refer you on to a mental health professional if they decide with you that your difficulties may need medication or you are at risk of harming yourself or someone else. Mental health professionals may provide therapeutic services alongside medication. When consulting mental health professionals ask for clear information about each step in the process and ask to see any records kept regarding your progress. You can also ask to see referral letters containing information about you.

    Confidentiality is paramount in all services and it is important to ask for copies of referral letters and reports made about you at any stage in the helping process. Confidentiality may be put to one side if there is a risk of harm to you or another person and your counsellor or therapist will explain that process to you.

    New Zealand counsellors and therapists are required to have an annual practising certificate, be in supervision with a colleague and keep up membership in their associations.


    Cultural differences are in focus in Aotearoa and if your culture is different from that of your counsellor or therapist it is important you expect them to take that into consideration and be culturally appropriate and sensitive. Culturally based resources should be taken into consideration as these may be significantly helpful. Counselling or therapy from someone within your own culture may also be available if you do some research through NZAC or NZAP.

    Your life

    You do not need to have a specific problem or issue before consulting a counsellor or therapist. You may want someone to listen while you celebrate something in your life. You may just feel vaguely uneasy. If you do, your counsellor can help you discover more information leading to understanding feelings of confusion, stress, loss or lethargy.

    If your health professional asks you to attend sessions regularly or at defined intervals (such as weekly) ask for the reasons behind such planning. You may want to attend some sessions this year or this month and some the next. Use therapy at your own pace and take charge of the way you want to be helped.

    It is important you are in charge of your own healing process and your future.   A. Roy Bowden
    Roy is one of two Australasian representatives on the Board of the World Congress for Psychotherapy. See the link to the World Council in the left hand column of this web page. Roy's keynote paper at a regional WCP Congress in Canada in 2003 titled "Choosing to Cross by Sea" has been an encouragement to health professionals working cross culturally and can be downloaded by clicking here.
    Other papers are available by contact through the box to the left of this web page.
    The World Congress for Psychotherapy was held in Sydney, Australia in August 2011. The Congress was jointly hosted by the New Zealand and Australian Associations of Psychotherapy. The Congress theme, 'World Dreaming' reflected an interest in the way traditional therapeutic approaches can meet with cultures in the South Pacific. The next conference is in Durban in 2014.
    “A Psychotherapist Sings in Aotearoa”, the book at the top of the web page, has been reviewed as "The best book of its kind to come out of Aotearoa-do not miss this book" (George Sweet, New Zealand counsellor and consultant)

    The book was published in 2001. It is a textbook in counsellor training programmes, is held in some tertiary institution libraries here and overseas and contains innovative perspectives for therapists and other health related professionals.

  • This book sold out by 2013 but Roy is able to loan a copy to you
  • Published by Caroy Publications, 31 Sunset Parade, Plimmerton, Mana, New Zealand


  • *Roy's published papers, journal articles and guides to chapters he has contributed to books are available on request from

    *Some online papers are printed under the heading "Papers to read" on the second page of this web site*

    Papers can also be read at: ( and the internet letters for your country)

    Roy has been an invited speaker at World Congress for Psychotherapy events. He was a keynote speaker at the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Association conference (Melbourne 2012) and in 2013 at the conference for the Association for Somatic Psychotherapy in Australia.


    Couples are seen with Carol and Roy both present in the sessions. This provides gender balance and ensures the process pays attention to both partners

    See "Couples Counselling" in the central column on this page.

    To Contact Mana Couples Consultancy:
    Please use the contact box in the left column of this web page


    See the information in the central column on this page


    'Reflected Relationships' is a perspective we use to train counsellors, mentors, educators and therapists who work with couples.


    *Therapists, counsellors and mental health professionals who might have information pertinent to the book he is writing on "The past, present and future of psychotherapy in Aotearoa New Zealand" are invited to contact Roy at


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