Counselling services we offer you at AUT

We offer free face-to-face and online counselling for all AUT students.

What is counselling?

Counselling is a process of privately talking through anything that is concerning you. Counsellors will listen to you sensitively and without judgement, and will try and see things from your point of view. We provide a practical and solution-focused counselling approach to student concerns.

What may I talk about?

  • Any concerns about your studies
  • Loss and grief
  • Coping with stress
  • Relationships
  • Concerns about sexuality
  • Anger, anxiety or depression
  • Motivation
  • Conflict
  • Alcohol or drug issues
  • Changes and worries
  • Feeling suicidal or at risk of harm
  • Domestic violence
  • Harassment or bullying

Make an appointment to see a counsellor

  • Counselling appointments are 1 hour long
  • We have a Duty Counsellor available for same day or urgent appointments
  • Counselling interns are available at our City Campus

Phone us on:

City Campus: +64 9 921 9992
North Shore Campus: +64 9 921 9998
South Campus: +64 9 921 9992

Visit us:
Come to reception at the Health, Counselling and Wellbeing centres

Online counselling (Email-counselling)

Online counselling lets you use the internet to raise anything that is concerning you.

If you are interested in online counselling, you must read over the online counselling application. This is very important information. It describes how online counselling works and contains important information about your privacy and safeguards. This document forms the basis of your informed consent. You can then register to start online counselling.

To learn more about online counselling and to register

Our counsellors

Sabrina-AfuSabrina Afu - Duty Counsellor

BSocPrac, Postgraduate Diploma Professional Supervision (Merit), Member MNZAC

My role is to be responsive to students or staff needing urgent counselling or mental health support, and to respond to staff working with these students. I provide same day appointments, urgent assessment, brief intervention, and in some instances short-term therapy. An assessment will gauge how best to meet the needs of students or staff seeking counselling services. If required I can make a referral to appropriate community services or liaise with academic and student services to ensure the best support is put in place. I work in closely with the Student Advisor - Mental Health, to provide support for students/staff experiencing mental health concerns.

I believe the counselling relationship is a collaborative one which brings forth the client’s resourcefulness, strengths and possibilities for dealing with whatever difficulty he/she is experiencing. My professional areas of interest are grief/loss, trauma, decision-making, assertiveness and depression/anxiety.

Placid Briggs 14Placid Te Aoerere Briggs (Ngaiterangi Te Arawa, Ngai Tahu) - Counsellor (Māori)

B.Ap.SocSci (Couns.), Dip SocPrac (Couns.), PG Dip (Prof. Supervision), MNZAC

Tenā koutou kātoa
E mihi nui ki a koutou.

My counselling is a combination of my Māori cultural upbringing and western methodologies. As a counsellor I take an holistic approach, by integrating counselling models, a range of strategies can be offered, solutions explored and best outcomes achieved. My goal as a counsellor is to engage, listen without judgement and support you in the changes you wish to make. I enjoy working with diverse cultures and ethnicities. I have a strong advocacy and social work background. I work at both the City Campus (Monday and Tuesday) and North Campus (Wednesday and Thursday).

Nau mai haere mai,
Kia ora koutou

Rick Cusack - Counsellor

Hello. Having grown up in the South Island, I first went to the University of Otago then went on to be a secondary school teacher in the Hawke’s Bay and Solomon Islands. In terms of counselling, I later trained as a social worker at Victoria University then completed the Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy in AUT. I’ve primarily worked in hospitals, alcohol and drug services and tertiary institutions. I am able to help you explore: addictions, anxiety and depression, sexuality issues, stress and many other issues. I have learned that how people relate to each other is the primary place from which to develop skills in living. Rick works at both the City and North Campuses.

Audrey-HutchesonAudrey Hutcheson - Counsellor

Grad Dip Psychotherapy, B.SocSci.(Couns), Grad Cert Supervision, ACC registered, MNZAC

My counselling approach focuses on establishing a welcoming safe place where people are listened to and supported.  I work in partnership with people to identify strengths and needs, and planning towards achievable goals. I am affirming of everyone’s uniqueness and I enjoy working with diverse cultures and identities. I work from the holistic Te Whare Tapa Wha model and draw on strengths based, cognitive behavioural, expressive, and psychodynamic therapies. My background includes working with trauma, sexual abuse, relationships, identity development, sexuality, and mental health difficulties.

Sharon-LeeSharon Lee – Counsellor, North Campus 

BA, Ethics and Women’s Studies Cert., Member New Zealand Association of Counsellors (MNZAC)

I appreciate the opportunity to assist clients to address their concerns and challenges. It is important to me to do this with respect and to achieve the desired outcome in a brief and solution focused manner. My practice and experience of many years is informed by narrative and systemic therapies. The counselling process offers an opportunity to reflect in confidence and to discover fresh responses and pragmatic options to troublesome areas of relationship, study, work and life. I am based on the North Campus.

seemaSeema Woollaston - Counsellor, South Campus

MSW (Applied), PGDip Cognitive Therapy, PGCert HSc (Mental Health)
MANZASW, Registered Social Worker

My role at the South Campus is a combined role of Counsellor and Student Advisor – Mental Health, and I am available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I have a background in Social Work, and have specialised in mental health counselling, having worked in the child, adolescent and family mental health field for 14 years. My approach to working with clients is holistic, and keeps the family and other relational systems in mind. I use a variety of models including Cognitive, Acceptance and Commitment (ACT), Solution Focused and Narrative therapies.  My particular areas of interest are working with migrants and cultural issues, the interface of cultural and clinical issues, supporting those affected by mental health issues, and mindfulness-based therapies. 

Last updated: 30-Jun-2015 9.05am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.