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As a counsellor he has a particular interest in men’s health and works primarily from cognitive therapy modality.
He strongly believes that learned behaviours and patterns of thought can be changed.
“It takes a lot of courage, and more so for men, to admit that things are not going well in their lives and to reach out for help.
“Many men have that stiff upper lip and bottle things up, which is not healthy.”
Greg says male mental health needs addressing because suicide rates in New Zealand are far too high
He had worked with farmers and other men in the North Island, and isolation and long-held family values and practices were, in part, the reasons for depression.
In his experience of dealing with adolescents and young men they did not always fully understand the reason they were coming for counselling.
“The starting point is helping people to get to know themselves better and as they reveal facts about their background, home values and life, a picture is built up.
“With more revealed, communication improves and help can be given to bring about positive change.”
Raising self-esteem and confidence were two areas where counselling could help.
The 58-year old, a father of five, says he saw his role as the facilitator and the “co-pilot” on the journey.
People are the authors of their own destiny, he says.
“It’s often a matter of drawing out negative thoughts and processes and working with cognitive therapy tools to help people achieve better and healthier lives which in turn help them realize their full potential.”
Greg says through his studies and by drawing on his own life experience he understood the power spoken words and thoughts could have on the quality of our life.
Counselling could help people with personal and relationship issues, mental health and problem solving.
One-on-one sessions and family counselling sessions, typically 50 minutes long, could tackle a range of areas including addiction, anxiety, depression and phobias, he says.
Greg can be contacted through his website ashburtoncounsellingservices.co.nz.
-By Mick Jensen