Last year I worked at a health centre based on the Albany campus of Massey University. Did you know that if you're a uni student, you can probably access free counselling/psychologist sessions, and heavily discounted doctor and nurse visits? Massey Health and Counselling are a full service medical centre, and there are many more like it around the country. Uni students often don't know they're there - and if I'm honest, before I started working there I had no idea either!
Anyway, it was at Massey Health and Counselling that I first met the thoroughly lovely Alexis Kliem, Counselling Psychologist. In later blog posts I plan to go into more detail about exactly what all the different times of practitioner titles mean, but for now, know that Alexis is fully registered, and has worked in a number of different areas including with the Waitemata District Health Board, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Justice.
I caught up with her last week to hear about her private therapy work in - you guessed it - West Auckland. She's a Waitakarean like me, and works from Henderson and Te Atatu. She does a lot of ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) contracted work. The ACC have a number of different ways that they can subsidise mental health treatment, if you've been through something difficult. Today I want to talk a bit about their sensitive claims service - of which Alexis is a provider.
ACC provides free-of-charge counselling to anyone who has been sexually assaulted or abused. This page here details the process pretty well, but essentially you might get short-term (10 sessions) or long-term (up to 44 sessions) support. For the long term support you'll see a psychologist for an assessment, and for short-term you can pretty much get started right away, without waiting. Sometimes the person who assesses you is the same person who will then work with you, and sometimes they will be two different people. You have the option of having your counsellor with you during the assessment too. You can change therapists, take a break, and start again any time you want. Therapy isn't always easy to delve right into, but it does seem like ACC have made this process as full of choices as possible.
Alexis says her sensitive claims work is professionally challenging, but incredibly rewarding, and she would encourage anyone who is thinking about getting some support for a past trauma, to give it a go. In a future post I'll write about other things that ACC might cover - such as transitioning back to the workplace, or mental health concerns after a physical injury has occurred.
Apart from her ACC work, Alexis works with all kinds of psychological issues, including trauma, anxiety, low mood, emotional dysregulation, stress management, lifestyle balance, and alcohol and drug issues. She is trained in cognitive behaviour therapies and narrative therapy and refers to her approach as 'strengths-based'. That means that therapy with her is tailored to you, your resilience and resources. In conversation with her as a colleague I can see exactly how she would be in session, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her as a practitioner.
The Albany Massey Student Health and Counselling centre website has some great resources, or google your university's health centre for support if you need it.
If you've experienced sexual abuse or assault, the ACC page for more information is here.