Our People

Our Dedicated Counselling Team

Johann van den Berg (Professional Supervisor & Counsellor) Johann Photo2-577

BA (Hons)
PGDipEd (Couns)
MEd (Couns)(Hons)
Registered with NZAC

Available Support Locations: Auckland, Online/Phone.
Johann is a professional supervisor and counsellor in private practice on the North Shore. He also does some teaching and examining at tertiary level in counselling. Johann migrated from Africa to New Zealand in 2001. He has worked at tertiary level as a counsellor, having completed post graduate studies at the University of Auckland as a mature student. Johann continues to enjoy the journey alongside students in their growth as practitioners, as well as the challenges and complexities faced by experienced practitioners. He has a keen interest in loss and grief, cultural difference, migration and marginalization in its various forms, and assisting clients in reaching their full potential. Johann is passionate about the arts and lives on the North Shore with his partner and energetic canine companion.

Karen Lupe Ililanoa (Counsellor) Monica-19

Available Support Locations:  Birkenhead, Devonport, Online/Phone

I completed my training in counselling and psychotherapy with the Psychosynthesis Institute. I work empathically across a spectrum of issues, including grief and loss, bereavement, loss of a significant relationship e.g divorce, injury-related loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, existential distress relating to one's spirituality and cultural issues.

I am trained in Jungian dream work. My focus is on creating a safe, warm counselling space to work collaboratively with clients on their own unique healing journeys towards health, fulfilment and well-being.  

I am privileged to join the dedicated team at the Grief Centre. I see clients on the North Shore at the Birkenhead office or Devonport Community House

Trisha McLean (Counsellor) trisha-poloroid-265

Master of Education in Counselling (1st Class Hons)
Master of Applied Linguistics TESOL
Bachelor of Arts
I have been privileged to work with the Grief Centre since 2009 and am a full member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. 
I use person-centred counselling that is holistic and includes conversations relating to physical, emotional, social and spiritual areas.  During my life, I have lived in many countries and worked with a wide variety of nationalities and ages which enables me to establish rapport with people from all walks of life.  I am an experienced grief and loss counsellor working with individuals, couples and families with a private practice in Newmarket and available to see Grief Centre clients at Birkenhead or the central city area.  My commitment is to provide ethical, confidential counselling with integrity, respect and compassion.  Overall, I work alongside clients companioning their journey forward through change and choice to towards resilience, inner wellbeing, joy and hope.  

Val Leveson (Counsellor)poloroid-image-val-leveson-528

Master of Counselling (1st Class Honours)
Bachelor of Journalism and Media Studies

Val’s previous work has been as a journalist and she has lived and worked in different parts of the world – this brings valuable life experience, knowledge and multicultural perspectives to her work as a counsellor.  In addition to her work at the Grief Centre, Val also does face-to-face counselling for Youthline. Her clients vary in age (from teenagers to over 60s), gender and nationality. Val’s empathy for others, counselling skills and personal qualities of genuineness, gentleness and compassion enable her to establish empathetic relationships and work effectively with clients of all backgrounds.

Diane Giles (Counsellor)diane-giles2-poloroid-707

Dip Counselling, Dip Teaching ECE, Dip LMC 
Cert Transactional Analysis Counselling, Cert  Applied Grief Studies
Cert  Applied Dreamwork, Cert Group Leadership and Facilitation
NZQA Lifeline Trained Counsellor
Qualified counsellor with many years of counselling experience.

Available Support Locations: Orewa, Warkworth, Online/Phone.

Diane worked for eight years as a life line counsellor, and three years with the Antara Natural Health Centre, as well as being in private practice. She has seven children and have been a foster parent for many years.  Diane has also gone through the Russian adoption process.  She has been a passionate teacher of the Montessori Method for many years and has her own Centre supporting both children and parents.Diane has a passion in holding a safe space to facilitate greater insights into thoughts, behaviours and emotions which cause suffering.  

Diane is an experienced grief and loss counsellor and feel privileged to be working for the Grief Centre.

Nola Forsyth (Counsellor and Professional Supervisor)nola-poloroid-136

MSW (A) Hons
Registered Celebrant
Professional Supervisor

Available Support Locations: Birkenhead, St Lukes/Remuera, Online/Phone.

As a counsellor I am privileged to be able to work for the Grief Centre to support people at a time when they are feeling vulnerable and to assist them to find personal strength, wellbeing and hope for life ahead.  I have worked in social services and counselling for many years and am a full member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and trained Professional Supervisor.  I have managed a team of counselling staff, along with counselling students and researchers and have counselled a very wide range of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.  I have a breadth of experience in individual, couples, family and group work, including counselling for grief and loss, relationship issues, depression and anxiety, eating issues, addictions, sexually harmful behaviour, domestic violence, employee assistance.  I now work in private practice.  I am warm, empathetic, safe, ethical, client centred, and strengths based in my practice.  I am able to put you at ease, working alongside you as we explore whatever it is that troubles or distresses you. I am also a registered marriage celebrant, funeral celebrant and member of the Celebrants Association of New Zealand.

Diane Collins (Counsellor - Whangarei)  diane-c-poloroid-94

Associate Member of Te Rarawa

Available Support Locations: Whangarei, Online/Phone.

Loss and grief is a personal journey that affects us all in different ways and sometimes, in ways we do not expect. Being able to tell our story in a safe environment can help us accept our new way of being, and gain an understanding of the way we feel.  I recognise that each person’s story is different and that we are affected by grief in different ways.  I honour that with compassion, empathy and respect. I also understand the importance of working within each persons culture and belief system.  I have 16 years experience as a counsellor, specialising in loss and grief, and trauma and it is a privilege for me to work for the Grief Centre in Whangarei. I am a person-centred counsellor and integrate other modalities such as art and sand tray, to suit each clients needs. I also work as a counsellor in Pukekohe, working with clients of all ages and ethnicities, and do Victim Support work there.

Eunice Goh Woon Choi (Counsellor)  eunice-poloroid-933

Provisional Member of NZAC
Bachelor of Counselling
Bachelor of Arts

Available Support Locations: Birkenhead, St Lukes/Remuera, Online/Phone.

Eunice has experience in counselling students and adults dealing with issues around life’s challenges such as grief and loss, anger, depression, family difficulties, cultural and belonging identity, and relationship issues. As an Asian migrant herself, she particularly desires to help migrants to settle and thrive with resilience and hope in New Zealand. She has special interest in all areas of grief and trauma caused by losses. Her counselling approach is integrated based on person-centred, narrative therapy and interactive drawing therapy. Useful outlets such as sand tray, small figures, using an empty chair and art would be used appropriately for clients to help them express themselves in therapy. Eunice offers a safe, supportive, confidential and empowering environment through open, trusting and collaborative relationship. 

유니스 (최고운) 상담가는 학생과 어른이 직면한 삶의 문제들, 상실감과 슬픔, 분노, 우울감, 가정문제, 문화 및 소속감에 대한 정체성, 인간관계에서 오는 어려움에 대하여 상담한 경력이 있습니다. 뉴질랜드로 이주하신 아시안들이 소망가운데 계획했던 미래를 성취할 수 있도록 도움을 드리고 싶어합니다. 특별히, 모든 분야의 슬픔과 상실로 인한 트라우마에 대해 상담하는 일에 깊은 관심을 가지고 있습니다. 상담기법은 사람 중심, 이야기 세라피, 그림을 사용한 세라피를 적절하게 통합하는 방법을 사용하며, 모래나 작은 피겨 (모형), 빈 의자, 미술매개체를 사용하는 방법을 경우에 따라 적용하기도합니다. 안전하고, 내담자를 지원하며, 비밀을 보장하고, 내담자에게 용기를 주는 상담 환경을 열린 마음과 신뢰, 내담자와의 협력적인 관계를 바탕으로 만들어드립니다. 

Matthew Flynn (Counsellor)

Matthew Flynn-149-362


LLB / Post Graduate Diploma Counselling

Available Support Locations: Birkenhead, St Lukes/Remuera, Online/Phone.

Matthew comes to counselling from a wide and varied background in law, community involvement and working with young people. He has travelled extensively and brings to counselling a keen interest in the commonality of issues people of all ages and backgrounds experience though out their lives. By listening, talking and sharing their experiences, clients can receive help and support to work towards regaining their lives after experiencing grief and loss. Matthew is able to meet clients during the day, but for those who prefer an evening, times after 5pm can be arranged in Birkenhead.

Jenny Arnold (Counsellor)

Jenny Arnold 2019-218-397


Registered with NZCCA and NZAC

Available Support Locations: Henderson, Online/Phone.

Jenny comes from a working background within community development, health promotion and environmental planning contexts.  Her passion has always been people, their cultural and social organisation, expression of identity and of individual or collective wellbeing.  Whilst working in the gambling harm prevention field a decade ago, she recognised how addiction and habit was often fuelled by grief, loss, sadness and identity distress. Jenny had always been interested in counselling but her career and study choices had taken her in other directions. Whilst caring for an ill family member for a year or two, she took up Counselling studies in both the University of Waikato and the Unitec's Narrative counselling programmes. She finds counselling to be a very rewarding field to be working in and I am glad to be here.

Monica Barnett-Harris (Counsellor)Monica Barnett-Harris 2020-200-14

Bachelor of Psychology
Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Coaching
Post Graduate Certificate in Counselling Supervision NZAC member

Monica has 18 years general counselling experience in 4 countries as well as having worked in corporate for a number of years. Special interest areas are Autism (ASD), Grief, Couples,  11-25 yrs, and Cross Cultural Issues. Using a Person-Centred or Integrative approach of counselling, Monica meets every client where they are in their journey by providing a safe confidential space to explore what the you bring to each session. Self nurture and self kindness are an integral part of looking after yourself while we explore what it is that brings you to counselling. I will help you explore tools and techniques that meet your individual needs to help you between sessions and for personal navigation of future challenging situations.

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