We are a friendly individual and group therapy service

Dr Natalie Flynn and Alexandra Winlove provide an Auckland based psychology service focussing on difficulties such as overcoming depression, anxiety, postnatal distress and psychological difficulties specific to children.

As conscientious psychologists we pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest research while ensuring you feel safe, respected and understood.

Like most psychologists we are trained in assessment and a variety of psychotherapeutic models, e.g., trained Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (CBT).

The FAQs page will inform you about the difference between a psychologist, counsellor and psychotherapist.

Specialist service for transition to parenting

Our team has a special interest in transition to parenting. Alex Winlove has significant experience working with children, as well as adults experiencing mental health or relationship issues that impact on day-to-day parenting. Dr. Natalie Flynn has a successful history of working with adults who are experiencing emotional difficulties caused or exacerbated by the stress of parenting. We are well equipped to provide you with the relevant intervention.

Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression Group

As part of our specialist service we offer the Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression program. This is a skills based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy intervention. The group is open to women with an infant or child under three years of age and who are experiencing postnatal depression or low mood, with or without anxiety.

Why a group format?

  • Being part of a group gives you tangible evidence that you are not alone
  • Everyone will benefit from observing others applying skills to their own needs
  • It is a cost effective and time efficient way of receiving a psychological intervention

Note that while we will ask questions to the group there is no pressure to contribute.

You can go to our Postnatal Depression Group page for more details about the group. Visit our FAQs page if you would like information about postnatal depression and anxiety, and about cognitive behaviour therapy.

Please feel free to consult with us at any time about participating in this group intervention.

Psychological assessment and therapy for adults

We can help you manage difficulties such as stress, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other concerns. With good assessment and treatment you can make changes that will benefit you and those close to you. The FAQs page will outline what to expect from individual adult work.  Your partner is welcome to join you for relationship therapy.

Psychological assessment and therapy for children, parents and both together

We can help with childhood depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, attachment-related and behavioural difficulties as well as difficulties specific to infancy and young children including feeding, sleeping, toileting and relationship problems. Our experience working with children and their parents has shown the benefits of seeking professional help.

Post Adoption Psychology and Counselling Service

Emotional Health Services are proud to offer a post adoption psychology and counselling service.

Before you read this we think it is important to state that we are here for you and your family. We are committed to confidentiality and are not part of any other adoptive services including Child Youth and Family, Adoption Information and Services Units, and ICANZ.  We know that families who have adopted share the same rewards and difficulties as all families. However, parenting an adopted child raises additional challenges, and therefore EHS psychologists are pleased to work alongside adoption counsellor Karina Ledwos. Please read Karina’s bio later on this page and click on the bio tab for the psychologists’ bios.

As a client-centred service we are committed to working with you to develop a plan to meet your family’s needs and choices.  Because of this we use an Adoption Specialist Partnership Approach (ASPA).

The way ASPA works:

We begin with an initial assessment conducted by Karina Ledwos and one of the psychologists (Dr Natalie Flynn or Alexandra Winlove). This will include:

  • Exploring challenges specific to adoption. Common Issues for parents will be explored such as: loss and grief around not being able to conceive or breast feed; guilt or pressure to make up for losses that their children have experiencedwondering what it will be like parenting children from different cultural backgrounds, and accepting your child’s family of origin. Child-centred issues will also be explored such as: attachment; your child’s individual needs around  security and identity; feelings about being adopted; celebrating differences, and how and when to discuss adoption and birth families with your child.
  • Assessment of parental wellbeing such as depression, anxiety, stress and worry.
  • Exploring concerns you  might have about your child’s behaviours and emotions

The assessment and planning will take approximately two hours and cost $300.

From the assessment a plan will be developed alongside you. This plan might include one, two or all of the following:

1)      Counselling parents for adoption issues:

Karina can provide one or more counselling sessions centred on your identified challenges during the assessment session. Each session will cost $100 per therapy hour.

2)      Psychological interventions for parental emotions such as PADS (post- adoption depression syndrome) or anxiety:

A recent study of 300 mothers found that post-adoption depression syndrome (or PADS) affects between 18 and 26 percent of adoptive mothers in the first year after an infant or child is placed with them. The numbers for post-adoption anxiety are not known but are likely to be higher still.

A psychologist can work with you using techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy or mindfulness strategies to alleviate depression, anxiety and grief as well as other difficulties.

Each adult psychology session will cost $170 per therapy hour

3)      Emotional and Behavioural difficulties in children:

Alongside the specific challenges that come with adoption, children might present with difficulties relating to toileting, sleep, behaviour, attachment and/or anxiety. A psychologist can also work with you to provide therapy for any emotional and behavioural difficulties that might create stress in your relationship with your child.

Each child psychology session will cost $130 per therapy hour

Because we work as a team, information is shared between all three clinicians to create a seamless service, with all clinicians sharing a code of confidentiality

Karina Ledwos can also offer the Circle of Security programme for those who wish to work more intensively on attachment issues (see her bio below).

Karina Ledwos specialises in counselling for adoption issues. She has worked with all adult and teen members of the adoption triangle (i.e. parents who have adopted, adoptees and birthparents). While working at the Northern Adoption Information & Services Unit, Auckland as an adoptions social worker/ counsellor she provided counselling, support and information to a wide range of clients affected by adoption. Karina has also been involved in workshops, support groups and educating/ preparing prospective adoptive parents regarding the issues and services available. Karina has an honours degree in psychology and a masters degree in Social Work. As well, she has a background in research and developing educational programs.

Karina brings her personal experience of being adopted to inform her work. She is also a mother of two children. This unique blend of professional and personal experience provides clients with empathy and acceptance and is grounded in her passionate commitment to acknowledging and healing the difficulties inherent in the adoption process. Karina believes that societal perceptions of adoption tend to focus on the benefits to all involved and minimise the losses and challenges. While parenting an adopted child can bring enormous joy, the difficulties often experienced must also be acknowledged. Parents deserve to be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to take care of their adopted children’s needs as well as their own.

Karina is a registered Circle of Security Parent Educator. The Circle of Security is a relationship based early parenting program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children. Karina is excited about the skills this program can impart, and the positive difference it can make to an adopted child’s overall sense of security.

Karina is currently offering two counselling packages:

*Counselling parents for adoptions issues as part of an Adoption Specialist Partnership Approach (ASPA); see above. The cost for this is $100 per therapy hour.

*Circle of Security Parenting Program:

Perhaps you would like to strengthen an already secure attachment or it might be that you recognise some signs that attachment work is needed, for example:

Did your child have more than one caregiver as an infant? Are they ‘clingy’ or easily distressed? Alternatively, they might show a lack or response when you leave or return to them. This program is proven to help bonding and attachment between you and your child. If you would like more information, skills and support to promote a secure attachment then the Circle of Security Parenting Program will be beneficial to you. This program can be delivered to one on one to caregivers or in a group format (of up to 8 adults). The cost for each one-on-one Circle of Security session is $120 per session (approximately 90 mins) and $90 for each group session (up to 120 mins). Both individual and group sessions involve 8 sessions in total.