We are in late fifties with two young adult children. Our own relationship of over 40 years (yes we got together very young) probably accounts for some of our passion for working with couples.
Verity is a sixth generation pakeha. She has had a broad range of experience in her 35+ years as a psychologist. Apart from a year she took off from her degree (to stage manage the National Opera Company) and a couple of years of OE (including 6 months cycle touring) she has been a psychologist her whole adult life. She trained when the emphasis was more on an apprenticeship-type system. So she did a BA(Hons) in Psychology and then two years of closely supervised practice for her Registration.
After time working in a therapeutic community (The Richmond Fellowship: www.richmondnz.org ) providing an alternative to conventional psychiatric treatment of mental health problems, Verity began working in the alcohol and drug field. She started with Presbyterian Support, becoming a senior clinician there. She then moved into the public sector as a manager for the Community Alcohol and Drug Service (“CADS”).
She went on to pursue her interest in family therapy at the Kelmarna Centre and later at the Home & Family Society (job-sharing with Nic who was already working there). For the last 25+ years she has enjoyed working in her own private practice alongside Nic.
Verity also has experience working in a corporate environment as a qualitative market researcher.
As a senior and well-respected clinician Verity now provides a lot of supervision and training of other health professionals. Current areas of professional interest include sexuality, relationship issues in general, anxiety and life-stage adjustment issues (including “how to survive having kids”).
Verity enjoys the company of friends, surfing and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), dancing, and art galleries.
Nic is a first generation kiwi of Danish & Dutch-Indonesian parents. He started counselling people in his teens, skipping classes at high-school to offer a listening ear, but took a bit of a round trip to practicing it professionally. After a year studying fashion at what is now AUT, he went to University on a Teacher’s College studentship studying English and Economics.
However he dropped out to pursue his first love, which was drama. After training at both the Mercury Theatre and Theatre Corporate Drama School he worked as a professional actor and director in a Wellington-based touring company (Town & Country Players).
Eventually deciding this was not a sustainable lifestyle he took a couple of years out (doing the OE in Europe, visiting all his relatives there) before returning to Auckland and studying psychology. He ended up with an MA with 1st Class Honours and a Post-graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology. During this time he also trained and worked as a Family Therapist at the Leslie Centre. After serving his internship at Segar House (a group therapy setting), he worked for the Home & Family Society where, in addition to his therapy caseload, he and Verity ran couple’s groups. He began in private practice in 1996 working 3 days a week and looking after the kids 2 days a week.
Perhaps as a result of a series of bad accidents he had as a child, Nic developed a speciality in rehabilitation following brain injury and spent over ten years working in this area. He has written and presented in this field and, although no longer seeing ABI clients, continues to run a support group for people with brain injuries for the Headway, a brain-injury support organisation.
He also provides supervision and training for other helping professionals. He likes to make things happen and has initiated and facilitated professional interest groups in both the couple therapy and sex therapy areas. Together with colleague Paula Dennan, he has brought a new model of couple therapy to Aotearoa and runs regular training workshops for professionals in this model.
Nic still keeps his performing hand in by singing in an “à cappella gospel choir with rock ‘n’ roll attitude”. He is an avid reader of science fiction, a keen SUP-surfer and SUP-tourer, and a very proud father.