Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for subsidised WellElder counselling?


  • Who is aged 60 or over (55 or over if Maori or Pasifika)
  • Who lives within the Capital & Coast District Health Board area (download map)
  • And whose mental health issues, if any, are mild to moderate.

What happens if I am not eligible?

If you live outside the Capital & Coast District Health Board area and you are over 60 (or over 55 if Maori or Pasifika),

  • we may be able to advise you of counsellors in your area who are experienced working with older clients (Private practice rates may apply); or
  • if you are able to attend counselling at one of our venues, you can see a WellElder counsellor and pay $95.00 per session

If you are under 60 (or under 55 if Maori or Pasifika), live in the Capital & Coast District Health Board area and

  • you have an age related health condition; or
  • you care for someone with an age related health condition

We can arrange for you to receive subsidised WellElder counselling.

What do I have to do to make an appointment?

Ring or email us.

We will need to confirm that you are eligible for our service. We will establish which of our venues is closest or whether the counsellor will see you at home.

We will need

  • your contact details (name, address, phone number and email, if you use it).
  • your date of birth and ethnicity
  • your NHI number. This is your national health index number. If you do not know it, your medical centre can give it to you. (You need not know this when you first ring - you can let us know at your first appointment.)

What does counselling with WellElder cost?

Our contract with Capital & Coast District Health Board enables us to provide subsidised counselling to eligible people within the Capital & Coast District Health Board area. However, the contract does not meet all our costs and we ask clients to make a contribution. Counsellors discuss payment options with each client. Options range from $10 to $85 and clients are free to decide what contribution they can manage.

How old is the counsellor?

All WellElder counsellors are over 60.

If my doctor refers me to counselling, does this mean s/he thinks I am not coping or I'm losing my mind?

Absolutely not! Doctors, social workers and other professionals refer people to counselling when they face challenges, difficult experiences or emotions and can see that new approaches may help.

At WellElder we take it as a sign of strength of character when people attend counselling (often for the first time in their lives) to address their circumstances and feelings.

How long is a counselling appointment?

Counselling appointments are usually for 50 - 60 minutes. The time may be adjusted to suit you, for example a shorter session if you are tiring easily or a longer appointment when several family members attend together.

How often will I see the counsellor?

Up to six counselling sessions are available. (More may be available, if required.) You will work out with the counsellor what frequency will work best. Often people have the first few sessions weekly and space later ones out.

Where will I see the counsellor?

Counselling appointments are held at our office in Newtown, at community centres in Johnsonville, Porirua and Paraparaumu, and in clients' homes and rest homes when mobility is an issue. (56% of our counselling sessions have been in clients' residences.)

Riddiford House

Level 1, 94 Riddiford Street, Newtown - View Map

Johnsonville Community Centre

3 Frankmoore Avenue, Johnsonville - View Map

Coastlands Shopping Centre

First Floor, Paraparaumu - View Map

How private is the counselling?

The counsellor will discuss confidentiality with you at your first appointment. Information about you, what you discuss in counselling and the fact that you are attending counselling are shared with other people only with your permission. (For instance, you may decide it is helpful for the counsellor to share information or consult with your doctor or another health professional.) Exceptions to this are:

  • If you are referred by a doctor or health professional, we do advise them when you start and end counselling and how you rate your wellbeing at the beginning and end of counselling.
  • If there is a serious risk to safety, the counsellor will work to ensure the persons' safety and this may, but does not usually, involve disclosing information you have not agreed to share.
  • The counsellor may talk to their supervisor who is an experienced counsellor. This is to ensure the counselling is effective and ethical. The supervisor is also bound by confidentiality.
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