Sophie says she feels blessed with whānau sharing stories of their lives with her and finding strength through their self-awareness journey. The counselling service is accessible to anyone, with no limits on how many sessions, which allows her to do therapeutic work on a deeper level.



Tell us a bit about yourself and what do you do at Great Potentials Foundation?

Hi, my name is Sophie, and I am the Counsellor at our Papakura Family Service Centre. I finished my Bachelor of Applied Counselling Degree at Manukau Institute of Technology in 2019. In the last two years of study, I did my placement at a primary school in South Auckland as a student counsellor. I joined Great Potentials in September 2020.

What is a typical day of your job?

It usually consists of either all counselling sessions, or a mix of counselling and initial appointments. When I first meet a new client, we spend time exploring their needs and what services Great Potentials can offer to help. Aside from sessions, there is also the admin side of updating client files and case notes, as well as following up with whānau and scheduling in appointments.

Anyone can make a self-referral for counselling, and we also take referrals from other community agencies or our own Social Workers in Schools (SWiS). Counselling sessions are an hour, or less for younger children, and are a safe space for people to chat about anything happening in their lives. This may be things they feel they need to process from their past, issues they want to explore to assist with decision making in their current life, a place to learn some coping techniques or simply a sounding board.

What do you love the most about your job?

I feel blessed with whānau sharing stories of their lives with me. Sitting alongside while they find their strength and seeing them grow in their self-awareness journey is rewarding. It’s fulfilling spending much needed one on one time with tamariki and hearing about their world of play and imagination while assisting them in processing whatever their little lives may be throwing at them!

The incredible thing about working for Great Potentials is that there are no charges for our services. This makes them accessible. With no set limits on how many counselling sessions each person is entitled to, it allows me to do therapeutic work on a deeper level.

Could you please share a special and/or unforgettable moment/ story during your time in your role?

There are many unforgettable moments, but nothing beats the relationships that get built with the whānau we work with. It can be easy to forget that you might be making a difference in someone’s life, until they express their gratitude for the time you have shared with them on their journey.  Like the time a woman told me towards the end of our therapeutic work that she believed if she had not come to counselling, she would still be in what she now realised was an emotionally abusive relationship that was leaving her physically and mentally unwell. To see her progress from struggling through her breakup to gaining strength back and thriving again in her life was priceless.