About me
Joanna Russell

Counsellor - Christchurch


What I can offer:

We all get stuck in our same old thoughts, feelings and behaviour and don't know how to change.  Change seems too complicated and painful.  In Kiwi culture, we call upon the professionals for medical, legal or accounts work, but in areas of personal growth and development, our DIY takes over.  We resist getting professional help, even if we're falling apart.


If you're in this kind of stuck place, then as a professional, I can help you.  I'm a fully qualified counsellor with a Master's Degree in Education and Counselling.  I've studied loads of Psychology and can break it down into helpful information, with practical steps, using language we all understand.


Psychology is not for the elite; it's for everyone.  It's a tree with lots of branches.  One of those branches might be right for you.  It might help you understand yourself; and your situation, and help you make changes.


My approach as a counsellor:

My approach as a counsellor is to equip, rather than create dependency.  Equipping is about self-knowledge and self-insight because we can't change our behaviour without looking at the needs or issues in our lives.  As a counsellor, I'm working towards clients not needing me anymore!


My life journey:


I'm married to my first love and we've been married 40 years, this year.  We have three married children and seven grandchildren.  I've always been passionate about self-learning and personal growth, and after a teaching career, decided to pursue further study and follow this passion as a professional.


Throughout my life, I've had to face adversity and major setbacks.  I know what it's like to have to work through things that feel unfair and overwhelming.  I'm not someone who's had it easy, but I've been able to summon up the determination to keep going.  As I see it, the only other choice is to give up, and I can't go there.


My counselling experience:


My previous counselling experience is in personal counselling, relationship counselling, and addiction work, and many people tell me that their relationship with me as their counsellor is the first trust relationship they've ever experienced.  They tell me I have the empathy and emotional understanding to help them heal.  Maybe this is because my own personal journey has resourced me to serve and help others.  I know first-hand that life can be hard, and full of adversity.  So I'm not the expert type, making you feel worse than before.


What I believe:


I believe that we have a true self.  This true self exists behind our defensive behaviours and our dysfunction.  I also believe that behaviours such as addictions don't define people; and that so often these behaviours are driven by emotional pain, grief and loss, or deep human needs.


I also believe that the human heart needs healing, and that the starting point only happens when we face ourselves.  This takes courage, and the determination to face issues honestly.  It's when we heal, that we find ourselves.


Bottom line, we need to be sick of our excuses, and our cover-ups, and brave enough to find out who we are.


Are you there yet?  If you are, join someone who's been on the emotional healing journey a while now, and can help you get started.  I regret it's taken me so long.  Maybe I can help shorten yours.  If you need someone to listen without criticism or judgement, to understand where you're coming from, and to offer real help, then I am the one for you.


My values:


My professional culture is shaped by my values.  I value all human beings and believe we are equal.  We can therefore all mutually learn from each other.  I respect that you have a personal life story, just as I do.




My formal training consists of a Master's Degree in Education and Counselling from the University of Canterbury, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, English and Anthropology, and a Post Graduate Diploma of Teaching.