Making Aotearoa New Zealand
the best place to raise children
in flourishing families

Counselling helps

It took more than 10 years for Annabel* to build up the courage to tell her parents she was gay. Their reaction and disapproval left her feeling hurt, insecure and alone.Happy young woman

Today, Annabel is praising a Family Works counselling service for giving her the tools and support she needed to pull herself out of depression, and to feel happy and comfortable to be her true self.

As a 15 year old Annabel thought she was gay. She also knew her family wouldn’t approve, so she hid her sexuality. Unfortunately for Annabel, her attempts to “be normal” led to bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide.

“I tried to like boys but didn’t ‘feel’ anything when I was with them. I had two very unsatisfactory relationships with boys when I was at college.”

At university she finally acknowledged her sexuality and ‘came-out’ to her family and close friends. She knew it would be difficult for her parents, but she didn’t expect the reaction she received.

Her parents were shocked, their relationship became strained and Annabel was shut out of the family.

Once again Annabel became depressed, but this time she turned to Family Works for help.

Annabel worked with her counsellor and began to acknowledge and explore her feelings of sadness, disappointment, anger and fear. She started recognising where the feelings came from and learnt how to cope with her parents’ sadness and disappointment.

Annabel explains the dynamics between herself and her parents are changing and they’re able to relate better as equals.

“For the first time in my life I feel free and happy to be myself.”

Family Works provides counselling services for children, teens and adults, including individuals, parents and families who are facing challenging times. Thanks to our supporters counselling sessions are often able to be provided free-of-charge or heavily subsidised so that cost isn’t a barrier to those in need.

Find out more about Family Works counselling.

* names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of our client.

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