Counselling Service

Welcome to the Columba College pastoral counselling service.

There are times in life when things don't work out the way you would like them to. At these times, you may be worried, angry, upset, sad or depressed. It helps to talk to someone about what is going on for you. Talking with the counsellor is free, voluntary and confidential. For self -help websites see below.

Times available

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m. and at other times by arrangement.

Table of Contents:

For Students
For Parents
For Teachers
What about confidentiality?
Contact Details to make an appointment
What Happens in Counselling?
Who is the Columba College Counsellor?
Some useful websites for other information or self help

For Students

Life and growing up can get in the way of what you want to achieve and who and what you want to be. There is no shame in talking with someone who is able to coach you through the many challenges, stresses and pressures that you face as a teenager. Your parents also get stressed with the challenges of parenting as they support your education and development. Sometimes parents have their own issues and are not able to give you the supportive relationship that you need, and this creates a more stressful life for you. Anxieties about life can crowd in and take over, often leading to feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with your life. This can be an opportunity for you to rethink what you want out of life. Talking to a counsellor can help you do that.

That doesn't mean your counsellor will wave a magic wand and the problem will go away. But it does mean they will help you cope with it. Coping is an important word to know. Sometimes, kids and grown-ups have difficult problems. Coping means that you are trying to handle these problems and make things better. Coming to talk to a counsellor for the first time can take a bit of courage but read on and this information will give you an idea of what you can expect. Many students enjoy coming to see me as it is time just for them, with someone who is interested in who they are and what they are doing. Remember learning takes many forms. “What you learn at school goes far deeper than reading, writing and arithmetic. It cuts right to the core of who you are. Character traits that you develop at school will remain long after the last school bell rings. Give your schooling days everything you’ve got, so you don’t look back with regret of opportunities lost.”( Glen Gerreyn blog). See ‘what happens in counselling’ below for further information. If you have ever played a sport you will know how important it is to have a coach who helps you reflect on your game and improve your performance to reach your potential.

For Parents

It is often difficult parenting teenagers, especially when you have to manage your own life issues that are at times all-consuming. Modelling your respect for them with supportive guidance, and firm boundaries is not easy and can be stressful and at times discouraging. Encouraging their self-discipline, academic and cultural achievement and negotiating with them as they develop independence and build their self-worth can be exhausting and constant. Teenage years can be a fragile time as they experience increasing expectations, encounter friendship and academic issues as well as peer pressure in the midst of discovering who they are as people. A third person to bounce some ideas off and bring some objectivity into an often very emotional situation can be helpful. You may also be experiencing issues that are impacting on your parenting and your child’s wellbeing which you would like to discuss in a confidential manner. See ‘what happens in counselling’ below for further information.

For Teachers

As teachers you are often confided in by the students with issues that you may not have the time or expertise to handle. You may also observe students whose academic work is suffering but you are not sure why. Suggesting to a student that they might take the opportunity to talk with me is often the beginning of a resolution. Your referrals are followed up with an appointment for the student. You may also be experiencing issues that are impacting on your teaching and interaction with the students, discussing them in a confidential setting may be useful. See ‘what happens in counselling’ below for further information.

What about confidentiality?

Whatever we talk about is confidential. This means not telling your parents, your student Dean, teachers or friends without your permission or knowledge.

I may need to talk through with you how best to support you. At times this could include involving someone else, with your knowledge and permission. I do have a duty to prevent harm and I would talk this through with you before taking action.

Contact Details to make an appointment

The school counsellor is available to students, parents, caregivers, and staff and can be contacted directly by cell phone 021 246 1773 or Columba College 467-5188 ext. 830, email or a note left under the office door upstairs in the Hall block. Sometimes a member of staff or someone from outside the school may refer you to see the counsellor. You will be then sent an appointment and after the first meeting it is up to you whether or not to take full advantage of this opportunity. Students who choose to see me will have appointments scheduled during different lessons so as to minimise the impact on their learning. I am available on Tuesdays and Thursdays regularly, 9.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m.

What Happens in Counselling?

In counselling you can talk about issues and concerns in a safe place with someone who will support you.

As a counsellor it is my job to:

be someone whom you can trust and be open with
listen carefully and sensitively
be non-judgmental and not blame you for the problem
try and see things from your point of view
encourage you to make your own decisions
support you in any changes you decide to make
offer to refer you to other help if necessary
help you to find out what is really concerning you
offer suggestions or options that are available to you

Counselling can help you to:

improve how you feel about yourself
reduce your stress
plan and set goals
explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviour
improve your relationships
help you manage your schoolwork
equip you with tools to help you with challenging life situations
think about things in new ways

Counselling can also help you if you

are having trouble getting on with some people
are worried about things that are happening at home
need help with study techniques and managing your time
have an important decision to make
have experienced the recent death of someone in the family or close to you
are having boyfriend/girlfriend problems
are getting into trouble because of your anger
find it difficult to say 'No'
want to stop some bullying
want to talk about some abuse that has been going on - with you or with someone else
have an alcohol or drug problem
feel lonely or that life has become meaningless
want to discuss subject options, issues with teachers, or parents
are not sleeping or eating very well

Who is the Columba College Counsellor?

Annette Hannah PhD, LTh, MNZPS – Psychologist.

Dr Hannah taught for many years in the medical and dental schools at the University and undertook private practice work including conducting professional development training for other organisations. Her interests are playing golf, camping, tramping, snow skiing, running and she enjoys her family and friends as well as enjoying movies, reading and talking with people. She enjoys the challenge of encouraging others to be the best they can be and also tries to achieve that for herself.

Her husband died early in life and while studying at University, she raised three children. She understands the challenges that teenagers and parents face and the challenges students face in their schooling and personal lives. She knows how to encourage students to be successful personally and academically, as well as having a feel for the challenges that teachers face in providing a good learning environment. She also understands the special nature of a Presbyterian school.

Need to know more, then...

Please feel free to contact Dr Hannah by text or phone, 021 246 1773 or Columba College 467 5188 ext. 830 or email:

senior school counselling

Some useful websites for other information or self help

General teenage issues interactive self-help website 0800 942 8787 or phone 0800 54 37 54

Dating and love

Experiencing Bullying

Immediate help or phone 0800 37 66 33
Helpline 0800 111 757 or phone 474 1592


Eating disorders

Behavioural and attention issues