My name is Dr Missy Wolfman. I am a Clinical Psychologist, registered with the New Zealand Psychologist Board. I did my PhD and Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology training at Victoria University of Wellington. I have 10 years of undergraduate and postgraduate training and qualifications, and 4 years of experience as an intern and fully registered Clinical Psychologist.
I have experience working with children, adolescents and adults in diverse settings including a private psychology clinic, Child, Youth & Family’s secure Care & Protection, and Youth Justice residences, in a high security prison, and adult community mental health service. I am currently working part-time in the public sector, with children, adolescents and their families in a mental health service for moderate to severe mental illness. In my current role working with children and their families, I noticed that a lot of mothers are stressed, burnt-out and unsupported with their own mental health. There are a lot of support and services for their children and adolescents, but not many for the mothers who are incredibly stretched trying to take care of everyone in their family. Through my clinical experience, I know that most of the time if the mothers are supported and her own mental health is prioritised, this has a positive flow-on effect in the family. This is why I started Empowermums – I wanted to prioritise maternal mental health and offer a variety of services that cater for the pivotal person in the family – the mothers. Empowermums is all about supporting and empowering you to thrive in motherhood.
Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy
What do you treat?
I offer psychological assessment and therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. I also offer psychological support for any mothers adjusting to big changes in their lives – pregnant mothers (even if you don’t have your baby yet), first time mothers, mothers having their second or subsequent children, and mothers with multiples (e.g. twins). Even if you are not suffering from anxiety or depression, I can help you to live the life you want and help you thrive, and not merely survive in motherhood.
What treatment approaches do you use?
I am trained in the following evidence-based treatment approaches - Cognitive, Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). I always offer individualised treatment to my clients depending on their presenting problems, their goals for therapy, and what I believe will be helpful for them. Please note that I only offer DBT-informed therapy, that is I do not offer the DBT groups but I use DBT strategies and skills in individual therapy with clients.
What is Psychological Therapy?
Psychological therapy involves two components – assessment and therapy. Assessment typically involves between 1-2 sessions of gathering information about what is currently going on for you and your family, your current difficulties and what you would like help with, and your history. At the end of the assessment session, we will develop an individualized treatment plan and goals of therapy.
Psychological therapy involves learning about your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and typical patterns in your life that may be contributing to your difficulties. Psychological therapy also involves learning about strategies and techniques that may help change the unhelpful patterns in your life. These strategies can include mindfulness, self-compassion, recognising and acknowledging your feelings, distress tolerance and many more.
Psychological Therapy is more effective if you practice these strategies between sessions. Think of psychological therapy like engaging in physiotherapy or other physical health rehabilitation – you need to practice the strategies learned in the sessions everyday in order to recover and improve your mental health.
What happens between the sessions?
I will provide you with ‘homework’ or ‘practice’ tasks to do between the sessions. These are practical strategies that will be more beneficial the more that you use and practice them. Just like going to a physiotherapist and getting exercises to do at home, the more that you practice the strategies we learn together in sessions, the more you will get out of therapy.
How long are each session?
Each session is 50-60 minutes long.
How many sessions will I need?
This will be discussed at the end of the assessment session as it will depend on many factors such as your current challenges and goals for therapy. I offer time-limited therapy that focus on you learning strategies so you become your own therapist.
How often will I need to attend sessions?
I recommend attending weekly or fortnightly as you will gain more from the momentum and consistency of the sessions.
What happens in the first session?
At the beginning, we will do some paper work which involves obtaining your details and consent for assessment/therapy, and completing a questionnaire to assess your mood and stress level. We will then gather information about what is currently going on for you and your family, your current difficulties and what you would like help with, and your history. At the end of the first one or two sessions, we will develop an individualized treatment plan and goals of therapy.
Can I bring my baby to the session?
Yes, you are more than welcome to bring your baby with you. However, I do encourage you to attend the session without your baby/children as you will be able to focus more on yourself and benefit more from therapy.
Can I bring a support person?
Yes, you are more than welcome to bring a support person with you.
What do I need to bring to the session?
You do not need to bring anything to the first session. However, you may be provided with ‘practice tasks/home tasks’ to complete between session. You may be asked to bring these with you in the next session.
Are the sessions confidential?
Yes, but there are limits to confidentiality – the first is for the purpose of clinical supervision, and the second is if there is significant risk of harm to your safety or other people’s safety including your children.
Firstly, the information that you share in the session with me will not be shared with anyone else, except with my clinical supervisor who is also a Registered Clinical Psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologist Board. I share information with my clinical supervisor to ensure that you are receiving the best care possible, and I receive feedback and suggestions regarding my treatment from someone who has more clinical experience than me. As Clinical Psychologists we are bound by strict laws and ethical codes regarding privacy and confidentiality so be assured that your information will be kept confidential.
Secondly, there are limits to confidentiality in specific circumstances that relate to person’s safety including your safety and your children’s safety. If there are high risk of harm to yourself, or to others, the information disclosed in session may be shared with relevant agencies that can reduce the risk of harm to the person. For example, these could be emergency support services, the community crisis mental health team, or Oranga Tamariki. I will endeavour to do this in consultation with you, unless it is an emergency.