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Aaron OConnell - Clinical Psychologist

Hi, I’m Aaron O’Connell, clinical psychologist.

I provide psychological therapy, advice and clinical supervision in my part-time private practice in Auckland.

After many years developing my skills in the public system, I have started a specialist private practice to focus on psychological treatments for a small number of adult clients.

I  am an experienced therapist, having worked in both New Zealand and the UK, and have expertise in CBT treatments for a wide range of problems (including depression, anxiety and distress, anger management, and hearing voices).

I am motivated to help people quickly and effectively develop strategies to overcome their distress.

For more information about working with a clinical psychologist, cognitive behavioural therapy and my service see this website (or alternatively just give me a call to start a conversation!).



The decision to work on your psychological problems and to approach a mental health professional is an important (and possibly scary) process.  I have outlined how it might work in general - and what support I am able to offer.  Again, I am always happy to chat by phone or email to clarify what this might mean for your individual circumstances, and for us to establish whether you would feel comfortable working with me.  There needs to be a good fit with the therapist for therapy to be successful - so I would encourage you to phone me and begin a conversation.  If I am not the right therapist for you, I can recommend other psychologists or services.


Psychological Therapy

There are many ways to conceptualise and explain working with a psychologist or therapist.  On a very fundamental level, the process of talking with a neutral person tends to encourage personal reflection and highlight how your individual responses tend to be habitual (and can sometimes be helpful).  On a more formal level, I am a clinical psychologist, trained in psychological assessments and a broad range of treatments.  I mostly employ a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach, but 24 years of clinical practice and training has provided me with a range of therapeutic models and strategies.

The first meeting generally involves us discussing the issues that are distressing for you - and getting some detailed examples of the problem.  This will last 50 minutes and by the conclusion, we should be able to come to a shared understanding of the problem and an indication of the solutions (whether further contact would be useful).  The charge for the initial assessment is $185. 



If you need more general advice on psychological issues or mental health concerns, I am available to meet for consultation, rather than engaging in formal therapy.  Some of my experience includes:

  • advice on appropriate psychological treatments and services for mental health conditions, especially young adults with vague and undefined emerging problems
  • supporting families with a family member in distress (including coaching skills and problem solving)
  • critical incident debriefing following crisis or suicide


Clinical Supervision

I have been offering clinical supervision for CBT practitioners for the past 14 years, within the public mental health system and from my private practice.  Some of my time in the UK exposed me to world leading expertise in CBT.  I have received regular clinical supervision from Gillian Bulter (author of Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness) and Philippa Garety (UK specialist in CBT for psychosis).  I became an accredited CBT therapist while working in the NHS.  Please contact me directly to discuss how I can offered a valued contribution to your practice.  Fees are negotiable.

What is CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapy (or Cognitive therapy) is a therapeutic approach based on understanding and noticing how your thoughts can contribute to unwanted feelings and unhelpful actions.  It is the most widely used and researched therapy, and has been scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions.

The therapy tends to be more structured that other therapies (listing problems, setting specific goals, agenda setting each session) and requires considerable work outside the therapy session (with the unfortunate title of “homework!).  As such, CBT treatments tend to be short term (over a number of weeks) and focused on your current day-to-day problems.  There is a proactive and collaborative relationship between therapist and client, with emphasis on learning and applying new skills.

Phone me if you want to discuss this further....



ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy)

Submitted by Aaron on Wed, 07/10/2015 - 12:07pm

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be used to describe a range of modern therapies that have evolved from the initial model of Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis in the latter part of last century.  Sometimes referred to "third wave" therapies, these approaches included DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy), ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy.  While of these new therapy approaches can be considered as a natural advancement on the original therapy CBT techiques (many have added acceptance and mindfulness as components), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has a different theoretical background and takes a radically different approach to distressing and painful thoughts and feelings.  The main distinction in ACT is to focus on the relationship a person has to internal experiences, rather than the trying to challenge or change the content of thoughts and feelings.  This new perspective allows us to consider unpleasant thoughts and feelings as an expected and normal part of real life - and instead focuses on the unhelpful and inflexible ways we might response to this pain.  Russ Harris has written a number of popular self help books and is one of the leading authors to outline an ACT approach.  The first introduction chapters of The Happiness Trap, The Reality Slap and ACT with Love are all freely available on the internet (see

So when we say a course of CBT - there might be a variety of different approaches and techiques offered.



View full google map here

Office 11
465 Mt Eden Road, Auckland 1024

In offices above "The Altar" cafe, just a short walk south of Mt Eden village. Walk outside, to the right side of the cafe, pass the outdoor chairs, to the door on the left and then up the internal stairs.

Phone: 021 432 246 E-mail:


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