Who is HEART?

Heart Counselling is a team of mental health professionals, passionate about supporting people in their time of need

Where it  all  began

Founded in 2014,  HEART Counselling is the long-held vision of Selena Needham, Founder and Lead Therapist. Selena believes the many trials and tribulations she has faced in her life, have prepared her well for her current role. As a professional with a trauma history, Selena is able to draw on a wealth of knowledge and insight when it comes to her therapeutic work.


As a Mum of five adult children and Granmama of five, Selena has faced her fair share of challenges in life. Born in the 1960’s to a 17 year old, Selena was adopted into a loving, stable family. She grew up in rural New Zealand with one older brother and enjoyed for the most part, a carefree childhood.


By 18, Selena was navigating life as a single parent. Two more children were born in Australia, inside a marriage of extreme psychological and sexual abuse. The day she finally escaped this marriage, her children were stolen from her by their father – it would be almost 10 years before they would be reunited. By then Selena was living in New Zealand, remarried and expecting twins by IVF. Sadly, in 2008, Selena lost her father to suicide, following a terminal diagnosis – he was a firm believer in being able to choose a life of dignity.


Following a terminal diagnosis herself in 2010, Selena left her financial management role to undergo major surgery and chemotherapy treatment. She was advised to make the necessary arrangements for not surviving the groundbreaking high-risk surgery. It was at this point, the marriage fell apart and she was left to raise her 8-year-old twin boys with support from her Mum and two adult daughters. At the conclusion of her cancer treatment and recovery, Selena contemplated her future career options and made the decision to retrain. She wanted to make a positive difference in people’s live’s and a friend reminded her of her school girl ambition to be a Counsellor.


In 2014, she completed her Bachelor of Applied Social Science in Counselling and went straight into private practice – HEART Counselling. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and family violence, Selena’s passion is supporting women in their healing and recovery from the trauma of abuse. She wanted to create an agency that would cater for the emotional needs of the whole family.


Speaking of family, her eldest child, Stacey, is the Practice Manager – she is responsible for the day-to-day administration duties including triage of referrals, client liaison, calendar management for the team, and invoicing.




With a background in financial management and international contract negotiation, Selena used her networking skills and business acumen to secure several funding contracts. Our current contracts include:


  • Pinnacle Midland Health Network
  • Hauraki PHO
  • National Hauora Coalition
  • Instep EAP Services
  • Workplace Support Services
  • OCP EAP Services

In October 2019, HEART Counselling was successful in their bid for an ACC Sensitive Claims Supplier contract. This means that clients presenting under other funding contracts, who are then identified as eligible for ACC, can have the same continuity of service. HEART can look after the whole process from lodging the claim, to the assessment and treatment work.


The ACC work is a substantial piece of work – the demand on services is significant and so HEART are always looking for new Providers to fill the roles of


  • Counsellors
  • Psychotherapists
  • Social Workers
  • Clinical Psychologists


Many of the therapists at HEART, completed their studies with Selena. This has made for a cohesive team providing a warm welcoming environment. Today, Selena is well on her way to making her vision a reality.

Meet  our Community Support  Team (CST)

Our growing team of counsellors and support staff are here to help.

Selena heads our organisation overseeing the ACC Sensitive Claims Team (ASCT) and our Community Support Team (CST). Mother of five adult children, including twins, and Granmama to five gorgeous humans, life is never dull! Drawing on her own experience of terminal illness, domestic violence and sexual abuse, Selena is passionate about supporting you in your journey.

Selena Needham
Founder & Lead Therapist

Being a survivor of depression myself, I've experienced first hand the importance in having the right person to talk to. I believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of discussing in depth our experiences of life, the things that make us who we are, the troubles we face, our visions for the future and the goals we want to achieve.

Jono Nesdale
Counsellor (CST)

Denise is part of our Community Support Team (CST). Denise works with adults and youth. 'I have a passion for people realising their value and worth. I have a real heart for teens and youth and the challenges they face. My experience is in working with single parent families and youth. As a counsellor I acknowledge the courage and strength it takes to take the first step towards counselling'

Denise Gerring
Counsellor (CST)

Catherine's specialty areas include grief, and supporting men re-entering society after incarceration. Catherine has worked as an oncology nurse, counsellor and pastor for a number of years and brings a wealth of knowledge from these fields. She is a wife and mother with three young adult children. As an immigrant, she brings knowledge and understanding of the stress that migration brings.

Catherine Simwinga
Counsellor (CST)

In practice since 2015, Julie specialises in Introductory Neuroscience and working with children, youth and trauma

Julie Antony
Counsellor (CST)

Daniel offers practical, solution based counselling that doesn't end when you leave the counselling space. He offers a wide range of counselling services for individuals, couples, and youth in the areas of addiction, abuse, grief, and general mental health support

Daniel Molesworth
Counsellor (CST & ASCT)

Melanie works with adult individuals and couples, providing clinical psychology assessments and therapy. She works in an open helpful way, supporting clients to understand the process and benefit from treatment. She helps primarily with PTSD, depression, anxiety, stress and adjustment, as well as loss and relationship problems.

Dr. T Melanie Lake MNZCCP
Clinical Psychologist (CST & ASCT)
Want to work with us?
Email selena@heartcounselling.org