Bay of Plenty

Mary Hodson

Mary Hodson is our Central and Lower North Island Regional Director and One of Our Bay of PlentyTherapists

As regional director and media spokesperson, it is my job to direct you to the therapist who is most suitable for your needs or best able to fulfil your media request. We have seven excellent therapists operating in the central and lower North Island region including me. 4 of those are in Wellington, 2 in Hamilton and 1 fully trained therapist and 1 intern in Tauranga.  5 women and 2 men. 

I am the senior consultant for Tauranga/ Mount Maunganui and I have been working with people with all kinds sexuality concerns since 2005 when I completed advanced sex therapy training. I specialise in working with couples with emotional and sexual intimacy difficulties and couples where one or both partners have a sexual addiction (now known as 'Out of Control sexual Behaviour' or OCSB). I am registered as a  sensitive claims provider with ACC. 

I am a member of both the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and the World Association of Sexologists (Asia-Pacific region) and I am registered with the NZ Council for Educational Research.  

I worked in health and disability related fields since I registered as an occupational therapist in 1983. My early work was with families that were struggling to cope with either alcohol abuse and its’ attendant problems or serious physical disability, I also taught community based counselling courses in the Far North community. Later, I taught clinical sciences and clinical practice at the school of Occupational Therapy in Wellington and the National Certificate in Human Services at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.

Regional Director
Bay of Plenty
BA (Ed), Dip Occupational Therapy (Distinction), TTC, NZCER (CSp), MNZAC.

Debbie Penlington

Debbie Penlington is one of our consultants in Tauranga

I have almost completed formal training in advanced sex therapy through the University of  Auckland. I particularly enjoy working with individuals or couples who are experiencing sexual, emotional or intimacy issues, supporting them to make their relationship and sex lives as fulfilling and enjoyable as possible.

Common issues include  lack of closeness and connection; desire differences; self acceptance and body image; difficulty talking about sexual needs and preferences; sexual pain; performance anxiety; confusion over sexual orientation; affairs; erectile dysfunction and pornography. I find the combination of my nursing and counselling experience also enables me to work  effectively with clients where health issues / illness is impacting on their ability to maintain a satisfying close, intimate or sexual relationship.

I believe that every couple's relationship is special and different from all other relationships. Over time, cycles or patterns can develop in a relationship which make it difficult for partners to hear each other, neither partner is right or wrong - both just see the same situation from different perspectives. With my support each partner can better understand what is happening for them in the relationship, how this may be influenced by their previous experiences and how they impact on their partner.

My approach is strongly influenced by the work of Dr Sue Johnson who developed Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT) in the 1980's. EFT is one of the very few approaches to relationship issues that has had research on its effectiveness carried out. Compared to other approaches findings have been very positive showing that relationships of 80-90% of couples receiving EFT improved and 60% of these maintained their improvements or continued to improve. I work from rooms in the Tauranga CBD.

Mary Hodson is the regional director for central and lower North Island. To contact her click here

Bay of Plenty
MCouns, NZRN, MNZAC