The Guidance Department provides a private and confidential service for students at all levels. Students may self-refer, or are referred by teachers, deans, senior management staff, or parents.

Guidance aims to support and encourage young people to attain their potential in education and to develop students into socially aware, contributing, and fulfilled adults who are able to manage their life, whatever their circumstances. Students are empowered to make wise decisions, enjoy healthy relationships, to follow their dream, keep focused, manage change, and never stop learning.

Making an appointment with the Guidance Department

All counsellors counsel students at every year level. To make an appointment, students should click on the book an appointment icon below and fill out the online counselling request form.  Once the form is filled out it will be logged with the Guidance Department who will endeavour to see students as soon as possible. Please note that at different times of the year, there is a greater need for counselling services so there can be a waiting period to be seen by a counsellor. 

Note: students need to be logged into their cloud accounts to access the online form to book an appointment. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s dean or HOD Guidance, Mr Jay Smith, if they want to have them referred for counselling.


The Guidance Department provides a private and confidential service for students at all levels. Students may self-refer, or are referred by teachers, deans, senior management staff, or parents.

The four qualified counsellors who are all members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) offer counselling over a wide range of issues – anxiety, depression, relationships, anger, conflict, eating issues, and substance use are some examples. Students benefit from discussing difficulties they are experiencing at College, or issues that may be happening outside school.   

The Guidance Department offers a counselling service for mild to moderate levels of distress. For acute or severe levels of risk we will refer students to external agencies, who specialise in specific areas of need. Throughout this process the student will remain in connection with their counsellor in the Guidance Department.
There are many different agencies we refer students to, e.g. Marinoto Adolescent Mental Health services, the CADS- Altered High programme (alcohol and drugs use) and many others depending on the issue and level of need. Parents are welcome to contact the Guidance counsellors for advice and information about these, or other, agencies for young people.

What Happens in Counselling?

The student and counsellor meet in the counsellor’s office and the counsellor will introduce her/himself.  At this point, it is usual to outline confidentiality and autonomy and explain to the student what that means for them personally.  All four counsellors take an eclectic approach to counselling – that is they draw on many approaches to counselling.  These may include narrative therapy, sand tray therapy, interactive drawing therapy, solution focused therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Positive Psychology.  Depending on the student, some are more open to creative approaches while others are more comfortable with direct face to face counselling.  The aim is, always, to connect well with students, both male, female and gender diverse, of different cultures and with different personalities.  One counselling session may be sufficient but more often a number of sessions are required. 

Supervision and Professional Development

Counsellors are bound by the NZAC Code Ethics  to undertake frequent professional clinical supervision.  This is for a measure of accountability, and the maintenance of safe, ethical and effective practice.  The NZAC annual renewal of membership for counsellors is dependent on appropriate attendance at supervision.  Another key part of annual renewal of membership is for the counsellor to be able to show a record of professional development undertaken in the past twelve months.

The Guidance Department engages in professional development internally and through attending courses throughout the year.   The counsellors attend external professional development with local or overseas speakers presenting on a topic of particular interest at a one day, or longer, workshop.  The counsellors share their external professional development experience with the team on their return. 

Guidance Staff

Jay Smith (he/him)

I was born and raised in Scotland and graduated with a Science degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Glasgow. In 1998, I moved to Auckland and took up a position as a Mathematics teacher. After doing this for some time, and with a growing awareness of the difficulties that young people navigate in adoescence and a desire to help them explore these, I began training to be a counsellor. In 2007, after completing a Master’s Degree in Counselling, I joined the Guidance team here at Rangitoto College. Over this time it has been a real privilege to offer a counselling service to our rangitahi and journeying with them as they seek to thrive.

Amy Udy (she/her)

I am fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English and I have extensive cross-cultural experiences, having lived in several countries working with university students, parents, and fashion designers in the past 20 years before I joined Rangitoto College. My passion in counselling is helping young people explore who they are, discover their own resources to solve problems, take care of their mental health and be their best version they can be. Besides doing counselling, I am also an exhibited narrative artist and coach for woman’s groups and I serve the community through seminars, workshops, and art exhibitions. I strongly believe that human beings are longing to see and be seen; hear and be heard; love and be loved as we are relational creatures.

Janette Wilson (she/her)

After teaching young adolescents both in the classroom and in Performing Arts for twenty years, a strong desire to make a difference in young people’s emotional and mental health led me to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling at Auckland University. I believe meaningful connections, support and understanding are essential to support the wellbeing of adolescents as they navigate this challenging time of their lives. It is a privilege to work collaboratively alongside the young people of Rangitoto College to help them make sense of their feelings and emotions.

Lexi Gallagher-Parkinson (she/her)

Following completing my Bachelor of Arts in psychology, I worked with children and young people in sports coaching and management. Then, I took the leap and returned to full-time study in my hopes of becoming a counsellor. I now have a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Theory, and a Master of Counselling with first class honours. Throughout my study, I worked in a private school for Years 0-13, and now Rangitoto College. I love a laugh and meeting new students but am also highly dependable to help guide and support young people through tough times. I am also actively involved in the Peer Support Programme. I really value being part of the strong, experienced, and friendly Rangitoto College Guidance team.