National DBT Service

Te Whare Mahana offers New Zealand’s only national residential Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) programme. Situated in Golden Bay, Nelson Tasman, this internationally renowned programme is for people experiencing frequent high levels of distress and have had little success from hospital and community treatments.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is an intensive behavioural treatment approach, helping people work through complex histories and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and learn new skills for managing relationships and coping with distress. American psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed the well-established treatment model as a better way of treating people with Borderline Personality Disorder and chronic self-harm/suicidal behaviours. DBT is now routinely used to treat a wide range of different and co-occurring mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

DBT emphasises the learning and refinement of skills to help regulate emotions, change thinking patterns associated with problems in daily living and reduce misery and distress. DBT incorporates the acquisition of skills to assist residents in improving interpersonal effectiveness and their quality of life.

 “Before coming to us, our DBT residents’ multiple suicide attempts and frequent severe self-harming episodes have really challenged DHB outpatient mental health services. When referring, clinicians often describe our residents as being ‘on a trajectory to death’. They have exhausted all local treatment options but are wanting to live – that’s what we give our residents, their lives, their futures.” Shelley Harvill, DBT clinical manager.

Click here to find out more about who DBT is for.


The programme

Our programme offers up to six placements in a 24 hour-staffed home in Golden Bay, Nelson Tasman. The environment is welcoming, private and safe.

Treatment includes twice-weekly individual therapy sessions with intensively trained DBT clinicians, multiple skills classes and crisis coaching, skills practice groups and 24/7 access to DBT coaches. There are also opportunities to apply therapeutic learning through shared living, daily skills groups, household management, recreational and vocational activities and during home visits. Family/Whanau therapy and Transition/Home-based consultation are provided to support long-lasting change.

We have links with the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, including the Alcohol & Other Drug service and Acute Psychiatric Unit. We also work with Golden Bay Integrated Health Centre, WINZ, Te Whare Mahana’s Community Mental Health, Employment and Vocational Services and the Ark respite care.



Te Whare Mahana is blessed with long-serving, highly trained and experienced specialists who share a passion for helping people achieve “a life worth living.” The Te Whare Mahana team believes that within the DBT framework, there are great opportunities to develop core learning, essential for self-understanding and living effectively in the world around us. Our staff greatly appreciate how hard clients work and have enormous respect for their bravery and commitment, matching our commitment to finding the “nugget of gold” within each of us and working with clients to create a meaningful life they actually want to live.


Originating from the Mississippi delta Dr. Shelley Harvill is highly experienced at group facilitation within natural environments and amongst diverse cultures. After helping to build and direct a community integration programme for people living with serious mental illness, Shelley obtained a Doctorate of Psychology from Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, Missouri. Seeking to learn about nationalised healthcare systems and to continue her interest in the schizophrenia recovery field and mindfulness-based approaches, Shelley completed post grad work in Nova Scotia Canada. Being an integration of western and eastern psychological philosophies and backed by strong research, DBT became one of Shelley’s preferred therapeutic models to effectively treat people with complex needs. She has completed multiple DBT intensive trainings, including Radically Open DBT, which is aimed at people with over-control issues as found in treatment resistant depression and eating disorders. She also brings experience with integrating prolonged exposure therapy with DBT to help clients better manage problems related to PTSD.

DR BERNADETTE GUERIN, PhD (Psychology); PGDipClinPsych, Reg. Clinical Psychologist - DBT Therapist

Born and bred on the West Coast of the South Island, Bernadette is looking forward to returning to the mainland after 25 years living in Auckland. After completing an undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology at the University of Canterbury, Bernadette went on to complete three postgraduate qualifications in psychology at the University of Auckland, including a PhD, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology. Since then she has worked as a Clinical Psychologist in Community Mental Health and, more latterly, for the Department of Corrections, primarily at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility. In both settings she has provided DBT-informed treatment. Bernadette has also held lecturing, and research, positions at AUT University. Alongside her interest in DBT, and trauma-informed care, Bernadette is passionate about holistic approaches to well-being, including mindfulness approaches and those that foster self-compassion. Welcoming the opportunity to further develop her DBT skills at Te Whare Mahana, and to help clients create a life worth living, Bernadette is also excited about exploring beautiful Golden Bay and all life there has to offer.


Originating from Germany, Volker has lived in Golden Bay since 1988. He is a counsellor specialising in DBT therapy, preferring to work within the evidence-based framework of DBT. His work at Te Whare Mahana includes individual therapy, skills training and group facilitation. He has completed two intensive DBT trainings and multiple advanced DBT related workshops.


"With whakapapa back to England, Scotland, and Denmark, Nick is a fifth-generation pākeha New Zealander. Raised in a strong family and extended family environment in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland and having also spent formative time in Ōtepoti / Dunedin and Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington, Nick moved to Mōhua / Golden Bay in early 2021 to live in a more sustainable and connected way. Nick completed his Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at Massey University, investigating the question of how psychologists can assist individuals experiencing distress due to bigger-than-self issues in society and the biosphere. This inquiry informed a clinical philosophy grounded in embodied embedded mindfulness practice, which naturally fits with the focus of DBT as a treatment approach. In his spare time, Nick enjoys tramping, DJing, field hockey, and is an avid Black Caps fan."


Bree has been honoured to walk alongside people in their journey to wholeness as a Registered Nurse and Social worker since 1983. Born under Te Maunga of Aoraki in Timaru Bree has remained close to the land throughout her life and returns to Golden Bay to live the dream. Journeying overseas for many years Bree has experience in supporting people connect to the land to find their own still point through wilderness therapy, has training and experience in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, DBT skills groups and incorporates Trauma Informed Care into her work. Bree brings training and experience in Mental Health nursing and mindfulness practices and believes everyone deserves the opportunity to reconnect to their inner strength through DBT, traditional medicine, and connecting to the beautiful lands of Aotearoa here in Golden Bay. Bree is passionate about yoga, tramping, and waka-ama.


Sabina is a Registered Social Worker is the Intake and Care Coordinator for the DBT Team. She holds a degree in Social Pedagogue from a German University, a post grad. Certificate in Professional Supervision and has training in Psychodrama, Re-evaluation Counselling, Motivational Interviewing and has completed an intensive DBT training course . She has a keen interest in cultural learning and Te Reo Māori, and values individual and cultural uniqueness and diversity.

EMMA FURNESS - Care Coordinator

Ko Emma Furness tāku ingoa. No Ōtepoti ahau. Ko Kai Tahu me Ngāti Pākehā ōku iwi. Emma is the Care Coordinator for the DBT team, monitoring and coordinating treatment plans for onsite and offsite residents. She originates from Dunedin, has a degree in Psychology and is working on her Masters and eventual registration as a psychologist. She has been a yoga teacher for 17 years, has run several businesses, is a mum of two, and loves being immersed in nature.


Lesley is a senior coach (overnight support worker), household manager and part of the TWM clinical team, having completed the DBT intensive training. She has worked at Te Whare Mahana since 2002, helping many people reach their full potential through the DBT programme, including by promoting exercise and healthy eating combined with the DBT skills to form the path to wellness.

Virginia (Ginny) Stocker

Ginny has recently returned to Te Whare Mahana after 14 months of work and travel abroad. She previously worked for Te Whare Mahana as a support worker for 9 years and she lead the recreational programme. Ginny works now as a casual support worker and is deeply appreciative of the DBT programme and its efficiency in the treatment of BPD and other mental health disorders …


Heather began work for Te Whare Mahana at the beginning of 2016. She qualified as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in the mid 1980’s and since then has worked in the health, welfare, education, and NGO sectors with children, young people and their families. Since coming to the Bay from Christchurch and being employed at Te Whare Mahana, Heather has had the opportunity to train in DBT. "Every day I see how this skills based approach is helping residents to effectively manage their emotions and the challenges life presents as they work towards their life worth living."


“Ko Anthony Marsh tāku ingoa, i whānau au i Ōtepoti, i pakeke ake au i Taieri. Ko Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha ōku iwi.” Marty is a DBT coach and support worker at Te Whare Mahana and has completed a DBT intensive training. Growing up in Mosgiel, just outside Dunedin, his whānau, Marae, and urupā are all in the deep south of Murihiku. After decades in the corporate world, including some time working for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on Whai Rawa, he moved to Golden Bay. Marty is also the DBT Cultural Advisor to support the team’s bi-cultural competency.


Holly joined the team at Te Whare Mahana in 2017 as a Peer Support Worker and now also as a DBT Coach. She is originally from the UK but has been in New Zealand since 2015. She is a qualified Outdoor Instructor bringing experience working in the outdoors with adults and children, often with behavioural problems. It is her belief that through positive experiences in the outdoors we learn our place in the world, a sense of purpose and responsibility not only for ourselves but for those around us too. Māori believe that our emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves are born daily from the land, that thought itself comes from here. If we break that connection to the land we also break the connection to ourselves.    


“Ko Alene tāku ingoa. Nō Ngai Tahu ahau.” Alene was drawn to Golden Bay as a nature sanctuary after many years of living in Auckland. She has a background in Speech-Language Therapy working with children with complex communication needs and has Specialist Teacher training in Vision and Hearing Impairments. As she has always been motivated to work alongside people supporting them to have a voice and feel seen; DBT training interests her in its holistic, humanistic skills-based approach to a life worth living. Her values are to be inclusive, celebrate diversity and to experience life as a learning journey.


Christy has recently joined our team at Te Whare Mahana as a DBT coach/ support worker. Born and bred in Dunedin, Christy also attended University there and gained a Bachelor's degree in English and Psychology. She later went on to study Teaching and Adventure Tourism. Christy brings with her varied skills and knowledge from her diverse career background including Teacher, Programme Coordinator, Travel Consultant and Youthline Counsellor. She is passionate about empowering people to lead holistically healthy, fulfilling lives that take into account the interconnection between mind, body and spirit.


Katja is originally from Berlin, Germany, where she completed her occupational therapy studies. She worked in pediatrics, neurology and at a daycare centre for people with addiction. There she discovered her great interest in mental health. As an occupational therapist, it is very important for Katja to enable her clients to be able to act in everyday life, participate in society and improve their quality of life. Katja's self-care involves spending time with her two children, relaxing in nature, playing music and singing.


Rebecca joined the team as a DBT coach and support worker in 2021. Rebecca has moved to Golden Bay to be closer to her family after living in Australia for 15 years and is looking forward to building a life here. As a disability support worker and Occupational Therapist, Rebecca enjoys finding innovative ways to support people to engage in meaningful activities and live full and meaningful lives. She hopes to bring those skills to her new role. She also loves crochet, bush walks, baking, board games and dogs.


Juliette recently returned home to the fertile soil of Mohua after many years living and learning on the red earth of Ahitereiria. Juliette is a E-RYT® 500 registered yoga teacher, YACEP® yoga teacher trainer and a studying Somatic Movement Therapist. Juliette is the founder and director of Awakening Arts, school of yoga and eco-somatic therapies. When she is not immersed in the mahi of Te Whare Mahana Juliette is focused on the curation and delivery of her unique yoga program that accentuates a trauma aware and eco-somatic approach to living mindful, meaningful lives.