Dr Fran Vertue

Dr Fran Vertue

Areas of specialty

  • Peer Supervision
  • Children, Adolescents, and Adults with mental health difficulties
  • Relationship Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Parent child relationship therapy
  • Adjustment to life changes
  • Family Court counselling
  • Family Court child custody reports
  • Criminal Justice psychology

Academic Qualifications

BSc (University of Canterbury)
BA Hons (1st Class) (University of Canterbury)
MA (with Distinction) (University of Canterbury)
Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology (University of Canterbury)
PhD (University of Otago)

Professional Qualification

I am registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board in the Clinical Scope of Practice

Professional Affiliations

Fellow of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists (FNZCCP). I was awarded the Fellowship in 2007 by the NZCCP for “significant and pre-eminent contribution to the NZ College of Clinical Psychologists or the Psychology profession in general”.
Family Courts Association of New Zealand
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, USA
Australia and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law
Academy of Cognitive Psychology, USA

Experience and current work environments

I worked in the public health system for many years in the Child and Family area, and subsequently moved into private practice in 2004, starting the Child and Family Psychology Centre in Christchurch. I have been a lecturer at the University of Canterbury on and off for many years where I have taught Child and Adolescent Development, Family Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Couple and Family Therapy. From 2013 to 2018, I worked with the Department of Corrections, training and supervising Psychologists and other Corrections staff, developing treatment programmes for young people whose behaviour has incurred a violent or sexual criminal conviction, working directly with youth and adult offenders who want to live prosocial lives, and developing systems for Psychological Services. I am now working in a private practice, Christchurch Psychology, with a colleague, Liz Waugh.

In my clinical practice I have treated children, adolescents, and adults with all kinds of psychological difficulties, including learning problems, developmental disorders such as Autism and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, depression, and a wide range of behavioral difficulties. I have treated couples with relationship therapy, and carried out Family Therapy. I have worked with adults who are struggling with mental health problems, adjustment to change or trauma, relationships, life transitions, or personality difficulties. I have also provided clinical supervision and mentoring for early career professionals who are seeking to increase their confidence and career support. I currently do child custody evaluations for the Family Court and I also counsel parents who are struggling to reach agreement about the care of their children. I also provide risk assessments to the Courts for the Department of Corrections. I provide peer supervision to my colleagues in various professions besides Clinical Psychology and I advise organisations on their work with clients.

I have published articles in academic journals and in popular magazines, two series of articles about children’s psychological difficulties in The Press (Christchurch daily newspaper) and a series of articles in The Press about many psychological issues. These articles are available in the form of Client Fact Sheets on this website. I have also presented workshops on many topics over the years in New Zealand, Australia and North America.

Approach to the work

It is difficult to be explicit about my approach to the work, and I would not want to be rigid about any of this.

My assessment model involves assessing four areas of functioning (social, emotional, physical, and intellectual) within four contexts (the person’s own biology, the family, the school/workplace, and the community). I am committed to working in a multicultural framework, acknowledging the influence that cultural factors such as age, ethnicity, family of origin, education, language, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status have on the psychological health and wellbeing of individuals and the contexts in which they function. I am also committed to discussing the cultural issues that might impact on my work with my clients.

My approach to therapy involves a primarily Cognitive Therapy framework, acknowledging the influence that our thinking has on our emotional experiences and our behaviour. I integrate psychodynamic approaches in my treatment model, acknowledging the influence of family or origin experiences, as well as the therapeutic relationship, on how we make progress in treatment.

I am committed to peer supervision on a regular basis to ensure that my work is challenged by colleagues and that I have a forum for discussion and professional development. I attend formal professional development training courses in my areas of interest, and have provided training to many professional groups in New Zealand, Australia and North America. I provide clinical supervision to many psychologists around New Zealand as well as individuals working in other people-focused professions and have delivered an advanced supervision workshop in the major centres of New Zealand.


Articles of interest written for The Press newspaper

Always Late!
Depression: Prevention and Treatment
Children who are Different
Anxiety: Afraid or Angry?
Thinking about Puberty
Gossip can be Good for You!
Sports fans – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Adolescents and Facebook
Earthquake: Trauma and Stress
When does a Collection become a Hoard?
People and their Pets
Earthquake Aftermath
Getting Back Into the Building
The Highly Sensitive Person
CBT for Earthquake Anxiety
How to Tell Your Children You’re Separating
Daily Pleasure
Sibling Rivalry
The Christchurch Earthquakes and Ongoing Stress
One Degree of Change
Me, We, and the Meaning of Life
Bereavement, Grief, and Mourning
Specific Learning Difficulties
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