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Therapeutic early intervention service for children and families.

Nurture Family Services is a Christchurch based child therapy clinic. We have over 20 years of combined experience working with children and families, specialising in therapeutic interventions.

What we specialise in:

We provide therapy for children (0-8 years) and their families.

  • Emotional Problems/Dysregulation
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Parenting Support and Education
  • Family and Parent/Child Relationships
  • Daily Functioning (Eating and Sleeping Difficulties)
  • Post-Natal Adjustment Support
  • Difficult Birth Experiences or Birth Trauma

Individual Therapies

Below are some of the therapies we offer at Nurture Family Services. We may recommend one or more of these depending on the needs of your child and family.

Attachment based interventions

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

DDP is an intervention that focuses on helping parents/caregivers and children make deeper emotional connections with each other. This helps to build stronger relationships and target difficult situations. We achieve this by initially working with parents on understanding brain development and attachment, before coaching parents in parenting with PACE (Playfulness Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy).

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 a child-led psychotherapeutic approach

Watch Wait and Wonder

Watch, Wait and Wonder is an evidence-based, child led therapy that uses the infant’s natural activity during free play to enhance a parent/caregiver’s responsiveness, which can strengthen regulation ability and the child-parent relationship. The approach provides space for the infant/child and parent to work through developmental and relational struggles through play. Watch Wait and Wonder can help parents learn to be reflective about the child’s inner world of feelings, thoughts and desires.

For more information see:

An evidence-based form of play therapy and is grounded in Gestalt Theory


Theraplay is an intervention that focuses on improving interactions between parents/caregivers and their children. Aims of Theraplay include building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. Theraplay sessions strengthen the emotional connection between the child and parent/caregiver, helping the child see themselves as valuable, and increasing regulation skills. Problem behaviours can decrease as a result of this.

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an evidence-based treatment for a range of difficulties including anxiety.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for a range of difficulties including anxiety. With children, the focus in on learning about anxiety (for example), identifying and managing physical symptoms, and identifying and modifying anxious thinking patterns. The child is then supported to use their new skills to systematically change their anxious behaviours. An important part of CBT intervention for children with anxiety is also empowering parents/caregivers to support their child’s brave behaviour and cease actions that may be inadvertently reinforcing the child’s anxiety.

an evidence-based intervention designed to treat trauma. It helps the brain to process the trauma by integrating fragmented traumatic memories.

Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is an evidence-based intervention designed to treat trauma. It focuses on helping the brain process difficult information by integrating fragmented traumatic memories, which can significantly reduce the distress caused by the memories. EMDR also helps to integrate and process uncomfortable physical sensations associated with difficult memories. The therapy can be used from infancy with parental support as it does not rely on the child having to verbalise their experience.

For more information see:

Post- Natal adjustment support

Focuses on supporting parents who have had any difficulties with the pregnancy, birth and/or transition to parenting.

Post-Natal Adjustment Support

This therapeutic intervention focuses on supporting parents who have had any difficulties with the pregnancy, birth and/or transition to parenting. We deliver this service from a dyadic framework keeping the family at the centre.

Our Vision

Our vision at Nurture Family Services is to empower families to connect and grow in their relationships. We are passionate about empowering children and families to realise their full potential. We treat each family as unique and we take the time to get to know your family and together we make a plan to support you.

To ensure we deliver highly skilled and quality services we receive monthly supervision from a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.
The current Psychiatrist overseeing our service is Dr Denice Guy.

Our values:

  • Tailoring interventions to fit families, not making families fit the interventions
  • Using a range of evidence-based interventions
  • Treating all children and their families with respect and dignity
  • Communicating and collaborating with families, with the view that parents and caregivers are the experts on their children
  • Raising awareness of the importance of relationships in supporting positive change

Meet the Team


Nicki McNab

Nicki McNab

Child and Family Psychologist

I am a Registered Child and Family Psychologist and have completed both a Masters degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology through the University of Canterbury.

I have worked in Specialist Mental Health Services and community services for children and young people with learning disabilities and moderate to severe mental health needs. I have enjoyed a varied career providing assessment and intervention for children and teens with anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, eating disorders (including Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and post-traumatic stress.

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Natasha Nish

Natasha Nish

Infant/Child Mental Health Clinician

I am an infant and child mental health clinician with over 18 years experience. I have trained in a number of evidence-based interventions for infants and children that I utilise in my practice. I am a fully accredited Theraplay practitioner and am working towards being able to provide supervision in Theraplay. I am also an independent practitioner in Watch Wait and Wonder. I have completed Level 1 and 2 trainings in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and have nearly completed my practicum to obtain full registration in this therapy. I am also training in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).

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Sarah McLaren

Sarah McLaren

Occupational Therapist/Child and Family Mental Health Clinician

I am a Registered Occupational Therapist and have completed Postgraduate studies in both Mental Health and Addictions, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I am also trained in trauma informed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and provide clinical supervision to other Occupational Therapists. I am currently working towards becoming a Foundational Practitioner in Theraplay. I am a member of the Occupational Therapy New Zealand – Whakatata Ngangahau Aotearoa.

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Malena Penney

Malena Penney

Child and Family Psychologist

I am a mother of three children and Registered Child and Family Psychologist with a Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Psychology through the University of Canterbury.I have completed a Masters degree investigating the impact of Food Allergy and Coeliac Disease on Quality of Life in both children and parents.

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What to Expect

At Nurture Family Services we will provide a treatment plan tailored specifically to your family. The first part of your experience will be an assessment spanning two sessions, usually one with parents/caregivers and then one with your child. This will allow us to get to know your family and hear about your concerns. 

We value our team building relationships with each family that comes through our doors, which enables our therapists to provide different aspects of the treatment package. Following assessment, we will then work with your family to develop an intervention plan based on current research.

Contact Us

Ask a question or book an appointment below.

*Please note we only accept referrals for children aged 9 and under
*Please note we do not offer diagnostic assessments for ADHD, Autism etc

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Rosewarne House, 303 Selwyn St, Spreydon, Christchurch

020 401 18741