At Youth Encounter, our distinctive approach combines activity-based therapy and counseling to offer support tailored to young individuals who may not readily engage in traditional counseling methods. We believe in utilizing activities as a means to connect and support youth, allowing them to engage more effectively in their therapeutic journey.
Our strategic outcome focus is taking young people from low self-worth to a more secure identity (mauri) by;
Increasing self-worth through strengthening mana
More meaningful relationships with whanau through understanding their whakapapa
Engaged in values-based learning (mātauranga) for a healthier connection with self
Developing social skills to grow healthy relationships (hononga)
Employing a professional and clinical approach, we specialize in working with young people facing challenges such as mental health issues, trauma, neurodiversity, and more—barriers that hinder them from realizing their potential in life. Our unique method integrates learning to ride a dirt bike or surf the waves with cognitive-behavioral and narrative therapy modalities, providing a holistic and effective approach to their well-being journey.
Youth Encounter's therapy programme is delivered through the following formats;
activity-based 1-1 2hr sessions x8 weekly
activity-based groups 3-4hr sessions x8 weekly
counselling 1hr sessions per booking
How to engage!
Make a referral (see button below) - we will assess needs and suitability and contact you
We will create a client plan for you to authorise and complete parent/caregiver consent
We will then engage with young person to deliver client plan
Dirt Bike Therapy Background
Youth Encounter’s Dirt Bike Therapy is where adrenaline meets counselling, and transformation takes flight. Our groundbreaking Dirt Bike Therapy program is not just a ride; it's a journey crafted by the visionary daredevil, 'Scary' Mary Perkins (now Wanhill and CEO at Youth Encounter). As a world record holder and the first female freestyle motocross rider with the renowned Crusty Demons of Dirt, Mary's passion transcended the thrill of stunts to a profound understanding of the human psyche. After a career-ending injury redirected her path, Mary immersed herself in counseling and psychology, forging a unique fusion of dirt bike skills and therapeutic insights.
This innovative program, the world's first of its kind, harnesses the power of dirt biking to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy and clinical counseling. Drawing inspiration from the Te Wha Tapa Wha holistic approach, our Dirt Bike Therapy addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of well-being. The dynamic nature of motocross serves as more than just an adrenaline rush; it becomes a tool for trauma release, resilience building, and empowerment.
For over 14 years, Youth Encounter has impacted thousands of young lives, helping them discover their God-given potential and encouraging them to "Live Life Wide Open." Join us in this unprecedented journey of healing and growth. Welcome to a new era of therapeutic adventure – at Youth Encounter.
“I have seen first hand and continue to see teenagers on a journey to becoming responsible leaders from what would otherwise have been a journey towards criminal offending and self-harm. I have also seen plenty of ‘good kids’ benefit from Mary’s training. They grow in confidence, make friends, learn motor bike skills and learn leadership skills which stands them in good stead to be leaders in their communities.”
- Duncan Jeffery | Senior Constable | Tauranga Police
"Through Youth Encounter’s therapy, my maturity and humility has grown. My attitude has changed and I am more tolerant, showing more respect. It made me notice what I have to do to get to my goal and its made me be a better person." - Tinaya | Participant
"Encounter Therapy has made me look at life and my decisions from a different point of view. I can now see that I can make choices, I don’t have to follow the expectations of my family. I see that it is my choices which have lead me to here and I can see where I want to be and I now want to make the choices to get there!" - Summer | Participant