What is family and couples therapy?
During the first session, families and couples often describe feeling “stuck” in a repetitive argument or issue and despite their ongoing efforts to address the problem, have found it difficult to move forwards. In family and couples therapy, we help couples and families talk safely about these “stuck” patterns, to share the difficult thoughts and emotions behind them, to understand each other’s experiences and views, understand and appreciate each other’s needs, build on individual and family strengths and find ways to make useful and lasting changes. Put very simply, it helps repair and strengthen important relationships through healing conversations and this can have profound impact on individuals, couples and families.
What can family and couples therapy help with?
Family and couples therapy is effective in addressing all sorts of problems, such as:
• Transitioning to parenthood
• Infancy concerns (sleep, feeding and attachment problems)
• Childhood emotional problems
• Childhood behavioural problems
• Childhood somatic and physical health problems
• Child abuse and neglect
• Adolescent emotional problems
• Adolescent substance abuse
• Adolescent mental health
• Couple relationship distress
• Blended families
• Family conflict and tense relationships
• Grief and loss
• Recovery from trauma
• Adult mental health (anxiety, depression, mood disorders)
• Adult acquired brain injuries and chronic physical illness
• Adult substance misuse
Do I need a referral to access family or couples therapy?
No referral is needed. You can just call our support team and book an appointment.
Who can come?
Ideally, we would like to involve each person in the couple or family. Sometimes couples and families want to come in together for the first session, sometimes it can better to stage who comes to sessions depending on the situation.
For families with children or adolescents, we will have the first session with the parent/s to understand the nature and onset of the problems and gather family background information, and co-develop a plan for future work from there.
We usually recommend couples come in together for the first session. However, if there has been any recent or historical family violence or abuse in the relationship (either physical, emotional, psychological, sexual abuse and/or other controlling behaviours), please let us know when you call and our family and couples therapist will call you to decide on next steps.
If you are not sure who should come to your first session, you can always ask our family and couples therapist to give you a call before your appointment to decide on who should come.
How long do the sessions go for?
The sessions usually go for 50 minutes. We also offer 90-minute sessions and this is usually recommended for families where four or more people may be joining the session. This allows us to ensure each family member gets a chance to participate and share their perspective.
How many sessions will we need?
It depends! Some couples and families might only need a couple of sessions, and others may need more sessions over a longer period. After the first couple of sessions, we will have a better understanding of what you and your family/partner might need and we can discuss this together. However, it is completely up to you if want to come back for more sessions.
Is family and couples therapy covered by Medicare? How much does it cost?
Unfortunately, family therapy and couples counselling are not covered by Medicare at this time.
The fee for a 50-minute session is $210 and a 90-minute session is $300. An additional cost applies for appointments outside normal business hours.
Can we have individual sessions as well?
Yes. Individual sessions can be very helpful within the couple and family therapy process depending on the situation. It gives you a safe and private space to explore what might be happening for you and your relationships. During the therapeutic process, the therapist may suggest an individual session if they think it might be helpful, but of course, it is completely up to you.
Individual sessions with a family and couples therapist can also be good for people who are not engaged in family or relationship therapy. It gives you space to explore your relationships, consider other perspectives and make changes to improve your relationships and your life.