NFP Funded for Marriage Counselling
20 January 2015 at 10:30 am
The Federal Government has granted funding to Melbourne family services provider, Family Life, for a one-year pilot project to help save the relationships of 100 couples who participate.
Feedback from the couples and results from the evaluation, led by Professor Thea Brown from Monash University, will test the effectiveness of a new relationship reconciliation service.
One hundred Melbourne couples who identify their relationship as “stuck” or “in strife” are being invited to participate in the study, which aims to strengthen families and cooperative relationships and reduce separation, court appearances and family violence.
The government is funding the pilot, known as the ‘Relationships Review and Renew (RRR) project’, with approval confirmed by the Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison and its findings will be shared nationally.
The pilot offers individual and couple sessions with a specialist counsellor – all in confidence – starting with a two-hour session to determine whether couples are eligible to take part. Those found to be ineligible would be directed to an alternative service.
“We all understand that if our car is not working properly and doesn’t feel or sound right we need to get expert assistance to fix it. Why wouldn’t we do the same for our relationships?” Jo Cavanagh OAM, CEO of Family Life, said.
“We can’t outsource our relationship wellbeing to someone else. We need to put in the time ourselves to understand what is happening for both parties, and review and renew how we relate with each other as our lives and our needs change. We now understand the need to learn about parenting. The same is true for relationships.”
She said the Relationship Review and Renew pilot will help couples look at their relationships and decide with clarity and confidence about whether they wish to remain together, invest in further counselling to repair or renew their relationship, or whether an amicable separation or divorce can be achieved.
“It is designed for couples who are uncertain about their future; where one party wants to keep trying to work on the relationship, and the other is leaning strongly towards separation/divorce – but is not 100 per cent sure,” Cavanagh said.
“The sessions are brief, from one to five sessions, with couples deciding at the end of each session whether to return for the next session. Most importantly, children do much better when their parents take responsibility for their relationship and change from ambivalence or conflict to cooperation and happiness, whether together or separated.”
She said the research findings will assist the Government in determining policy to help couples by providing the right services.
“Family Life has been providing family support services for vulnerable people and children and at-risk families experiencing difficult life transitions since 1970. The independent community service organisation offers a range of services, support and connections with evidence of effectiveness and impact transparency,” she said.
The program comes as the new Labor Government in Victoria announced the terms of reference into a Royal Commission into Family Violence which is due to begin in February.
The Family Life program starts in January 2015 and runs for 12 months. It is available at Family Life’s service centres at Sandringham and Frankston. To sign up, couples can call Family Life on (03) 8599 5433 or visit www.familylife.com.au.