Your extras could support your effort to make a relationship work
It's a sad fact that about one-third of marriages end in separation, to say nothing of how many unmarried partners split up because of issues in their relationship. While it may seem surprising that talking it out with an expert can actually help, an outside source trained in conflict resolution and interpersonal relationships can both assist you in getting to the core of what's bothering you and help you resolve it yourself.
So what's involved and, more importantly, how much is it going to cost?
What is couples counselling?
Couples counselling is therapy designed to help out two people who are struggling with their relationship. Couples counselling aims to:
- Help the couple understand how they're feeling about their relationship
- Remind them what brought them together in the first place
- Figure out their relationship goals and what they want from it
- Determine what contributions each member makes to the relationship
- Decide what they're prepared to do to make their relationship work
In some cases, the couple may be seeking a divorce or separation, in which case the counselling is designed to help move forward in a healthy way.
How much is couples counselling?
The price of a session depends on what sort of service you're seeking out, but the average hourly rate for sessions in Australia ranges from $75-$150. For example, Relationships Australia offers online counselling from $120/hr. If you're seeing a qualified psychologist, they could charge anywhere from $100/hr to $200/hr. The cost of counselling with a not-for-profit organisation like LifeWorks is scaled depending on your annual household income.
How many sessions you end up needing depends on the couple involved, but you might expect a standard set of 10 sessions to cost up to $1,000-$1,200 on average, without any cover.
Can you get free couples counselling?
Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. While mental health plans do exist under Medicare to assist people with mental health issues in seeking professional assistance, these are restricted to individuals.
Couples counselling, while inarguably a very difficult and mentally taxing process to go through, doesn't fall under this definition and won't be covered by a mental health plan. That said, there are a few limited situations where Medicare may be applicable – such as when one partner suffers from a condition like bipolar or depression and couples counselling may help to address it directly.
Does private health insurance cover counselling?
The answer is usually yes, depending on what level of insurance cover you have. Most funds will provide for psychological, psychiatric and counselling services for both individuals and families (including couples) as part of a mid- or high-level policy. Some funds will include psychology cover as an optional extra you can purchase. The amount you can claim each year and the maximum amount covered per session will vary from fund to fund.
It's important to always call up your provider first and ensure that your couples counselling sessions will be covered before you sign up so you don't get stuck with a surprise bill.
|Provider||Policy||Limit & Wait period||Price per month||Apply|
|lifestyle||$250 (no wait period)||$51.00||Go to site|
|Core & wellbeing||$300 (2 months)||$51.07||Go to site|
|Vital Extras||$250 (2 months)||$56.35||Go to site|
*Price based on a single policy in NSW, always check for combined limits
What to expect in a couples counselling session
It can be daunting to sign up to a group counselling session like this, but remember the entire point is to provide you with a comfortable and safe environment where you can navigate your relationship. According to Relationships Australia, here's what you might expect from your first session:
- Establishing a basic working relationship and trust between you and your partner
- Answering a variety of questions to figure out what's causing you and your partner concern
- Answering a variety of questions to sort out what some of the underlying issues in your relationship might be
- Establishing goals for what you hope to get out of counselling and what you hope to achieve in future session