Accessibility and Language
What accessibility options do you offer for those with disability?
We offer a wide range of accessibility options for people with disabilities to ensure our services are inclusive. These can range from, but are not limited to:
- Online or phone delivery
- Wheelchair access at most of our centres
- Staff visits at alternate locations
- Collaboration with other service providers.
Can I bring my own interpreter with me?
No – to respect your privacy and confidentiality, Relationships Australia NSW will provide you with an interpreter at no additional cost.
Do you offer interpreters at all your centres?
Yes – we provide interpreters at all of our centres, in a range of different languages. Please let us know if you require one when booking your appointment.
Are your services inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people and couples?
Yes – Relationships Australia NSW has a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy, and part of this strategy is ensuring we provide valuable services to the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re continually working to be as inclusive as possible. We’re proud members of Pride in Health and Wellbeing, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Diversity Council of Australia and ACON’s Welcome Here initiative, and we draw on their experience and expertise.
Can I make or cancel an appointment on behalf of my partner, spouse, family, or friend?
No – we take the privacy and security of all our clients very seriously, so we’re unable to discuss, change or cancel appointments that aren’t made by you. We can only discuss or change booking details directly with the person who has made the booking.
Can I see someone online, rather than face-to-face?
Yes – all of our Counselling services are available online, as well as many of our Group Workshops, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and mediation sessions.
How do I cancel an appointment?
To cancel your session, please give us more than two full business days’ notice. No cancellation fee will apply in this case, and this will also allow us to open the session to someone else on the waiting list. If we are notified within less than 48 hours of your appointment, 50% of the total session fee will be charged. If you don’t show up to your appointment, 100% of your session fee will be charged.
Careers and Professional Training
What are the enrolment prerequisites for your Graduate Diploma programs?
Candidates for the CHC81115 Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution need to meet one of the following requirements;
- Undergraduate degree or higher qualification in psychology, social work, law, conflict management, dispute resolution, family law mediation or equivalent
- Accreditation under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS)
- Satisfactory completion of the mediation skill set from the Community Services Training Package (CHC)
- Relevant work experience. This is likely to be in a dispute resolution environment in a position requiring self-directed application of knowledge, exercise of independent judgement and decision-making, and relevant technical skills.
- An undergraduate degree or higher qualification in counselling, psychology, social work, social science, or equivalent
- A Diploma of Counselling from the CHC Community Services Training Package or equivalent
- Ability to provide documented evidence of previous experience in a family counselling environment in a job role involving self-directed application of knowledge with substantial depth in some areas, exercise of independent judgement and decision-making, and a range of technical and other skills.
How do I enrol to study with Relationships Australia NSW?
Relationships Australia NSW runs a Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution and Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling in collaboration with Relationships Australia Victoria. Undertaking them will provide you with a nationally accredited qualification so you can take the next step in your career. Find out more about the courses, register your interest or enrol here:
Do you provide internships or student placement opportunities?
We currently offer work placements to students enrolled in our accredited qualification courses (Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling, and our Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution) delivered in partnership with Relationships Australia Victoria. Additionally, we offer work placement to individuals enrolled in courses with our partner organisations. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any internships or student placement opportunities for students enrolled in study with external organisations.
Do you offer volunteering opportunities?
No – unfortunately we are currently unable to offer any volunteering opportunities.
How can I join Relationships Australia NSW?
We recommend visiting our Careers page to find out what job opportunities are currently available. If you can’t see the perfect role for you right now, register your interest and we’ll be in touch if something suitable comes up.
Do you provide mental health assessments?
We don’t provide mental health assessments or diagnoses for any mental illnesses. However, this is something that most GPs can provide, so we encourage you to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider. They may then refer you to one of our services for further support. Find out more about mental health assessments here.
Do I need a referral from a GP or other healthcare professional to see a counsellor?
No – while we welcome referrals from healthcare professionals and GPs for many of our services, a referral for counselling isn’t required.
Do you provide counselling services for children?
Can you talk to my partner to help convince them to come to counselling?
To respect the privacy of all of our clients, we are unable to call your partner directly to request that they attend counselling. If they’re looking for further information, more clarity, or want to discuss their concerns about coming to counselling, they are more than welcome to call us directly. We’ll be happy to speak to them confidentially and answer any questions they have.
Do I get the same counsellor every time?
Yes – after your first session with a particular counsellor, you’ll continue to see the same counsellor for your follow-up sessions as well.
Can I speak with a counsellor prior to the session to check if they are a good fit?
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to speak with your counsellor prior to the sessions, due to their schedules. However, our client services team can help you with your enquiries, and make notes for your counsellor to refer to during your first appointment.
Can I request a specific counsellor for my sessions?
Yes, we will do our best to accommodate your request to meet with the counsellor of your choice. However, we can’t always guarantee you will see your preferred counsellor, as they may already be booked out and unable to accept new bookings.
Can I request a counsellor with specialist training. E.g., trauma-informed practice?
During the Client Intake process, our team will ask you specific questions to help connect you with programs or services that we believe will be best for your situation. Our counsellors have experience and ongoing training in a variety of counselling models and methods, and will work with you to determine the best approach for your particular needs.
What qualifications do your counsellors have?
Our counsellors have a diverse range of skills, qualifications, and relevant industry training. While professional backgrounds often range from psychology to social or casework, all of our counsellors need to complete a Diploma of Counselling before working with us.
Is counselling right for me?
Sometimes we all need some extra support and guidance to help find ways to move forward. Counselling can offer you practical tools and strategies to help you overcome challenges and look at things from a different perspective. Our counselling services are welcoming, non-judgemental and suitable for individuals, couples, and families. If you are in crisis, experiencing domestic or family violence, or have made the decision to separate, we have additional services that we can offer to give you the best support.
Family Dispute Resolution (Mediation)
What happens if we come to an agreement?
If both parties reach an agreement during Family Dispute Resolution, this can be recorded as a Parenting Agreement. Please note that this is not a legally enforceable document. During your sessions, you may also come to agreements about property and financial decisions. If you do wish to make your agreements about your parenting, property and financial arrangements legally binding, you can apply to the Family Court to have your agreement made into a Consent Order.
What if we can’t resolve our issues during mediation?
If issues can’t be resolved, your Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner will issue you with a Section 60I certificate. This shows that a genuine effort to resolve your dispute through Family Dispute Resolution has been attempted. If you later decide to apply to the Family law court for parenting orders, the Court requires that a copy of the Section 60I certificate be filed with your Court Application.
Can I request a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner of a specific gender or ethnicity?
If you have specific requests for cultural or religious reasons, please let us know when you enquire, and we can work with you to try and accommodate your needs. We recognise people’s backgrounds, values, family circumstances and connections are diverse, and we work with people from all walks of life. We have extensive experience working with a wide range of families including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We can also provide an interpreter at your sessions if necessary, at no extra cost to you.
My ex-partner won’t adhere to the Parenting Agreement – what can I do?
If an established Parenting Agreement is not being met or is no longer working, it may be suitable for further mediation sessions to be organised. If you need further support, we encourage you to seek legal advice.
Can you help with a Parenting Plan or Property Settlement?
We can help separating partners to reach both parenting and property agreements and can put these into writing. Please note, however that these written agreements won’t be legally binding. If you do want to make these agreements legally binding, we encourage you to seek legal advice.
Is Family Dispute Resolution right for me?
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a process for separating partners in Australia. It offers an alternative to family court or legal proceedings, and is a structured process that helps individual parties express their thoughts and needs to one another. All parents separating in Australia are required to attempt to resolve their parenting disputes in FDR (the Family Relationship Centres are one place that offer FDR services) before approaching the court. If Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) is suitable, we can help with parenting and property arrangements. If we determine that mediation is not suitable for you and your family, we can provide you with information about the next steps. FDR may not always be the right process for all separating partners. Each person meets with their assigned FDR Practitioner individually to discuss their circumstances and identify whether there are any reasons why FDR may or may not work for them at that time.
We’ve decided to separate – what next?
Once you’ve made the decision to separate, it can be confusing and overwhelming to know what to do next. We welcome you to contact Relationships Australia NSW to help guide you through this process, and put you in contact with the services that you may need. We can help you determine the approach that’s most suitable for your unique situation. We also encourage all clients to seek their own legal advice.
What if the other party does not respond or refuses to participate?
If you are separating and you have children, and your partner refuses or fails to participate in the FDR process, then our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner may issue you with a 60i certificate. This then enables you to apply to the Court for parenting orders. If you are separating and do not have children, and your case involves only property or financial matters, we recommend that you seek legal advice if the other party does not wish to participate in FDR.
What happens in the first Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) session?
The first session with your FDR Practitioner is called a Pre-mediation assessment. This is an individual session between yourself and your assigned practitioner for 1.5 hours. The purpose of this session is to determine whether Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is appropriate for your situation, and whether it is likely to achieve the outcomes each party want. We’ll consider the parties involved, the issues you present, and the proposed timing of FDR.
Can I bring a support person (such as a lawyer, relative, or new partner) with me to mediation sessions?
In some cases it can be agreed by both the FDR Practitioner (mediator) and the other party for other people to be present during mediation sessions including lawyers or support persons, however, this needs to be discussed and negotiated ahead of time. Please talk to your Family Advisor or FDR Practitioner if you would like to consider these options.
My ex-partner was abusive – how can you help in this situation?
After you make an enquiry about mediation, our staff will conduct a screening process. This is to find out more about you, your ex-partner, and how safe your situation is. If mediation isn’t suitable or safe for you, we can provide you with a Section 60I certificate. We can also refer you to other services that can provide you with support, such as counselling, behaviour change programs, and domestic violence support groups.
Family Court Ordered Programs
What happens if I am unable to attend a session or an appointment?
To receive a certificate of attendance, participants must attend 80% of the group workshop or program. If you’re unable to make a session for reasons outside your control, please contact us.
Am I able to sign up to multiple programs?
Yes – you can sign up to as many programs as you would like to attend.
What programs are referred by Family Court orders?
Are counsellors able to write court reports?
All customer information is protected under the Family Law Act. Our counsellors will only write court reports if they have been subpoenaed, or are requested to provide documentation for our Children’s Contact Service.
What happens if I am unable to attend one of the workshop’s sessions?
If you’re unable to attend a session, please contact our client services team by calling 1300 364 277 or emailing us, and we will let your Group Leaders know. Please note – for those who’ve been court-ordered to attend one of our group programs (such as our Men’s Behaviour Change program), participants must attend at least 80% of the workshop’s scheduled sessions in order to receive a statement of attendance.
Are group workshops right for me?
Our group workshops are perfect for those looking to build their relationship skills in a safe, supportive and collaborative group environment, led by our expert facilitators. We cover a huge range of topics, from parenting techniques to developing mental wellbeing practices – and offer groups throughout the year, both online and face-to-face.
Healthcare and Casework Referrals
How do I refer a patient or client to Relationships Australia NSW’s services or programs?
Please get in touch with us to make a referral. We always welcome warm referrals as we find they produce higher levels of engagement and more successful outcomes for our clients and customers. We’re happy to organise joint meetings or phone calls for both parties to discuss our programs and services.
What programs or services am I able to refer a patient or client to?
All of our services, group workshops and counselling services are available for referral.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
How quickly can our staff access counselling after signing up for your services?
We will work to get your staff linked up with counsellor as soon as possible. For flexibility, ease and convenience, we primarily offer support online via video call, with appointments secured generally within three to four days. This allows us to provide your team the support they need, when they need it. Telephone and face-to-face sessions are also available if required or preferred.
What is the pricing structure of your EAP?
Our fee consists of an annual management charge which links you to our service, and employee sessions are charged on an hourly basis as they are utilised. Counselling is our core business which enables us to offer a highly competitive service and fees.
Payment and Fees
What is a sliding scale and how does it work?
Many of our services operate on a sliding fee scale. This is a payment model adjusted to an individual’s income. Those on lower incomes will pay a lower price, while those in higher income brackets will pay a slightly higher price. Our aim is for everyone who needs our services, to be able to access them.
How much do your services cost?
The cost of each services varies. Fees depend on the program, the number of sessions you attend, and your individual income. For most services, we use a sliding scale to calculate the right fees for your circumstances. Some services are free for everyone, while others are free for certain users. You can calculate the amount you’ll pay by visiting the specific page that relates to the service or workshop you’re interested in. We pride ourselves on making our services accessible and fees can be waived in cases of financial hardship.
Can I get a refund?
To receive a refund for a cancelled appointment, please refer to our cancellation policy. If you have been unhappy with a service that you’ve attended, we want to hear from you. Please fill out our Feedback and Complaints Form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Is it possible to go on a payment plan?
Yes – we can work with you to arrange this. Please let us know of your interest in this, at the time of enquiry.
When is payment required?
Payment for your first session is required upfront, prior to your appointment. We can take payment over the phone at the time of booking.
Can I claim a rebate on fees from Medicare or my private health insurance?
No – unfortunately our sessions can’t be claimed on private healthcare insurance rebates, nor do Medicare rebates apply. However, our services are affordably priced, and operate on a sliding scale according to your income level. Some services are also provided free of charge.
Can I use my Concession Card?
Yes – many of our services are free for Concession Card holders.
Can I use my mental health care plan for your services?
Unfortunately, as our services are already government-funded and heavily subsidised, we don’t accept mental health care plans for any of our services.