What is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy can help you at any stage of your relationship, regardless of marital status, age, race, faith, or sexual orientation.
Some forms of this therapy include marriage counseling, premarital counseling, and family therapy. It is typically a short-term form of therapy.
At DHW we primarily use Emotion focused therapy (EFT) which focuses on improving the attachment and bonding between you and your partner. Our psychologists helps you understand and change patterns that lead to feelings of relationship disconnection and distress.
Our psychologists employ an integrated approach to treatment, borrowing techniques from different forms of therapy when needed and depending on your needs.
Some of the strategies our psychologists might employ include:
Getting to know you: In this step we seek to create a sense of safety by getting to know you and your partner. We then work actively and collaboratively with you to help you understand yourself and your partner better.
Identifying and expressing feelings: Our psychologists help you and your partner identify feelings and put them into words to one another.
Exploring the past: Couples therapy often involves exploring your past, as that can help you better understand your fears, motivations, and behaviors in a relationship. It can also help address unresolved conflicts that affect your present.
Focusing on solutions: We will also work with you and your partner to resolve issues, correct negative behavior patterns, and focus on positive aspects of the relationship.
Teaching skills: Couples therapy can help teach you and your partner anger management, problem solving, and conflict resolution skills. The aim is to equip you and your partner with tools to help you deal with issues as they come up.
Structure of Couples Therapy
At DHW couples therapy sessions are 80 minutes long. This allows for adequate time for the psychologist to engage with both partners and for partners to have the opportunity to be heard and express their thoughts, feelings and concerns. To support privacy and ease of access couples therapy (and individual) sessions can be conducted face-to-face or online.
The first session is conducted with both partners. After this each individual will met with the psychologist alone for 50 minutes to help them understand any issues or personal history that is relevant to couples therapy but does not require the other partner's presence. The majority of subsequent sessions are conducted with both partners. Where required or requested individual sessions may be held to assist individuals through various tasks related to the couples therapy process. Therapy can continue for as long as you and your partner feel your need it or until you feel that you have met your relationship goals.
As with individual therapy, DHW psychologists take the extra time to provide both partners with an email summarising key points and collaboratively determined tasks to be attended to after each couple and individual session with the psychologist. This ensures that you have the key information and tips gained from your sessions to review in the future and to support long lasting change in your personal and relationship life.
Cost for Couples Therapy
Couples therapy is not subsidised by Australia's Better Access Scheme and therefore does not attract a Medicare rebate. To support accessibility and affordability DHW charges each partner the standard 80 minute out-of-pocket fee for joint sessions. For instance, to see a Provisional Psychologist couples therapy would cost $135 x 2 = $270. For a registered Psychologist the cost would be $145.35 x 2 = $290.70. For a Clinical Psychologist the cost would be $158.35 x 2 = $316.70. Because we bill each individual it may be possible for clients to claim their portion of the couples therapy session (e.g., $135 / $145.35 / $158.35) with their private health insurer*.
Individual sessions that you may have with the psychologist as part of your overall wellbeing journey are eligible for Medicare rebates with Registered or Clinical psychologists. For individual sessions, our full individual 50-minute session rates apply (minus any Medicare rebates applied).
*Please consult with your private health insurer to determine if you may be eligible for any rebates or coverage.