Relationships Australia 2016 - 2017 Annual Report 1 - Page 57

Family and Relationship Counselling Services This year 3849 people attended family and relationship counselling services. From our client snapshot survey we learnt that 98% were satisfied with the service provided. Mark and Helen’s Story After more than 50 years of marriage, Mark and Helen* found themselves living apart; a source of great sadness for them both. Mark and Helen had been married since their early 20s; in this time they had raised three children, completed their education, developed their careers and travelled extensively. As they approached retirement, unresolved anxieties and differences in their relationship became more visible. This seemed more pronounced for Helen, which left Mark trying to both understand what was happening for her and manage his own fears of an uncertain future. Helen initiated counselling and they attended 18 sessions, separately and together. Through counselling, Helen developed a better understanding of Mark’s anxiety and is now able to speak to him about it more empathetically. Helen was able to talk openly to Mark about events in her life that had left her feeling sad or angry and make some peace with the past. Mark still experiences anxiety but has a far better understanding of it and has learned valuable techniques for managing it. 12 months later, Mark and Helen both say they found their counselling sessions to be a positive experience that has assisted them to better communicate about things that matter. Both agree the process was hard work but they felt very supported by their practitioner. The couple, now living their retirement in Queensland, say that they have experienced many life challenges in the intervening period but are approaching them together. *Names have been changed Individual, Family and Community Wellbeing | Relationships Australia SA Annual Report 2016 -2017 53