Ph. 0413 068 121

Keith Wray

Counselling

 

I Accept:

Cards Accepted

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What happens in the first session?

My intention in the first session is to bring relief to the tension that has usually built up within the relationship at the time people first present for counselling.  So most people find a sense of relief that they are doing something about the problem.  If the couple are attending together they get a sense that both have an interest in improving the situation; that they are really both on the same side.  They have a feeling that they have got things off their chest, that there is someone who has listened, is familiar with these sorts of problems and has a plan for how to proceed.  Mostly I can offer some immediate suggestions and an idea of how much further counselling will be required.

 

Do we need to bring anything?

I don't require people to bring anything to the first session.  I will take down some personal details and some background information at the beginning and then I will ask one person to explain what has brought them along at this time.  Some people like to have some notes so they remember details of their problems; that is OK, but is not essential in order for me to provide help in the first session.

 

Can I come to the session on my own?

It is ideal when both people attend the first session together but I understand that this is not always possible.  Quite frequently one person is unwilling to come to counselling; they believe there is nothing wrong or that the couple should be able to work it out on their own.  Sometimes a person feels unable to talk about the particular issue to their partner and wants to sound out an independent third party.  Under any of these circumstances I am happy to see one party to the relationship on their own and help them work out what they need to do.

 

How does couples counselling work?

The main work of couples counselling happens between sessions.  From the first session I would hope to provide suggestions about new behavioural responses to situations or new ways of thinking about things.  The sessions will be used to monitor progress with these suggestions and to make adjustments as necessary.  Additionally I will provide new strategies for dealing with problem situations, help rebuild emotional resources that have been lost along the way or find new resources as necessary, help develop insights through an examination of personality differences and different background experiences, and also look at any decisions that may need to be made by the couple at this point in the relationship.

 

How many sessions will be required?

In some cases a couple is ready to continue the work on their own after as few as two or three sessions, whereas in other cases a therapeutic companion for the relationship may prove to be useful on a long term basis. The average number of sessions for successful couples counselling is five or six.

 

How do I know it will work?

It is generally recognized among professionals in the field that couples counselling is very challenging and problematic and many clients report dissatisfaction with the experience.  As with any counselling or psychotherapy, research has shown that the most significant factor in determining outcome is the perceived quality of the relationship with the therapist.  For this reason choosing the right therapist is of paramount importance.  Specialist training in family and relationship therapy, years of experience in this field, and years of personal life experience are all factors which contribute to the effectiveness of a couples therapist.  I have chosen to specialize in couples counselling because understanding and developing intimate relationship has been a strong drive in my personal life and I have found working with other couples particularly satisfying.  I am committed to doing my best to achieve a successful outcome for the couple.

Having said this counselling does not always lead to couples staying together, although that is always my priority. Sometimes the change which is achieved is marginal due to entrenched personality factors and habits.  In almost all cases my clients report that they have found the experience helpful and the majority move on to happier and more satisfying lives.

 

What are your qualifications?

See About Keith A Wray

 

Can I talk about my problem first on the phone?

I usually spend a few minutes on the phone when people make their first enquiry to allow them to ask any further questions.  It is usually best to then make an appointment as soon as possible so I can listen to the problem in full detail.

 

How much does it cost?

My current fee is $170 for a standard 50 minute clinical session. (The Australian Psychological Society’s recommended fee for its members is $228).  Cash, cheque, EFTPOS, MasterCard or Visa are accepted for payment.

 

What medical rebates apply?

Health funds do not pay for couples counselling, as such, and rebates don’t therefore automatically apply.  However because I am a registered provider, if you are in extras cover you will most likely be able to claim a rebate under psychologist services from a private health fund for each session. Rebates vary in amounts between funds.

Similarly as a Medicare provider (2697243F) a rebate is available (minimum $84.80) if one of you is referred by a psychiatrist or your GP completes a Mental Health Care Plan (Items 2700, 2701, 2715, or 2717) referring one of you to me for psychological treatment.  If you have reached the Medicare safety net the rebate is approximately $149.

As a Medicare EasyClaim provider I can organize to have your Medicare rebate paid directly into your bank account if you pay with your debit card and bring your Medicare card with you to the session

 

Can I get after-hours appointments?

I normally work up to 9 pm three nights per week in order to accommodate people who need after-hours appointments.

 

What about same sex couples?

I have had plenty of experience working with same sex couples and find the principles of maintaining a successful, loving union are common to all committed relationships. So gay and lesbian couples are welcome.

 

What about confidentiality?

A policy of strict client confidentiality is adhered to by all psychologists.  The only unlikely exception is in the case of a subpoena of evidence by a court of law.  If I see clients individually as part of couples counselling (which occurs quite commonly) I do not guarantee confidentiality within the relationship.  I prefer to model openness over important issues.

 

What reading do you recommend?

Reading in this area is usually not as helpful as people hope it will be, and often leads to frustration as the sound, common sense advice offered in a book is so difficult to implement in practice.  To really work on a relationship you need the help of an independent, expert third party coaching from the sidelines as it were.  When people ask me to recommend a book I suggest they go as a couple (if possible) to a good bookstore such as Readings or Borders and browse the appropriate section among the Self Help books and have a good look inside some of the books or, similarly, browse the appropriate book titles on-line at Amazon.com.  In this way you will usually find the right book for you. 

Some of the books which most accurately reflect my approach to working with couples are:

The section on Love in The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition by Ph.D. Harville Hendrix Ph.D

Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver

A couple of books that clients keep telling me have been useful to them are:

Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Ph.. Gray

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

 


Do you have any simple recommendations for a relationship in trouble?

 To correct a problem relationship is in fact very simple, but not easy!  Habits of taking each other for granted and treating each other in ways which they would never generally treat anybody else have to be overcome.  The underlying principle of successful couples counselling is to help people get back in touch with the love which existed in the relationship and has somehow got lost along the way.  Helping a couple to treat each other with just normal kindness and respect.  Simple, but not easy!

 

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