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RELATIONSHIP REVIEW AND RENEW: FINDINGS FROM THE PILOT PROGRAM Alicia McCoy, General Manager, Research and Impact Professor Thea Brown, Monash University Coni Forcey, Team Leader, Family and Relationship Services Darelle Cassidy, Research and Evaluation Coordinator


FAMILY LIFE o For-purpose community organisation founded in 1970 o Deliver a diverse range of services to families, children and young people o Family and Relationship Services o Family Dispute Resolution o Children’s Contact Service and Parenting Order Program o Family support o Family violence services o Community development o Backbone organisation for a collective impact initiative o Research, Outcome Measurement and Evaluation Unit


BACKGROUND TO THE PILOT o Relationship Review and Renew (RRR) – based on Dr William Doherty’s discernment counselling model in the US and adapted by Family Life for the Australian context o Developed and a pilot delivered from late 2014 to early 2016 at the request of the Department of Social Services and then Minister Kevin Andrews o RRR Advisory Committee: CSOs, DSS, AGD, AIFS o Evaluated by Emeritus Professor Thea Brown (Monash University) in partnership with the Family Life ROME (Research, Outcome Measurement and Evaluation) Unit


PROGRAM DESIGN Path 1: Stay the course. Stay together and do not seek further assistance. Path 2: Separate or divorce and do not seek further assistance. Path 3: Separate or divorce and undertake individual counselling. Path 4: Stay together and undertake couples counselling. There is a demarcation between RRR ending and couples counselling commencing.


EVALUATION OF THE PILOT o Mixed-method evaluation o Pre questionnaire completed by each member of the couple (n = 174) o Post-questionnaire completed by each member of the couple (n = 112) o Telephone interviews with 10% of clients at various stages of program completion and post completion (n=20) o Focus group with counsellors delivering the RRR program o Final report completed in April 2016


REACH OF THE PILOT Referrals:

30% Family Life 16% Word of mouth 8% Newspaper 7% Another FRC 5% GP 4% Another service


OUTCOMES REDUCED COUPLE CONFLICT

78% of clients

reported that they did not need help identifying any more / different issues in RRR


OUTCOMES IMPROVED RELATIONSHIP KNOWLEDGE “It made me realise how to make staying in the relationship work. Still a work in progress” “It didn’t help our relationship but it did help me better understand how relationships work and how to make relationships more successful in the future”


OUTCOMES IMPROVED COMMUNICATION SKILLS JT and Laura • Married with one child • Husband had been unfaithful • Health issues • Poor communication

“It helped me understand my wife/partner at a communication level, her cultural views, and I learned to listen to her words”


OUTCOMES MUTUALLY AGREED FUTURE PATHWAY

“It helped us to conclude we do want to stay together and hope [was] given that there are tools to help us resolve some of our differences” “Separation was my worst fear but I realise it’s best for the children and that I need to put them first”


OUTCOMES MUTUALLY AGREED FUTURE PATHWAY Further help:

o 68% relationship counselling o 57% individual counselling o 7% FDR o 6% Legal services

“We were considering breaking up before the program but are now looking at repairing our relationship and staying together”


WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? US RESEARCH INSIGHT After program

Stay together and seek help Pathway to separation or divorce Stay together with no further action

60%

23%

17%

Follow-up

?

?

?

After program Follow-up (2 years)

Stay together and seek help Pathway to separation or divorce Stay together with no further action

45% divorced/ing 47%

42% reconciled/ing 13% on hold 90% divorced/ing

41%

2% reconciled/ing 8% on hold 33% divorced/ing

12%

17% reconciled/ing 50% on hold


SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS Similar to the US research, the findings that: o 9% of individuals decided to separate and not seek further help; o 60% of individuals decided to stay in their relationship and seek further help; and o Over ¾ of couples attended 4 or the maximum 5 sessions indicates that for many couples, there was deep discernment counselling occurring, not just ‘closure counselling’ or an ‘assessment process’ prior to couples counselling. The RRR pilot has shown promising findings that suggest discernment counselling has an important place in Family Relationship Centres and more broadly in family and relationship services in Australia


THANK YOU

Alicia McCoy General Manager Research and Impact amccoy@familylife.com.au (03) 8599 5433 familylife.com.au


Frsa conference 2016 - RRR Presentation