Frequently asked questions

Discover answers to our frequently asked questions.

We are able to provide language interpreters, including interpreters for the deaf community.

Prior to your first appointment with us, you will receive a questionnaire for each family member to fill in. This helps everyone think about what they would like to discuss at your session.

At the start of your session your therapist/s will usually ask each person what they would like to achieve from it. As you explore the issues during the session, everyone will be given the opportunity to have their say. With your hopes for the session in mind, your therapist/s will also share their ideas about what might help.

Mostly, your first session ends with a date being set for the therapist to call each family member individually. During that call, your therapist will check in about the session you had and work out what you would like to happen next e.g. make an appointment for a further session, one session was sufficient.

Sessions are approximately 60–90 minutes and are scheduled Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Fifty percent of families only attend for 1- 2 sessions. On average, families attend between one and six sessions, with sessions being spaced 2- 4 weeks apart depending on what the family requires.

Families and their therapist(s) together decide how often to schedule appointments.

Families are generally seen by one or two qualified family therapists, depending on the number of family members attending and the nature of their concerns.

Families coming through our Masters Program Clinic are seen by an experienced professional undertaking specialised postgraduate training in family therapy.

We encourage all relevant family members to attend the first appointment together. We generally like to meet all family members within a household. We encourage children to participate and make the sessions as interesting and fun for them as we can. Support workers, extended family and other people who are important to you can be involved with your agreement. The therapist/s will talk with you about who attends and when.

Some sessions may be offered to individual family members alone or to groups of family members, such as two parents or a group of siblings.

If a family member does not want to attend, we will respect their decision. Their point of view is valued and they will always be welcome in future sessions providing it is safe for them and for others.

Our intake team will talk with you before an appointment to avoid putting anyone in a situation where they feel physically or emotionally unsafe. If appropriate, separate sessions may be suggested by the therapist(s)

We are committed to maintaining each family member’s privacy and confidentiality.

Before your first session, you will be asked to fill in a registration form. This is a requirement of our funding bodies - the Victorian Department of Health, Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Regions Division. Only the name, address and date of birth of one of your family members will be forwarded to the appropriate government department as a way of registering your family’s attendance. Only this information may be accessed by departmental workers as required.

All information on the form will be available to your family therapist(s).

If you choose to do so, your family can release us in writing to communicate with other professional agencies in order to coordinate our efforts to support you. Your family’s situation will not be discussed outside The Bouverie Centre without your expressed written permission unless:

  • we believe that someone is at risk of harm
  • our records are subpoenaed by court. Fortunately this rarely happens.

If we are required to communicate information about you or your family to another agency for one of the above reasons, we will always do our best to consult with you about this.

All personal information recorded about your family will be maintained with the highest regard for its security, in accordance with several laws, standards and protocols. Please speak to your therapist or to our Clinical Program Manager if you have any further queries about our policies for safeguarding family records.

Family members may access the information that you provided on the registration form, and your therapist’s notes pertaining to the sessions you attended can be viewed in the presence of a therapist from The Bouverie Centre. Permission to release a therapist’s notes can only be given if all family members who attended sessions give written permission. Clients seeking further access can apply in writing to us under the Freedom of Information Act.

We recognise that family therapy can sometimes be challenging and are committed to providing the best care and service possible. We welcome feedback about your experience with us.

If you are not satisfied with our service, and are not able to resolve the matter directly with your therapist, please contact us. Feedback or concerns regarding the service you are receiving can also be made directly to the worker in the first instance, or to the Clinical Program Manager. Email Julie Beauchamp, or call (03) 8481 4800.

If you remain dissatisfied with our response, you may contact the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC). The HCC responds to complaints about health services and the handling of health information in Victoria. Their service is free, confidential and impartial. To lodge a complaint with the HCC: fill out a complaint form online on the HCC website or Phone 1300 582 113 between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, to discuss your complaint.

Additionally, you can visit the Family Therapy page for more information on who we see and how to make an appointment.