5I Relationship breakdown and re-partnering


Dr Riyad Rahimullah,
Relationships Australia Queensland
Friday 23 November 23 2018

Time: 9:00am – 9:30am

Room: Kuranda Ballroom

5I Relationship breakdown and re-partnering

Leave no one in need of counselling behind: Potential factors preventing the initiation of counselling



Nearly half of Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life. Seeing a counsellor has various benefits that can greatly help a person in need. However, deciding to attend counselling is not straightforward. A myriad of factors can influence whether someone in need of help actually reaches out and attends counselling. This presentation discusses the findings of two studies that reveal the mentality of people contemplating engaging in counselling focusing on factors and attitudes that could impede their engagement. The first study was based on 716 individuals who visited Relationships Australia’s main webpage and were thinking about commencing family or relationships counselling. Their responses illustrate key reasons amongst potential clients that might hinder them from actually seeking help. It firstly measured barriers to seeking help including stressors and obstacles, service-related concerns, perceived relevance of service, and perceived alliance problems with the counsellor. It also measured stigma towards seeking help, motivation behind help-seeking (from Deci and Ryan’s Theory of Self-Determination), confidence in counselling, and problem severity. This presentation will also be augmented by findings from a second, more in-depth survey completed by a sub-sample of 151 individuals participating in the first study. Aside from measuring the aforementioned factors in greater depth, this study also measured psychological distress, social support, different indicators of readiness to seek help, and open-ended responses that expand on the barriers potential clients perceive when contemplating counselling. Based on this sub-sample, risk factors that may impede individuals from not initiating counselling were identifiable as well. Despite the prevalence of factors that might impede individuals from seeking help, it is reassuring that many of these impediments can be addressed by organisations and in turn maximise transference from contemplating counselling to engaging in counselling. Recommendations will be made to ‘leave no one in need of counselling behind’.

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Dr Riyad Rahimullah is the Senior Research Officer at Relationship Australia Queensland. Riyad’s research focuses on investigating barriers to treatment, treatment attrition and RAQ’s family mediation service