Relationship Matters Informed Consent:
Counselling is most often a voluntary process, and a client has the right to terminate the counselling process at any time.
Confidentiality is assured in most circumstances, the exceptions being where there is a disclosed or anticipated risk of harm to self, harm to others, a legal forensic mandate to disclose case notes or the identification of an external threat to the client.
All of these exceptions would first be raised with a client prior to external disclosure.
If for any reason a client feels that they have grounds for a complaint as a result of the counselling service received, the client may first raise the issue of concern with the counsellor, and if the issue is not resolved to the clients' satisfaction, clients may contact the Health & Disability Advocacy Service which is a nationwide free independent service for clients of allied health service delivery, for resolution assistance.
Payment for all counselling services is required in advance of the day of the service being provided unless the session is invoiced to a corporate entity, the payment for which is due within 24 hours of the counselling session occurring.
Counselling, Employer Workplace Assistance (EWA), Coaching, and Mediation fees are $120.00 inc. GST per hour (or part thereof) for Zoom appointments, and $140.00 inc. GST per hour (or part thereof) for Face-to-face office appointments.
Appointments that are cancelled, postponed, or missed by the client will be charged at the discretion of the Practice - there are no exceptions to this policy. Unpaid fees are automatically referred to Baycorp for collection after one month and include collection costs.
From time to time, unsolicited client feedback may be posted to the Relationship Matters website, and clients may receive (with their consent) contact post-service termination to inquire about service outcome progress or to provide information updates to the agency, and client anonymity is guaranteed.
Progress results from the Session Rating Scale (SRS) and Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) may be used in Relationship Matters Practice Outcome Research, with all data tabulation aggregates and assessments preserving client confidentiality and anonymity.
Please contact Stephen Taylor at (021) 259-2506 if you like any more information pertaining to the provision of Counselling, Coaching, Employer Workplace Assistance, or Mediation Services by Relationship Matters.
For further information on Counselling and talking therapies in general, please go here.
What does the Counselling & Psychotherapy Client Outcome Research have to say about "what works" in therapy?
Clients of Relationship Matters will know of the Practice ethos regarding the formal measurement of client outcomes.
Formal Routine Outcome Measurement has been a core feature of Relationship Matters since 2010 with anonymised annual Practice collective summary results being published on the Relationship Matters website.
The RML summary results include both service success rates (between 51% & 78% over a 20-year period) and service failure rates (between 22% & 49% over a 20-year period).
Dr Scott Miller, one of the pioneers of Client Outcome Research, recently hosted a Conference in Calgary, Canada, and bought together some of the leading minds in the Client Outcome Measurement field, in order to determine what the latest research is revealing in this discipline.
Usually, the results of such research are only read by (some) of those who provide services, however, Dr Miller has written a very useful research summary that can easily be digested by everyone (including RML).
What the latest Client Outcome Measurement Research is telling us, is this:
• The burden born by people with mental health problems is second only to cancer (Depression alone results in a 70% loss of productivity).
Bottom line: People need the skills mental health professionals have to offer.
•Treatment is effective. However, therapists believe they help far more people than they do (85% versus 20%);
•Approximately 10% of adults deteriorate in care;
•Between 14 and 25% of children are worse off following treatment;
•Serious deterioration is recognized in only one-third of cases.
Bottom Line: Mental health professionals overestimate their effectiveness and miss deterioration.
•Multiple, sophisticated, real-world studies find no difference in outcome between people treated with different therapeutic approaches;
•Factors related to the therapeutic relationship (i.e., empathy, collaboration, affirmation, genuineness) have a far greater impact on outcome (7:1) than treatment approach, adherence to the treatment protocol, type of qualification, professional affiliation/membership, length of practice time, gender, or arbitrary, non-evidenced based state-rated competence.
Bottom Line: The pathway to improved effectiveness is not adopting new treatment approaches.
•Rapid and dramatic change (first 5 visits) occurs in as many as 40% of people and is maintained at two years follow up;
•90% chance of failure if there is no change between the 2nd and 8th visit;
•As many as 25% of people remain in treatment while experiencing no measurable benefit.
Bottom Line: A large number of people need very little treatment to achieve lasting benefits.
•Separating intake from treatment results in higher dropout, lower and longer treatment response, and higher costs.
Bottom Line: Any barrier to establishing a relationship with a specific provider has a negative impact on the outcome.
•The majority of individual practitioners are effective;
•Around 16% of practitioners achieve outcomes significantly below average;
•Less effective practitioners rate empathetic understanding more highly as a professional/personal attribute than more effective practitioners;
• If the clients of the least effective clinicians were assigned to average practitioners, an additional 15% of clients would achieve clinical recovery;
•Around 16% of practitioners consistently achieve outcomes significantly above average;
•More effective practitioners rate resilience and mindfulness more highly as a professional/personal attribute;
•Professional self-doubt and an “error-centric attitude” are associated with better outcomes.
Bottom Line: Choose your therapist carefully as they determine the outcome of care.
•When therapists receive feedback that clients are deteriorating, they discuss it with clients about 60% of the time; make efforts to assist with other resources about 27% of the time; adjust therapeutic interventions 30% of the time; vary intensity or dose of services 9% of the time; consult with others (supervision, education, etc.) 7% of the time;
•Therapist attitudes toward soliciting and using feedback vary and influence results;
•Therapists who value feedback achieve better outcomes;
•Professional self-doubt and an “error-centric attitude” are associated with better outcomes.
Bottom Line: Regular, formal feedback from clients to therapists improves outcomes (as long as the therapist listens and acts on the feedback).
•When asked, 92% of clients say they like the use of outcome measures in care.
Bottom Line: An overwhelming majority of clients endorse progress monitoring or providing feedback.
Relationship Matters – who are they?
The company began operations as 24-7 Ltd in 2001, launched services internationally in 2011, and became Relationship Matters Ltd in 2016 when it became clear that over 80% of client presentations to the practice were referrals for couple and family therapy, and the practice was more appropriately "service-niched" as a result of this finding.
Are you a Mental Health Crisis Intervention Service?
For established clients of the Relationship Matters Practice, Relationship Matters is available to offer support and coordination for Mental Health Crisis events as they may arise.
However, Relationship Matters no longer accepts Mental Health Crisis intervention referrals from individuals or families with which the Practice has no established therapeutic relationship or clinical history prior to the referral.
Referrals of this nature may be forwarded to the Mental Health Crisis phone line on 0800 800-717.
Are you qualified?
Yes. I hold an applied Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Practice from Unitec, applied degrees in Counselling (B. Couns.) and Addiction (B. Alc. D.S), from the Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec), an NZ Diploma in Career Development from NMIT, and qualifications in Clinical & Management Supervision from Weltec and the NZ Institute of Management.
Can I get assistance through Work & Income New Zealand with my Counselling fees?
Yes, Work & Income New Zealand provides assistance with Counselling costs via a "Disability Allowance - Counselling" application. RML currently accepts client referrals from Work & Income New Zealand on a re-direction of Disability Allowance basis only.
Do you offer Online Counselling, Mediation, Employer Workplace Assistance (EWA), or Supervision?
Yes, Relationship Matters Online offers Zoom online service options for clients. "Old School" Telephone Counselling is also available. RML no longer offers Supervision, the most recent sector outcome evidence revealing that Supervision contributes 0% to assisting clients or service delivery practitioners in attaining better outcomes for clients. RML does offer Role, Clinical & Practice Coaching, for which the evidence of outcome is much more effective.
A webcam, digital channel access, and reasonable broadband ISP supply are required for this service option.
How much are your fees?
Personal / Relationship / Family Counselling, Employer Workplace Assistance & Mediation is $120.00 per hour for Zoom appointments (or part thereof), and $160.00 per hour for Face-to-face (Office) appointments (or part thereof):
1 hour: $120.00 Zoom; $140.00 Face-to-face (Office).
1.25 hours: $150.00 Zoom; $175.00 Face-to-face (Office).
1.5 hours: $ 180.00 Zoom; $210.00 Face-to-face (Office).
1.75 hours: $210.00 Zoom; $245.00 Face-to-face (Office).
2 hours: $240.00 Zoom; $280.00 Face-to face (Office).
2.25 hours: $270.00 Zoom; $315.00 Face-to-face (Office).
2.5 hours: $300.00 Zoom; $350.00 Face-to-face (Office).
2.75 hours: $330.00 Zoom; $385.00 Face-to-face (Office).
3 hours: $360.00 Zoom; $420.00 Face-to-face (Office)
Some assistance with fees may be available from Work & Income, or from your work or agency.
Session fee payments are due in advance of the day, date, and time of your appointment.
Payment may be made for sessions by overnight electronic banking transfer (see RML Introduction letter).
Practice payment accounts are held in both New Zealand & Australia.
Any appointments that are postponed, cancelled, or missed by clients will be charged at the discretion of the Practice - there are no exceptions to this policy. Unpaid fees are automatically referred to Baycorp after one month for collection and include collection costs.
How often should I come to Counselling / EWA / Mediation?
As often as you both feel you need to, and can reasonably afford to.
As a frequency guide, Counselling / EWA / Mediation sessions usually occur weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or bi-monthly.
As an outcome guide, Counselling Outcome Research (Howard, Kopte, Krause, & Orlinsky, 1986) strongly indicates that:
20% - 40% of clients experience significant and positive clinical shifts relating to the original presenting issue within 1 - 3 sessions of Counselling;
35% - 65% of clients within 1 - 7 sessions of Counselling;
70-75% of clients within 6 months of Counselling, and;
85% of clients within 1 year of Counselling.
Please see the “Practice Feedback” section of the Relationship Matters website for more information.
If other issues are raised during the Counselling process in addition to the original presenting issue, then further Counselling sessions may be required beyond the initial sessions.
At Relationship Matters, the current overall average amount of sessions for most clients to achieve a positive outcome from Counselling / EWA / Mediation / Coaching is 3.61 sessions.
Overall Practice outcomes are measured and updated daily.
How would I know whether my Counselling / EWA / Mediation is working for me?
As a Relationship Matters, you will be invited to complete a research-validated Session Rating Scale (SRS), and a research-validated Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) for each Counselling / EWA / Mediation session.
Over time, this data will allow us to collaboratively establish your progress via trend analysis.
If we find that we are not making progress in a particular area, then we will collaboratively re-negotiate our approach to the issues at hand, and (hopefully) agree on different strategies for assistance, until we find which strategy works for you, utilising the evidence of the SRS and ORS as our guide.
Relationship Matters is proud to be part of the 3% of independent Counselling practices worldwide (that's about 1 in 10,000) that systematically track the client outcomes of Counselling / EWA / Mediation intervention with research-validated and reliable measures.
At Relationship Matters, an overall random Relationship Matters client Practice sample (N=104, 67 female, 37 male) of the Session Rating Scale revealed:
The arithmetic mean score for 24-7 Ltd client sessions is 36 / 40;
The median score for client sessions is 37.3 / 40, and;
The mode score for client sessions is 40 / 40.
An overall random Relationship Matters Client Practice sample (N=125, 72 female, 53 male) of the Outcome Rating Scale revealed:
Between 51% and 78% of Relationship Matters, clients experience a client-evaluated positive outcome result in Counselling / EWA / Mediation.
Between 22% and 49% of Relationship Matters, clients experience a client-evaluated negative outcome result in Counselling / EWA / Mediation.
When compared to an international normative ORS sample (N = 65000), Relationship Matters Practice clients overall are shown to be individually, socially, and inter-personally better off than between 51% and 73% of people who do not seek professional assistance for issues they were struggling with, and; overall achieve ORS outcome scores that were between 22% higher than those clients in the comparative international normative ORS sample (N = 65000, a clinical result that is nominated by the international normative sample effect size as being "Above Average" (Effect Size Scale = Below Average / Average / Above Average).
For further information on the year-on-year client outcome software programme utilised by Relationship Matters, please go here.
I want to see more than one Counsellor at a time - is this OK?
One of the fundamental cornerstones of safe Counselling practice is for a Counsellor to avoid a client becoming involved in "therapeutic duality" - seeing more than one Counsellor at the same time.
In deciding the appropriate process of securing Counselling intervention, the client is advised to first nominate whom they wish to engage as a Counsellor, and then remain with that Counsellor until such time as the client wishes to engage another Counsellor, for whatever reason.
At this stage, the client would advise their current Counsellor of their wish to change service providers, the current Counsellor would immediately close the file, and transfer the case to the newly nominated Counsellor.
Such a process both maximises client safety and continuity and minimises the possibility of a client receiving what may be mixed or potentially confusing messages from separate parties in their Counselling process.
I'm a minor - if I tell you something, will you tell my parents/caregivers?
If you are under the age of 16 years, it is important for you to be aware that, as your parents/caregivers still have ultimate responsibility for you, I am required by various laws and statutes to advise them of any issue which may potentially or actually undermine or compromise your safety and well-being.
The exception to this requirement would be if your parents/caregivers were in some way responsible for undermining or compromising your safety and well-being, at which time I have an ethical and risk minimisation option to disclose this situation to the Oranga Tamariki, or the Police, particularly if you disclose to me any form of abuse or neglect.
If you are 16-17, then some exceptions to disclosure apply, of which I will advise you prior to the first session beginning.
Broadly speaking, these exceptions include harm to yourself; harm to others; disclosure of illegal intent; and/or the identification of an external threat to your health, safety, or well-being.
Is what we talk about confidential?
For the most part, yes, although there are four exceptions to Client Confidentiality, and these are times that, from an ethical perspective, I may be required to disclose information to an appropriate third party:
a/ If you disclose to me that you are going to harm yourself;
b/ If you disclose to me that you are going to harm someone else;
c/ If you disclose to me that you are going to commit an illegal act (eg: robbing a bank);
d/ If you disclose to me that an external threat to your safety and well-being is present in your life.
What are my rights as a Consumer of Health Services such as Counselling?
Under the guidelines of the Health & Disability Commissioner Code of Health & Disability Services Consumer Rights Regulation (1996), your rights are:
RIGHT 1: The Right to be treated with respect.
RIGHT 2: Freedom from Discrimination / Coercion / Harassment / Exploitation.
RIGHT 3: The Right to Dignity and Independence.
RIGHT 4: The Right to Services of an Appropriate Standard.
RIGHT 5: The Right to Effective Communication.
RIGHT 6: The Right to be Fully Informed.
RIGHT 7: The Right to Make an Informed Choice and Give Informed Consent.
RIGHT 8: The Right to Support.
RIGHT 9: The Rights in Respect of Teaching or Research.
RIGHT 10: The Right to Complain.
What are your available appointment times?
Please ring (021) 259-2506 or email email@example.com to establish current appointment availability.
Internationally, appointments are via Zoom or phone.
Counselling and Employer Workplace Assistance sessions are usually booked for between 60-120 minutes, and Mediation sessions are usually booked for 3 - 6 hours, depending on the nature of the Mediation issue.
Phone, text, and email client support between sessions is also available.
The Practice is usually booked anywhere between 2-4 weeks in advance, meaning that a cancelled appointment will usually result in a waiting period of between a fortnight to a month to secure another appointment time.
Clients who anticipate requiring regular sessions are therefore strongly encouraged to pre-book a number of "standing" sessions in advance, so as to avoid disappointment and/or delay.
Any appointments that are postponed, cancelled, or missed by clients will be charged at the discretion of the Practice - there are no exceptions to this policy.
Practice clients are requested to nominate the length of their preferred session time when making a booking.
What are your current services?
Relationship Matters currently offers personal, couple, or family Counselling; Mediation; Training workshops; Consultancy; Role, Clinical, and Practice Coaching; Employer Workplace Assistance (EWA) and Online service delivery.
Services are available both domestically and internationally.
What do you charge for seminars and speaking engagements?
Seminars and speaking engagements are negotiated individually.
What happens at my first appointment?
Please read this FAQ section prior to your first appointment.
This information includes issues regarding confidentiality (and limits of), my professional accountability to you, your rights as a client, and some administrative considerations.
Prior to and during our first few sessions, I may ask you to complete a number of brief assessments for the purposes of maximising the effectiveness of our work together.
We will then negotiate further session bookings at the conclusion of the first session.
What have your clients said about the service you provided?
Please go to the "Practice Feedback" tab on the front page of the Relationship Matters website.
What if I make an appointment, and then cancel / post-phone / don't show up?
Any appointments that are postponed, cancelled, or missed by clients will be charged at the discretion of the Practice - there are no exceptions to this policy. Unpaid accounts are automatically referred to Baycorp and include collection costs.
What sort of Counselling experience have you had with clients?
20,000 hours, and 20 years, to date.
I have worked cross-culturally in the fields of crisis presentation, at-risk youth, domestic violence, relationship issues, residential alcohol & drug treatment, family, pre-marital, and career counselling.
I have also worked as a Clinical Trainer of agency staff within the Alcohol & Drug Treatment field, have lectured in the Counselling, Couples, Family, & Youth Intervention fields at a tertiary level, and have held a Head of Faculty (Applied Social Practice) senior academic role in the private education sector.
I also have a significant interest in service delivery via various Telehealth platforms.
What sort of therapy do you practice?
I am trained in a number of therapeutic disciplines including person-centred, existential, cognitive behavioural therapy, community reinforcement approach, motivational interviewing, rational-emotive-behavioural therapy, harm minimisation, 12-step facilitation, brief intervention, solution-focused, and family systems therapy.
I have also taught a number of these therapeutic interventions at a tertiary level.
The best way to describe me is as an "Integrative" therapist.
This means that I am able to tailor specific interventions to clients utilising a number of therapeutic disciplines to do so, as opposed to trying to "shoehorn" a client into a specific intervention type or model of practice.
I am not, however, "eclectic" in my approach, as I regard therapeutic eclecticism in the absence of intentionality as little more than glorified guesswork - and I don't have the luxury of "guessing" when working with clients who are in need of meaningful assistance.
Put more simply - if the tyre has fallen off the car, simply talking about how or why the tyre fell off the car won't get the car back on the road - we would need to employ the use of a jack, some tools, and a new tyre to achieve this.
Over 20,000 hours and 20 years of practice (and counting) to date, I have found the latter to be much more effective for clients, rather than just the former.
I combine an “Integrative" approach with a research-validated "Client-Directed, Outcome Informed" (CDOI) client progress tracking system utilising FIT OUTCOMES algorithm outcome calculation software, whereby each and every session-in-process is graded by a client, and then each and every outcome-in-progress of the session is graded by a client.
I am also a member of the International Centre for Clinical Excellence, whose mission statement is to: "Promote excellence in behavioural health services by disseminating empirical findings, providing a platform to network with colleagues and experts, and access to tools for gathering, analyzing, and using clinical data to achieve superior performance".
Put simply: in our work together, we work out what is working, what isn't working, and we then shift in accordance with the evidence towards what works, and away from what doesn't work.
What types of people come to Counselling?
All types of people come to Counselling :)
Here is a snapshot of Relationship Matters Auckland clients who typically present for service at Relationship Matters:
Males = 41%;
Females = 59%;
Couples = 34%;
Families = 38%;
Individuals = 28%;
Counselling = 85%;
Mediation = 9%;
Supervision = 6%.
The average age of Relationship Matters Practice clients is 36, and clients range in age from 9 - 84.
51% of clients are married, 25% are single, 12% are de facto, 6% are separated, and 6% are divorced.
In terms of client residential location, the client location percentages are:
Central Auckland = 38%;
West Auckland = 21%;
East Auckland = 16%;
North Auckland = 16%;
South Auckland = 9%.
85% of practice clients identify as European;
Relationship Matters also has client populations internationally.
Who are you accountable to for your Professional Practice?
For every client session, both ongoing client outcome progress (the Outcome Rating Scale), and ongoing client /therapist engagement (the Session Rating Scale), is independently assessed by every client, which makes me one of the most real-world supervised Practitioners in Australasia.
In terms of Practitioners receiving independent supervision, there is no correlational data in the outcome research showing any impact that independent supervision has on any other variable within therapeutic client service delivery.
Said another way, independent supervision does not contribute to improved therapist competence or improved client outcomes.
The various agencies, professional associations, and funding bodies of same that make independent supervision mandatory for agency staff may wish to reflect on this evidential truth. See Watkins (2011) and Rousmaniere (2014) for more information.
What is Employer Workplace Assistance (EWA)?
Employer Workplace Assistance (EWA) is a psycho-social workplace support service for employers.
The psycho-social approach to employer support looks at organisations and individuals in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on their physical and mental wellness and their ability to function.
This approach is used in a broad range of helping professions in health and social care settings as well as by medical and social science researchers.
EWA is a private, confidential and external employer support service, and may include:
Individual, Relationship, or Family Counselling.
Topical staff training workshops and seminars.
Workplace role support.
Workplace employer meetings.
EWA differs markedly from what employers may know as more traditional Employee Assistance Programmes, in that with EWA:
The primary service delivery focus is on the support of the employer, not the employee.
There are no fixed service contracts (you are not locked into just one service support provider).
There are no minimum service utilisation requirements (you don’t pre-pay for what you may not use).
There are no “packages” (You don’t have to buy services within a package that are not useful to your organisation, and are probably never going to be useful to your organisation).
There are no brokers’ fees on top of the service fee for EWA (with EAP, you pay for the service provider, and you also pay a brokers fee to the EAP agency on top of the service providers’ fee).
Every EWA service session is formally outcome-measured, and individual progress reports are emailed to all service users.
The EWA service may be delivered in person or online, after work, or in the weekends, meaning greater flexibility options for service users in terms of service access, location, transport, and timing.
Who is Stephen Taylor?
Stephen was born in Bayview, Napier, Hawkes Bay, and shares both New Zealand (Father) and Australian (Mother) heritage.
Stephen's family system also includes both Pakeha and Maori family members.
Educated at Dilworth School in Auckland, New Zealand, Stephen previously worked as a Marketing & Management Consultant, winning a total of nine National Marketing Awards between 1992 - 1996 and holding a CEO position of a National Trade Organisation at 27 years of age.
Stephen then re-trained in the Social Sciences field, securing two applied Bachelor’s degrees (Counselling & Addiction) and a Post Graduate qualification in the process.
Stephen is married with two children.
Stephen's interests and passions include political discourse, philosophy, media commentary, advocacy, and an absolute and fundamental rejection of tokenist political correctness.
Stephen lives in West Auckland, and vows never to admit to living anywhere else, Auckland Supercity or no Auckland Supercity!
Stephen has appeared in several media genres, including TVNZ "Breakfast", Radio NZ, Mana Magazine, TV3, BFM, New Idea Magazine, Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald, Radio Waatea, Challenge Weekly, Radio Live,& Radio Rhema.
As a public speaker, lecturer, and trainer with over 25 years of experience, Stephe has developed and delivered a number of custom made, practical training workshops and lectures both in New Zealand and overseas for a wide range of groups and organisations including Te Pou (Australasian Mental Health Outcomes Information Conference), Cutting Edge, Parents Inc, the New Zealand Families Commission, the New Zealand Association of Counsellors, the Parachute Music Festival, the Anglican Pastoral Retreat Centre, the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC), the New Zealand Family Safety Teams, Community Alcohol & Drug Services (CADS), the Manukau Institute of Technology, the Problem Gambling Foundation, the Salvation Army Bridge Programme (Tasmania), the National Tertiary Education Consortium, and Skills Update Training Institute.
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