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Supporting people since 1978

Supporting people since 1978

Our History

The Family Relationships Institute Inc. trading as RelateWell is a not-for-profit community organisation governed by a Board of Management. The organisation has no affiliations with any religious or political organisations and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS); and is a Commonwealth service provider of mental health contracted services.

The organisation was founded in 1978 by Don Burnard, a Senior Psychologist who specialised in relationship development courses and Dr Ron Fitzgerald who was a Commissioner for the Education Section of the Henderson Poverty Report.

The Family Relationships Institute Inc. is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act. 

Service Objectives

Our funded Family and Relationships Services (FaRS) encompassing counselling and psychoeducation (relationship, marriage and parenting) are primarily at the prevention and early intervention end of service provision; and target the significant family transition points of relationship formation, moving in together, getting married, having a baby and maturing in the couple relationship. Essentially providing people with the skills to deal with life challenges and changes before they become big problems and issues; as healthy relationships are a crucial component of health and mental well-being.

Our specialist mental health services aim to help people whom present with mild to moderate mental illness; supporting them through targeted psychological intervention. 

All service provision is informed by evidence-based practice. 

Accessible Services

RelateWell aims to provide family and relationship counselling and psychoeducation support at a price which keeps them within financial reach of the majority of people in the community.

And as a provider of Commonwealth contracted specialist mental health services, our objective is to increase mental health services for people living on low incomes and from priority cohorts. Easing the strain of gap payments through our significant partnerships within primary health care. 

Priding itself in being a boutique-like provider of services, where people are welcomed, supported and treated like individuals. Where the most vulnerable people in society are treated with respect, leaving our services with improved family and community functioning; and a satisfaction with the service they have received.

Strengthening access and services to vulnerable and disadvantaged families is a strategic key in service delivery. And we are committed to providing accessible, safe and inclusive services to all members of the community.


Leaders in Prevention and Early Intervention

RelateWell is a leader in the prevention and early intervention services space particularly in the areas of marriage and relationship education and counselling; and in engaging families at key transition points in the lifecycle.

Changing cultural mindset that a healthy relationship or marriage involves more than meeting “the one” and convincing people that obtaining assistance early will be a significant strategy to offset future problems. The current culture to invest in remedial and later intervention is significantly costly as it addresses people who are already suffering from deeply embedded problems and generational dysfunction.

Investing at the primary end of service provision requires strong leadership to change prevention and early intervention from a viewpoint to a properly funded, sustainable, practical program of investment and social and economic returns which when taken to measure will alter the social and economic capacity of a generation of children.

Mission Statement

To assist individuals, partners and families, in all their diversity, to achieve and maintain quality and meaningful lives through quality and meaningful relationships.

Statement of Purpose

  • To foster an Australian culture which encourages the pursuit of quality and meaningful lives through quality and meaningful relationships.
  • To build stronger families and communities.
  • To develop innovative models of relationship, marriage and family education which are psychological, experiential and promote skills.
  • To provide at significant life stage transitions opportunities for individuals, couples and families to achieve enhanced relationship skills.
  • To enhance Australia’s cultural diversity through the provision of culturally sensitive workshops.
  • To promote relating well and the nurturing of relationships within families and society as a continuing learning process for adults.
  • To develop effective and cooperative partnerships with similar organisations within Australia and overseas.
  • To provide psychologically based counselling at affordable prices.
  • To influence government policy and directions so that proactive prevention to enhance relationships is taken as seriously as intervention, whether early or crisis, when couples and families experience problems.


The Family Relationships Institute Inc. trading as RelateWell acknowledges the traditional owners of the land, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations, Elders past and present. 

ACNC Registered Charity FRSA Member

Funding Partners

DSS LogoCDG LogoCollaborative Partners

Merri bek City CouncilSSC logo

Annual General Meeting of the Family Relationships Institute Inc. (RelateWell) 2022

Thursday 10 November 2022