LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services.
1300 543 396

LifeWorks is a not for profit organisation that provides family, couple and individual
counselling, education, training and workplace services in Victoria Australia.

Our History

LifeWorks has an extensive and rich heritage dating back to 1947.

Originally formed as “The Church of England Marriage Guidance and Education Council”, it was an organisation born in response to emerging social issues created by servicemen returning to their partners and fragmented families after the devastation and disruption of the Second World War. 

The Mother’s Union of Victoria was concerned about the rising divorce rate after the war and helped set up the Council initially to offer ‘preparation for marriage’ courses. The Council then expanded into providing counselling for couples [1] and a range of educational resources, presentations and lectures to the community on topics related to marriage, relationships and family.

The sector progressed rapidly as it evolved from the original community based ‘volunteer’ model to a fully professionalised sector employing tertiary qualified staff trained in various counselling and therapeutic modalities. The agency also broadened its approach recognising ‘relationships’ in all their diversity, not just the traditional marriage union. Some years later the organisation was renamed the Anglican Marriage Guidance Council. Throughout this period, the Council developed in line with social changes evident throughout the local community and the industry as a whole. 

In 2002, to again reflect its broadening work, to ensure no perceptual barriers to clients wanting to enter the service system and to reflect its growing independence and broader community representation on the Board, the organisation became known as LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services. 

LifeWorks continued to specialise in pre-marriage programs but expanded the suite of education programs on offer to include broader interpersonal and relationship training programs along the whole continuum of relationship formation, relationship maintenance, separation, reconciliation and for all life stages from childhood to retirement.

From 2004, LifeWorks, began to expand into other allied areas of service and, in line with a community shift towards Primary Dispute Resolution as an alternative to the growing costs of pursuing legal redress through the court system, started to offer mediation services to couples and families. 

Recognising the connection between work and home, LifeWorks also went on to introduce workplace relationship services through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and in 2008 subsequently launched LifeWorks in the Workplace, its Business Services division, which specialises in workplace consulting and training. A special feature of LifeWorks in the Workplace is that all revenue derived from its fee-for-service work is returned to LifeWorks’ government funded activities to help underwrite the increasing cost burden of those activities.

Today, LifeWorks offers a range of professional relationship services including individual and couple counselling, family therapy, pre-marriage education, relationship education programs, employee assistance programs, family dispute resolution and workplace consulting services across ten branches in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

These services are offered to all Victorians irrespective of their religious affiliations, cultural heritage or economic circumstance and embrace relationships in all their diversity.

[1] Fox, D.M., and Miller, N (ed) (2000) An Oral History of Marriage Counselling in Australia: From Meaning Well to Doing Well.