Are you struggling with family/relationship issues? Do you need help to resolve conflicts within the family? Family counselling is a free, low-threshold service available nationwide to couples, families and individuals.

Anyone can contact a family counselling office. The offices provide therapy, advice and counselling when problems, conflicts and crises arise in the family.

About family counselling

Family counselling is a service available to anyone struggling to cope with family or relationship issues. The service is open to individuals, couples and families. Couples with young children and teenagers are given priority.

Many people contact the family counselling service for advice about day-to-day problems, conflicts or crises in the family.

Family counselling offices are staffed by psychologists, social workers and other specialists in family therapy. Family counselling offices provide couples and family therapy, as well as individual counselling sessions. 

Family counsellors have a duty of client confidentiality.

To make an appointment – contact the family counselling office where you live.

The service is free of charge, and no referral is necessary.

Family counselling services: what do we offer?

Couples therapy

Couples therapy is open to married and cohabiting couples, as well as couples in a romantic relationship but not living together. The service is available to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Counselling may be sought because of problems within the relationship or in connection with a break-up.

To make an appointment – contact the family counselling office where you live.

The service is free of charge, and no referral is necessary.

Family therapy

Family therapy is a service for families experiencing conflicts between parents and children. The service is also available in connection with conflicts between multiple generations or with new family members.

The family counselling office can also help improve cooperation between parents.

To make an appointment – contact the family counselling office where you live.

The service is free of charge, and no referral is necessary.

Mediation in connection with legal separation or the breakdown of relationships

All those who are married and have joint children under the age of 16 must obtain a valid mediation certificate before the County Governor can grant a separation or divorce.

Cohabiting couples with joint children under the age of 16 must also attend mediation if they separate. A mediation certificate is required before the higher rate of child benefit will be granted.

Parents who wish to petition the court for parental responsibility, permanent custody or visitation rights, must obtain a meditation certificate.

The family counselling offices conduct statutory mediation.

The objective of mediation is for the parents to arrive at an agreement on parental responsibility, permanent custody and visitation rights. The primary purpose of all agreements relating to children shall be to safeguard the child’s best interests.

To make an appointment – contact the family counselling office where you live.

The service is free of charge, and no referral is necessary.

Parental cooperation and visitation

In the event of a breakup parents may disagree about what is best for the child or children, e.g. in connection with the practicalities surrounding visitation, or how you and your former partner should cooperate with regard to the child/children’s upbringing. 

The family counselling office can help establish a better climate of cooperation after the breakdown of a marriage or relationship.

Any agreement that you come to at the family counselling office will be based on the best interests of the child.

To make an appointment – contact the family counselling office where you live.

The service is free of charge, and no referral is necessary.

Happy Couples

Happy Couples is a course designed to help new parents cope with the changes and challenges to their relationship resulting from their new role. The course, which provides both inspiration and support, is free of charge.

  • Happy Couples courses are run by the local authorities. To enrol on a course, contact the local authority where you live.
What about us? – A course for parents of children with special needs

What about us? is a course designed to help people cope with life as parents of children with special needs, whether these are the result of a physical impediment, learning difficulty or chronic illness.    

Courses are available nationwide.

Published 22. April 2015.
Updated 18. October 2017.