Healing Relationships: Therapy For You’s Couple Therapy for Depression

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 09:35 am

Therapy For You, the NHS Talking Therapies service serving patients in North East and South East Essex, is making strides in supporting couples grappling with the challenges of depression through their innovative, evidence-based approach endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Through this service, Therapy For You is equipping couples to better navigate the complexities that mild to moderate depression can bring into their lives and relationships, providing tools to surmount obstacles that may have been negatively impacting their bond.

While recent data indicates a decrease in the number of individuals experiencing depression in the UK year-on-year, the figures still remain considerably high compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Depression is not solely an individual struggle; it can significantly impact couples as well. Research indicates that individuals in strained relationships are at least twice as likely to experience depression compared to those in stable relationships.

“When one or both parties in a relationship are dealing with depression, it can put a strain on that couple, leading to issues such as a lack of communication, a reduced interest in intimacy or sex, or a feeling of increased distance between the two,” explains Jane Barham, a High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Couple Therapy for Depression (CTfD) Therapist at Therapy For You.

“Managing depression can be hard for any relationship, and when one or both parties are struggling to cope, it can chip away at their foundation, and cause conflicts that maintain their low mood.”

To empower individuals to take steps towards improving both their well-being and their relationship, Therapy For You’s Couple Therapy for Depression offers a progressive, evidence-based therapy that has assisted many in addressing these difficulties.

Tailored for cohabiting couples where one or both partners are grappling with low mood exacerbated by relationship issues, Couple Therapy for Depression fosters mutual understanding and helps both individuals gain insight into their emotions and improve their situation.

“While Couple Therapy for Depression shares similarities with couple counselling, this is a service specifically for relationships where one or both are experiencing challenges related to mild or moderate depression,” explains Laura Cocks, Psychotherapist and Service Manager at Therapy For You.

“To ensure Couple Therapy for Depression is as effective as possible, couples should ideally be living together and be ready, willing and able to practise the techniques they learn outside of weekly sessions in their day-to-day life.”

Upon self-referral to the service, Therapy For You initiates the process with a confidential telephone assessment involving both individuals. This initial step is crucial in enabling therapists to gain insights into the couple’s thoughts and feelings.

Following this assessment, one-on-one sessions are conducted, allowing practitioners to delve deeper into their experiences, challenges, and aspirations. In subsequent interventions, couples work on enhancing their acceptance of each other, their perception of each other’s circumstances, differences, and needs.

“Whether it is arguments over money, parenting, or daily responsibilities, these sessions aim to promote positive behaviours that strengthen the awareness and understanding of a couple,” says Jane.

The subsequent phase of treatment centers on making tangible improvements based on the goals established at the outset. Therapy For You notes that this could encompass exercises aimed at improving communication, teamwork, or intimacy.

“As well as teaching partners how to improve their wellbeing and relationship, Couple Therapy for Depression encourages people to put what they learn into practice outside of their sessions. In many ways, this is where the real therapy happens,” continues Jane.

In the final sessions, the focus shifts to relapse prevention. Here, Therapy For You’s practitioners reinforce the lessons, skills, and techniques the couple has acquired to prevent them from reverting to old patterns.

According to Therapy For You, Couple Therapy for Depression has already made a significant impact on numerous relationships within their local communities.

As an NICE-approved and evidence-based treatment, approximately 56% of individuals who complete CTfD achieve recovery from their depression and anxiety—a higher rate of recovery compared to alternative treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counseling.

Research also indicates that improving a couple’s relationship can prevent around 30% of severe depressive episodes. Therapy For You underscores the immense value of this service for couples facing these challenges.

“We’re here to support anyone who is committed to rebuilding their relationship from the impact of depression,” adds Jane.

“Whether a couple wants to improve communication, become more aware of each other’s needs, or work on their intimacy, we are fully committed to helping them achieve their goals and restoring their foundation for the future.”

Therapy For You’s Couple Therapy for Depression is available free of charge, either through face-to-face sessions or online video sessions, to couples in North East and South East Essex.

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