Therapy For You, the NHS Talking Therapies service serving patients across North East and South East Essex, is making a difference in the lives of couples whose relationships have been challenged by the burden of depression. Their innovative and evidence-based model, approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is providing support to couples facing mild to moderate depression, helping them navigate these difficulties and restore their connection.
While recent data suggests a decline in depression rates in the UK year-on-year, the figures remain elevated when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Depression, in addition to affecting millions of individuals, can significantly strain relationships. Research indicates that individuals in troubled relationships are at least twice as likely to experience depression compared to those in stable partnerships.
Jane Barham, High-Intensity Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Couple Therapy for Depression (CTfD) Therapist at Therapy For You, explains, “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,”
To address these challenges, Therapy For You’s Couple Therapy for Depression is a progressive, evidence-based therapy that has assisted many individuals in addressing their difficulties.
Tailored for cohabiting couples where one or both are battling low mood exacerbated by relationship issues, Couple Therapy for Depression enables both partners to understand their emotions and work toward improvement.
Laura Cocks, Psychotherapist and Service Manager at Therapy For You, clarifies, “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,”
“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.”
The process begins with a confidential telephone assessment with both individuals, allowing therapists to gain insights into their thoughts and emotions. Subsequently, one-on-one sessions follow, helping practitioners assess their experiences, challenges, and goals. Couples then work on improving acceptance, perception of each other’s circumstances, differences, and needs.
Jane elaborates, “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,”
The next phase centers on implementing meaningful changes based on the initial goals. This could include exercises to enhance communication, teamwork, or intimacy. Jane notes, “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,”
In the final sessions, the focus shifts to relapse prevention. Therapists reinforce the lessons, skills, and techniques learned, helping couples avoid reverting to old patterns.
According to Therapy For You, Couple Therapy for Depression has already made a meaningful impact on numerous relationships within their local communities. Nationally, around 56% of individuals who complete CTfD recover from their depression and anxiety, surpassing recovery rates of alternative treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and counseling.
Research also suggests that improving a couple’s relationship can prevent 30% of severe depressive episodes. Therapy For You underscores the 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 for free, whether through face-to-face sessions or online video sessions, to couples in North East and South East Essex.