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Couples Therapy for Depression


Roughly half of the couples that I see struggle with mild or moderate depression. A distressed marriage can be very depressing and, conversely, a depressed partner can be very distressing.


Research has supported this common-sense wisdom with clear findings:


  • Distressed spouses are 3 times more likely to experience a major depressive episode than non-distressed counterparts.

  • In unhappy marriages, 45% of wives are depressed.

  • There is a 10-fold increase in depression among maritally distressed newlyweds.



Depression that affects one partner has an effect on the other partner. The depressed person often feels responsible but unable do anything about his or her condition. Often, the depressed person seeks reassurance from his or her partner to an excessive degree. Unfortunately, because of the depressed people’s negative views, the reassurance usually is completely discounted. 


Meanwhile, the other partner feels compelled to pick up the slack, especially if there are children. They may be very understanding and sympathetic at first, but as exhaustion and frustration increase, the feelings of the unaffected partner may turn to anger or resentment. Even worse, the partner becomes so frustrated, he or she criticizes the depressed person, confirming expectations and completing the vicious cycle.


But hope exists, especially if couples address their problems together. Research has shown that couple therapy was better than or equal to treating depression with individual therapy and that couple therapy had the added benefit of significantly reduced relationship distress.


If you are depressed and in a serious relationship, you may decide to seek individual counseling. Because depression causes a negative view of virtually everything, it is easy for the individual counselor to side with the client and demonize the absent partner. Please BEWARE, this can cause significant damage to a relationship. Couples therapy for depression removes this risk.



Couples Therapy for Depression is a well-established modified form of couples therapy where I support couples by simultaneously working with the depression and the marriage issues.


We determine how the depression affects each partner, determining its roots in the relationship interactions, and construct a clear treatment plan.


During our sessions, we will focus on how to:

  • clearly assess the depth of depression and tease out what portion existed prior to the relationship and what portion is a reflection of the relationship stress

  • communicate without the negative filter on what is said

  • be more aware of their partner’s needs and how to meet them

  • become less stuck in unhealthy repeating patterns

  • learning how to comfort your partner when a wound is triggered

  • constructively cope with the sadness and pain in your life and your relationship

  • forgive each other for the pain behind the depression

  • manage feelings of anxiety and stress which arise from the challenges of their relationship and family life

  • how to cope with severe depressive episodes or suicidal thoughts

  • come to terms with underlying life changes which might have triggered depression, such as becoming parents or losing a loved one.


Couple therapy for depression can have benefits such as:

  • a more stable family life

  • self-discovery

  • an improved sexual relationship

  • reduced jealousy

  • increased confidence

  • relief from depression.

During the process, I maintain close watch on the depression and communicate regularly with you on your progress. Referrals for medications are provided if needed.


If you are struggling with depression and with your partner, I would love to help.

Depression Test (on Psychology Today, 101 questions, summary report is free, full results full results for $4.95)



Books for Partners:


Books to help with Depression: 


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Dr. Harry Motro is part of the Couples Recovery Center which provides specialized couples counseling and includes the following professionals:


If you are interested in joining our team, apply here.

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free, 24-hour hotline at 1.800.273.8255.  If your issue is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.  Dr. Motro does not offer crisis counseling or emergency services.


Dr. Harry Motro, Marriage Counselor, is an employee of Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C., (a Professional Corporation), which does business as the Couples Recovery Center. Dr. Motro practices at 3880 South Bascom Drive, Suite 216, San Jose, CA,95124, is Licensed as a Marriage Family Therapist MFC 53452 and authorized to act as a Psychotherapist providing Psychotherapy. He specializes in Couples Counseling. In addition to dealing with couples and relationship issues, Dr. Motro is trained to treat anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, bi-polar, ADHD, Asperger's, sex difficulties, anger regulation issues, affair fallout, divorce recovery, self-esteem, addiction, co-dependency, trauma, abuse, eating disorders, and managing grief and loss. These issues often arise in couples counseling and will be dealt with as part of your therapy. If you search for counseling San Jose, marriage counselor San Jose, couples counselor San Jose, psychotherapy San Jose, psychotherapist San Jose, therapist San Jose, counselor San Jose, couples therapist San Jose, couples counselor San Jose, marriage therapy San Jose, life coach San Jose, career coach San Jose, executive coach San Jose, you can find Dr. Harry Motro's web site. In addition to serving San Jose, Harry serves clients in Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen, Milpitas, Mountain View, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Scotts Valley, Felton, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Los Altos, and Gilroy, California. Dr. Motro also provides  Mountain Bike Therapy. The recommendations on this website do not constitute professional advice, substitute for professional treatment, or establish a therapeutic relationship.

Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C.,,, 408 823 2822.

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