Couples Therapy for Depression
Finding HOPE through each other
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 newlyweds who are distressed in their marriage.
VICIOUS CYCLE OF DEPRESSION
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.
THERE IS HOPE
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.
RISK OF INDIVIDUAL DEPRESSION THERAPY IF MARRIED
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.
WHAT IS COUPLES THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION?
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
an improved sexual relationship
relief from depression.
During the process, we 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, our team of therapists 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: