Couples Therapy Can Help When One Spouse Struggles with Depression

May 17, 2011 by

Couples therapy can be very beneficial when one partner is coping with depression. As an Oregon marriage counselor, I’ve noticed that sometimes couples don’t appreciate just how much depression affects both partners. If one spouse suffers from depression, it is likely that the other person is picking up the slack around the home and with child care. This can lead to anxiety, anger, and resentment. On top of that, the depressed partner may become withdrawn, causing the couple to feel disconnected, and may even stop working, putting a financial strain on the relationship. This can be a recipe for disaster.

Try Couples Therapy Instead of Divorce
As an Oregon marriage counselor, I work with couples to rehabilitate their relationship by opening up communication channels, understanding how depression affects both partners, and identifying the root of the problem. When one partner becomes depressed, often the other starts out being understanding and sympathetic. After all, you love your spouse. But sometimes the unaffected partner has a hard time understanding the disorder, and the extra household work, child care, and emotional effort takes its toll over time.  It can be particularly hard if the depression persists for months or years.

Deciding Between Individual Therapy or Couples Therapy
In one study on depression, Italian researchers compared depressed people who went to individual therapy to those who went to couples therapy. Both were equally effective in helping with the symptoms of depression, but they did discover reduced relationship distress for those who went to couples therapy.  It’s a problem you can tackle together.

If you’d like to talk to someone about your relationship, consider the Tim Higdon, in at Bend, Oregon, marriage counseling for couples therapy.