Relationships are fundamental to people's happiness and well-being. From the minute that we are born, we enter into relationships, which continue to grow exponentially. Relationships can bring tremendous joy, and at times tremendous distress. There is a growing body of evidence that links relationship difficulties with depression. We know that depression may be a consequence of relationship difficulties or depression may be the cause of relationship difficulties. In such circumstances it is imperative that intervention focuses on relationship difficulties.


The core symptoms of depression include a persistent sadness or low mood. This may or may not be accompanied by tearfulness. The other core symptom is a marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you once enjoyed. There are a number of other common symptoms:

  • Changes to your usual sleeping pattern. This may include disturbed sleep, not being able to sleep, waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep or sleeping too much.
  • Changes in your appetite. You might have a poor appetite and have lost weight or you have been comfort eating and have gained weight.
  • Fatigue, tiredness and lack of energy
  • Irritability, restlessness or agitation. The reverse might be true that you are more slowed down in your movements and thinking.
  • Poor concentration or indecisiveness
  • Strong feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Frequent thoughts that you would be better off dead or hurting yourself in some way

Depression is usually diagnosed if you have at least five of the above symptoms, with at least one of the core symptoms. These symptoms must be persistent for at least two weeks.

Best Evidence-Based Treatments

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend the following psychological therapies for the highest success rate in treating depression, where relationship discord is present.

Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT):
Behavioural Couples therapy is recommended for people who have a regular partner and where the relationship may contribute to the development and maintenance of depression, of where involving the partner would have a therapeutic benefit.

Behavioural Couples Therapy for Long Term Conditions:
This focuses on providing couple based interventions for couples in which one person has a long term condition (LTC; health or medical complication). Many couples experiencing health concerns have healthy rewarding relationships, whereas others have the complication of relationship distress. The major focus is on assisting the individual with LTC, along with the attending partner and the couple's relationship.

Behavioural Couple Therapy for Infidelity:
The treatment integrates cognitive –behavioural with insight-oriented or developmental techniques. The three stages of intervention are: Stage I: Containing the initial impact. Interventions in this stage include: (a) re-establishing individual and relational equilibrium by promoting self-care and establishing new behavioural routines; and (b) limiting further trauma by minimizing destructive exchanges between partners. Stage II: Examining the context. This stage is the core of the treatment and helps the couple come to an understanding of how the affair came about, taking into account what was happening with each partner, how their relationship was proceeding, and what factors in their environment made one person more vulnerable to the affair. This understanding helps the couple consider what would need to change if they decide to stay together in the future. Stage III: Moving on. Interventions in this stage help couples to reach an informed decision about how to move forward – either separately or by continuing the relationship – and to identify additional steps needed to assist both partners and their relationship.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT):
Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on the relationship between depressive symptoms and interpersonal problems. The premise is that depression can be understood as a response to difficulties within our interpersonal context. And in turn depression can affect the quality of our relationships. IPT predominantly works on improving the quality of these relationships and reducing depressive symptoms.

Elite Psychology comprises of an expert team, specialising in the range of best private evidence-based couples therapies/couples counselling for relationship difficulties. Our highly qualified associates are accredited in all of the most successful therapies, complimented by psychiatrists who can prescribe anti-depressants on private prescriptions. We can assess you and provide the most efficacious therapy tailored to your difficulties. We know the importance of being understood, and endeavour to deliver the highest standard of psychological interventions to meet your needs.

Call us on 020 3815 7935 for further information or to book an assessment. Alternatively you can complete the online contact form.