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Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT) is an evidence-based treatment for depression for couples, where there is both relationship distress and depression in one of the partners. BCT is distinct from, but complements, individual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) using a range of methods to enhance relationship well-being as well as reduce individual psychological distress.

What can BCT help with?

Behavioural Couple Therapy for Depression:

The BCT model focuses on the relational aspects of depression and on factors that reduce stress and increase support within the couple. The focus of the treatment is on relieving stress and improving communication; managing feelings and changing behaviour; solving problems and promoting acceptance; assessing and conceptualising couple functioning; identifying cognitive and behavioural factors in couple distress; developing couple-based interventions; strategies to regulate emotional experience and expression; addressing the physical relationship and revising perceptions.

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.

What happens during private BCT sessions?

A key component of this therapy is to focus on improving communication difficulties within the relationship. This therapy sees you, the couple, as one patient and does not attempt to provide individual therapy for one specific person within your relationship.

BCT will aim to specifically improve the overall quality of your relationship; as poor relationship quality has proven to be a precipitating factor in depression. BCT can be offered over 8-12 sessions, up to a maximum of 20 sessions, according to the needs of both individuals involved.

Is Behavioural Couples Therapy effective?

Behavioural Couples Therapy is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for the treatment of moderate depression for people “who have a regular partner, and where the relationship may contribute to the development or maintenance of the depression, or where involving the partner is considered to be of potential therapeutic benefit”.

Your treatment plan will always be tailored to fit your lifestyle and needs. Not only do we pride ourselves on being an evidence-based practice, whereby we only use treatments that are proven to work, we also endeavour to be a practice-based practice: We will invite continuous feedback to ensure we are delivering the most effective intervention that has the greatest benefits for you. At Elite Psychology we try to accommodate people’s needs and can provide therapy via different modes such as Skype or face time.

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