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Couple Therapy for Depression

This is a resource for Commissioners, Managers & Practitioners

Find out more about the Competencies Framework for this therapy

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Couple Therapy for Depression is an integrative, behaviourally-based of up to 20-session couple therapy designed to treat depression in couples where there is also relationship distress. It is one of the high intensity therapies offered in IAPT Services.

This site offers guidance for commissioners, practitioners, and supervisors. It has links to competencies, curriculum and training courses, and to details of accreditation, books and useful articles.

Tavistock Relationships were commissioned by the NHS to develop this couple-based treatment for depression. Following the recommendations of the UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for just such a behaviourally-based couple therapy treatment, RCT studies of efficacy as well as ‘best practice’ in behavioural, cognitive, emotionally-focused, systemic, and psychodynamic couple therapies were examined to see what worked, and then integrated into a coherent therapy model. 
Sticking closely to the competencies identified for the treatment of depression and relationship distress in couples, Couple Therapy for Depression:
  • reduces damaging interactions between couples,
  • builds emotional openness and closeness,
  • improves communication and behaviour,
  • changes unhelpful cognitions and perceptions, and
  • helps the couple cope with the ordinary and not-so ordinary stresses that arise in the course of everyday relating.


Kate Thompson, our head of Training talks more about who this training is for and why it is so useful:

The highest recovery rate amongst IAPT modalities

Couple therapy for Depression recovery rates for both depression and anxiety are higher than all other modes of therapy in IAPT services including CBT and counselling. Psychological Therapies: Annual report on the use of IAPT services (Published 18th October 2016) indicates that couple therapy for depression recovery rate stands at 61.8% for anxiety and 58.8% for depression (i.e. significantly higher than CBT and counselling – which are the standard offer in most IAPT services). 

Recovery rates by therapy type for referrals with a problem descriptor of depression 201516


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Couple Therapy for Depression

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