disappointmentThe final version of the report on Depression in Adults produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2009) identified the potential role of couple relationships in triggering, maintaining and resolving depression. Defining couple therapy as a "time-limited, psychological intervention derived from a model of interactional processes in relationships where:

  • the intervention aims to help participants understand the effects of their interactions on each other as factors in the development and/or maintenance of symptoms/problems [and]
  • the aim is to change the nature of the interactions so that they may develop more supportive and less conflictual relationships" (pp 207-208), a search uncovered six studies indicating the efficacy of couple therapy as a treatment for depression.

On the basis of this evidence the report recommended couple therapy (based on a behavioural model) for patients in established relationships where the relationship played a role in developing, maintaining or resolving the depressive disorder.

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Couple Therapy for Depression