Symptoms of depression include depressed mood most of the day, diminished interest in daily activities (hobbies, work), sleeplessness, irritability, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, and in some, low sexual desire (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
An overlooked component of depression is the impact that depression has on relationships as research has found a relationship between depressive symptoms and relationship distress (Crowe, 2004). Non-distressed partners may feel anxious, depressed, and isolated (Coyne, Kessler, Tal, Turnbull, Wortman, & Greden, 1987; Merikangas, Prusoff, Kupfer, & Frank, 1985).
If your relationship is struggling due to your depression or if your partner’s depression is impacting your relationship quality, couples therapy may be for you. A randomized clinical trial on emotion-focused therapy (EFT) suggests that couples therapy may help reduce these symptoms (Dessaulles, Johnson, & Denton, 2003). The American Journal of Family Therapy,
Working with a couples therapist, therapy will focus on helping you and your partner reduce conflict related behaviors (i.e., criticism, contempt, stonewalling) and exploring and repairing the ways in which depression (i.e., feelings of hopelessness, irritability) has fractured your relationship.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Crowe, M. (2004). Couples and mental illness. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 19(3), 309-318. doi: 10.1080/14681990410001715436
Coyne, J.C., Kessler, R.C., Tal, M.K., Turnbull, J., Wortman, C.B., & Greden, J.F. (1987). Living with a depressed person. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 347-352. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.55.3.347
Dessaulles, A., Johnson, S.M., & Denton, W.H. (2012). Emotion-Focused Therapy for couples in the treatment of depression: A pilot study. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31, 345-353. doi: 10.1080/01926180390232266
Marikangas, K.R., Prusoff, B.A., Kupfer, D.J., & Frank, E. (1985). Marital Adjustment in major depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 9(1), 5-11. doi: 10.1016/0165-0327(85)90003-5