Improving the quality and satisfaction of a couple’s relationship through couple therapy helps people recover from both anxiety and depression, a study from psycho-educational charity Tavistock Relationships has found.

This follows figures released by NHS Digital in 2018 revealing that couple therapy is currently the most effective psychological treatment for depression and anxiety.

The Tavistock study was based on 200 people where one or both were diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety. In each case the couple were receiving treatment from the NHS via the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) approved ‘Couple Therapy for Depression’ programme, which is delivered as part of the IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Service) scheme.

The treatment addresses the issues in a relationship that are considered to be contributing to the diagnosis of depression or anxiety, and the results of this study provide further evidence of the benefits of this kind therapy for the treatment of both relationship distress and depression.


“We now have further crucial evidence that relationship satisfaction predicts recovery from depression and anxiety," said Kate Thompson, Tavistock Relationships’ Head of Couple Therapy for Depression Training.

This new study shows that the strength of a relationship is critical for couples going through hard times.

“Unfortunately, access to the ‘Couple Therapy for Depression’ programme on the NHS is variable depending on where you live, with only half of IAPT services currently providing a couple-focused intervention to treat depression.

"We are calling for nine out of 10 IAPT services to provide Couple Therapy for Depression by 2024. We would like to see more therapists trained in this specialist area so that more couples can benefit for this treatment.”

Tavistock Relationships runs Couple Therapy for Depression training nationally and throughout the year, for therapists and counsellors from within IAPT, as well as voluntary and charitable organisations working for IAPT.