What is Behavioural Couples Therapy?
Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT) is an approach that can help people in a relationship with the emotional difficulties that can arise between partners, especially when one or both people are depressed. It is a form of behaviour therapy that aims to a) work on the elements of the couple’s relationship that are known to have a direct effect on the incidence of depression and b) directly relieve said depressed feeling.
How does it work?
A key component of this therapy is to focus on improving your 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. These sessions follow a model which focusses on the relational aspects of depression: relieving stress and improving communication, managing feelings and changing behaviour, solving problems and promoting acceptance, and revising perceptions
Is it effective?
Research has shown that couples therapy helps people in relationships who suffer from depression and are experiencing difficulties, a key component of which is improving communication within the relationship. Additionally, research has shown that marital satisfaction after completion of BCT greatly improves.