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Supporting the NHS to treat mental health in lockdown

Published in Press Releases on May 14th 2020

Free trainings to IAPT practitioners a welcome chance to bring Couple Therapy for Depression programme into focus - at the time it is needed most.

Couples and families throughout the UK are facing mental health challenges during lockdown. Despite people adapting to life under lockdown with resourcefulness and generosity, a survey* measuring the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of adults suggests anxiety, depression, loneliness and self-harm are on the increase. A reported surge in calls to domestic abuse helplines also points to an increase in couple conflict.

In response, Tavistock Relationships is offering free training and guidance for NHS therapists and counsellors working remotely with couples delivering Couple Therapy for Depression (CTfD) online. The internationally renowned charity has also adapted its full training to be able to continue training NHS practitioners during the lockdown.

CTfD was developed by Tavistock Relationships for the NHS in 2009 and is offered to people where a troubled relationship appears to be playing a role in one partner’s depression and anxiety – and uses the relationship as the key ingredient in recovery. Offering couple therapy to NHS patients where there is depression in one or both partners has proved to be one of the most effective and lasting treatments available within IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services nationally.

Kate Thompson, couple psychotherapist and project lead for CTfD training, at Tavistock Relationships, says: “During this period of compressed domestic living, couple-based counselling is more important than ever, and we are pleased to be able to support NHS staff in this way, helping them to continue to deliver this therapy online, with some free additional training.

“Many people are still totally unaware that Couple Therapy for Depression is available free on the NHS, but access to the treatment is variable depending on where you live. Currently around half of IAPT services provide couple therapy across the country.

“Despite these difficulties of introducing a relational approach to thinking about depression and how to prevent it relapsing, we’ve been encouraged to see so many of our past trainees take up this free training in online couple counselling. They are keen advocates of this way of working, as they know it can help and have witnessed it in their consulting rooms and surgeries.”

For more information about Tavistock Relationships’ Couple Therapy for Depression (CTfD) IAPT training programme, go to https://coupletherapyfordepression.org email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 7380 8288.

Information about all Tavistock Relationships online therapy is available at www.tavistockrelationships.org

*Research being undertaken by the University of Glasgow, Samaritans and the Scottish Association for Mental Health with 3,077 adults.


For more press information contact:

John Fenna, Head of Marketing & Communications

T: 020 7380 1974 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Paula Scott, PR consultant T: 07932 740221

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Debbie Walker, PR Consultant T: 077486 40577>

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors

Established in 1948, Tavistock Relationships is a registered charity internationally renowned for delivering and developing advanced practice, training and research in therapeutic and psycho-educational approaches to supporting couples.

Working from two London bases (Hallam Street and New Street) as well as operating a nationally available online service, Tavistock Relationships has over 100 professionals providing an effective and highly-regarded form of couples’ counselling and psychotherapy.

Last year, Tavistock Relationships held nearly 20,000 therapy sessions, helping thousands of people with their relationships. The charity received very positive feedback, with more than 93% of its clients saying they would certainly rate the organisation’s services as good and would recommend its services.

Couple Therapy for Depression (CTfD)

Tavistock Relationships was commissioned by the NHS to develop couple-based treatment for depression. The treatment developed now forms part of the national curriculum and training materials published by the Department of Health.

CTfD is a behaviourally-based, 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 the NHS’ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Services.

Tavistock Relationships designed the CTfD treatment following the UK's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, 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.

There’s more information about this innovative couple-based treatment here https://coupletherapyfordepression.org/

Funding for IAPT high intensity therapists in CTfD is allocated by Health Education England nationally and CCGs locally. Some voluntary sector organisations and charities are also delivering the service, on behalf of IAPT services, such as Relate (i.e. IAPT outsources the work). These workers are trained in the same way that IAPT in house therapists are – and it is again funded by HEE/CCGs.

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

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