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Therapy shortage putting UK relationships at risk

Published in Press Releases on June 4th 2018

Higher demand for couple therapy combined with a lack of trained therapists means many people in the UK are not getting the support they need.

A study by Relate found nearly one-in-five (18%) of the population (2.87 million) are in relationships which could be characterised as ‘distressed’. Yet the coverage of specialist relationship help (trained couple counsellors or psychotherapists) shows that there is only one therapist available for every 21,500 people living in the UK.

Studies show that relationships matter to the mental health of both parties and the welfare of the children, raising worries that this is another factor in the challenge facing the UK in the face of rising demand for talking therapy services. According to the NHS, couple therapy has also proven to be one of the most effective forms of therapy for treating mental health conditions.

Couple therapy is very effective for improving relationships. A recent naturalistic study by Tavistock Relationships shows that 60-70 per cent of couples who receive therapy report an improvement in their relationship quality.

Andrew Balfour, Chief Executive of Tavistock Relationships says: “Greater public awareness of the effectiveness of psychodynamic therapies in improving mental health have also increased demand for couple therapy. We have seen a 25 per cent higher demand for our couple therapy services in the last three years.’

Of the 1,500 specially trained couple therapists currently practicing in the UK, just under 1,000 were trained by Tavistock Relationships, which offers fully accredited training programmes ranging from introductory and specialist programmes to masters level.

Find more information about training opportunities at Tavistock Relationships at


For more press information contact:

  • Paula Scott, PR consultant T: 07932 740221, E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors

*IAPT Recovery Rates 2016-17 from NHS digital (see table 7d for Recovery rates by therapy type)

About Tavistock Relationships

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 support couples.

Working from two London bases (Warren 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 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.

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