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Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT) for Depression

What is BCT?

Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT) is an approach that can help people in a relationship when one or both of them is suffering with depression. It is a form of behavior therapy that aims to

  • Identify and change unhelpful relationship patterns that may feed into depression
  • Directly relieve depressed feelings using cognitive and behavioural techniques.

What is the criteria for treatment within IAPT?

Couples are eligible for Behavioural Couple Therapy for Depression if one partner is depressed and the couple is in a committed relationship living together at least 6 months. The couple is appropriate for treatment regardless of whether their relationship is distressed or not. However, it is preferable to select couples who are relationally distressed as well (or the relationship is a significant factor in the development or maintenance of the depression) because these are the individuals who may not respond as well to individual CBT and may show higher rates of relapse following individual CBT.  Both partners must be willing to participate in a couple-based treatment focused on the person’s depression.

Last updated: 18 February, 2016

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