When Depression or Anxiety Enters into Couples Counseling

It’s no secret that anxiety or depression can be difficult to handle. But what about the impact on the person’s relationship? I’ve seen a number of people in my couples counseling practice where depression or anxiety is wreaking havoc on the individual, their partner – and thus the relationship itself.

Depression or anxiety often aren’t the presenting issues when a couple comes for counseling. Actually, they can be quite secondary to the primary goals such as improved communication, working through resentment, infidelity, family crisis and the like.  But if it starts to become evident that one partners in the dynamic are depressed or anxious, I’ll want to explore further into how this impacts the relationship. It usually does.  In fact, it often must be addressed to successfully get through the other problems at hand.

The best case scenario is both partners acknowledging the depression or anxiety exists, impacts them and there is willingness to look at solutions.  I will usually refer out to individual therapy so that the partner can be working on themselves – while we work on the dynamic in their relationship.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of with tools for emotional and relationship health and is the author of Therapy-At-Home Workbooks® for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in,, and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers online therapy to residents of California.

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