The couple therapy charity Tavistock Relationships has published its annual report, revealing 1,500 couples and individuals were supported last year, with 64% of those starting therapy within the clinical range of psychological distress, moving to a non-clinical range by the end of their therapy.
Established after the Second World War as a response to the crisis facing families who had been traumatised and displaced by the war, Tavistock Relationships specialises in delivering relationship counselling and psychotherapy, training, and research.
Tavistock Relationships’ therapists have continued to support people throughout the pandemic by switching services online. From April 2020 to March 2021, 120 therapists delivered 20,000 sessions of therapy online to couples and individuals, and in addition.
The charity’s Reducing Parental Conflict Programme (RPC), funded by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), supported over 1,300 parents across seven London boroughs and four counties. Evaluation of the programme shows significant improvements in mental health and relationships were achieved across all of these services, with children’s well-being also increasing due to their parents’ receiving help.
Andrew Balfour, CEO of Tavistock Relationships, explained: ‘While some may have benefited from the opportunity to spend more time with their partners and families during the pandemic, life has become much harder for a significant number of families. The pandemic has meant that we have been much more reliant on our family relationships for support. Where there have been underlying vulnerabilities in these relationships, these have inevitably become amplified.’
‘Never before has the link between our relationships and our mental health been so apparent. Family relationships are under strain. Indeed, the pandemic experience has brought home what research has long shown: relationship health is mental health in many respects.’
‘When relationships are in trouble, our mental health suffers. With effective relationship therapy, we see significant improvements in mental health as well as in relationship quality.’
‘Year on year, figures released by NHS Digital indicate that couple therapy is one of the most effective psychological treatments for depression and anxiety. This is so important not just for the well-being of parents, but for their children too.’
‘Those children whose parents are in poor mental health are more vulnerable to developing such problems themselves, and this association has increased since the pandemic – as our most vulnerable families have become more disadvantaged than ever.’
‘Research reveals that prolonged inter-parental conflict can have a damaging impact on children’s emotional and behavioural development. This sustained conflict can lead to poor concentration, depression and anxiety.’
‘The problem which the government’s Reducing Parental Conflict programme was initially intended to address – namely, inter-generational cycles of deprivation caused by the damaging impacts of inter-parental conflict on children’s developmental outcomes – has been made worse by the pandemic.’
‘We are proud to have been able to continue to support couples and families facing relationships and mental health challenges throughout the pandemic and to have been able to expand the reach of free parenting programmes through the training of staff in a growing number of local authorities across the country.’