March saw a 32% increase in reported mental health issues–related to stress induced by the global crisis. The worries vary from person-to-person but there are similar themes: health, safety, finances, social withdrawal, relationships, and personal conflict. Collectively, we have a lot on our plates and it may feel instinctual to focus on the tangible issues like budgeting efficiently to pay the mortgage on time or stocking up on enough food to feed a handful of mouths for the entire week. But, psychologists urge people to prioritize their mental health treatment during these unprecedented times too. As anxiety and depression are rampant, it’s important to do what you can for your mental health.
Conflict at Home
Currently, the majority of people have been ordered to stay in their homes 24/7 unless it is absolutely necessary to step out. We are being faced with an unusual new way of life where we see the people in our household for a span of days without any alone time. The confinement and gravity of circumstances combined are leaving people on edge, particularly reactive toward their loved ones. For couples, the heightened emotions can come with the price of separation if there are underlying unresolved issues and weak communication skills. To put it into perspective, China saw a drastic increase in divorce after stay-at-home orders were lifted. Fortunately there are ways to mitigate problems to prevent the worst case scenario post-quarantine.
When people think of couples therapy, many will see it as a last resort to save a relationship. However, therapy is a preventive strategy to keep a relationship from going south and to better understand a partner. Therapy is good for couples that feel happy and secure as well as it can provide them with a space to express themselves freely. Couples counseling may help sour relationships, even if it is to prepare the couple for their next relationships. So, couples therapy during quarantine is a healthy measure to take for all couples. After all, we all have to learn ways to coexist with others in the same home.
Couples therapy involves all people in a relationship to be in a room with a mental health professional to act as a mediator and objective point of view for the relationship. A therapist will set a “no secrets” rule, meaning information shared explicitly with the therapist will not be kept confidential to the other partner–a therapist will not keep an affair or addiction hidden because it will create an unethical alliance with one partner. Sessions will include going deep into each person’s childhood to understand why they have current patterns that affect the relationship, a focus on each partner’s communication style and how they may tweak it to better communicate with their partner, as well as a general comb-through of present conflicts and how to find solutions together. A therapist can also provide couples with effective ways to cope alone, within the same space.
While you may not be able to physically attend therapy due to restrictions or your health, there are options to start your couples therapy journey online. Find a therapist that resonates with both you and your partner, and that has experience working with issues your relationship is facing. And if you are currently in couples counseling, do not quit now. Continue working with your therapist through virtual platforms as it can take up to six months to get back on track in your relationship. You can ask your licensed therapist if they are open to virtual sessions for you and your partner to join together, or if necessary, through separate devices.
To learn more about couples therapy in Los Angeles, call our trauma treatment center at (818) 651-0725.