If the voices are in my head...Why talk to my partner?
It has long been understood that partners of people with a psychiatric disorder carry a burden beyond that of other couples. In addition to "illness specific burdens" ; fear, self-doubt, powerlessness, stigmatization, loss of social network, uncertainty & anger they also carry a load directly related to their partnership including; 'conflicts and accusations, changes in sexual interest, unfamiliar gender-specific daily chores, grief over loss of security & the envisioned future.' In a longitudinal study of 202,959 married and co-habiting couples, Joutsenniemi et al (2011) reported that irrespective of sociodemographic & relationship characteristics, somatic & particularly psychiatric symptoms in one person associate with psychiatric disorders in the non diagnosed partner. They recommend intervention with both parties to prevent additional psychiatric morbidity & create a healthy family enviroment to enhance recovery.
Joutsenniemi,K. Moustgaard,H. Koskinen,S. Ripatti,S.& Martikainen,P (2011) Psychiatric comorbidity in couples: a longitudinal study of 202,959 married and cohabiting individuals Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 46:623–633
Bower Place is conducting a workshop on this topic in June, see below for details.
Couples & Mental Illness
14th June 2pm - 5pm
Presented by Catherine Sanders & Michele Banks
Mental health difficulties in one partner inevitably impacts both the relationship and life of the other. There is also significant evidence that problems in a couple relationship can lead to mental health problems. Whilst the recovery approach talks about the inclusion of relationships and networks, the restraints of workloads, confidentiality, the centrality of the client and availability and/or interest of the partner often result in the individual becoming the focus of treatment. In this participatory workshop, we will consider the benefits of working with the partners of people with mental health diagnoses; discuss and contrast different approaches, and the processes engaged in to select and apply them. We will explore the potential and hazards in enlisting the partner as your assistant in intervention, couple therapy where one of the couple is in significant distress, and working exclusively with those aspects of the relationship that appear connected to the person’s symptoms. We will consider the role of parenting, as a key aspect of the couple relationship, although the impact of parental illness on parenting and child development will not be a major focus of this workshop.
To register click here