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When Mental Illness Strikes: What Couples Can Do

Can such a relationship as ours survive?

Our relationship was going along great…until my partner was struck by mental illness. We love each other. What must we do to keep our relationship strong and thriving?

Mental illness is tough on couples. (Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. in PsycCentral) “The stress level often stretches into a crisis mode in which managing the illness becomes, for all intents and purposes, the sole function of the relationship,” (John Duffy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist)
“The mental illness has a way of wanting to direct the movement of the relationship, rather than the individual partners”. (Jeffrey Sumber, MA, LCPC, Chicago psychotherapist and relationship coach) In fact each partner has individual responsibility for his/her own care and well-being.

Remember that couples have the ultimate control. “It is not true that a mental illness can destroy a relationship. People destroy a relationship,”
Here’s what you can do to maintain a healthy relationship rather than a relationship overwhelmed and steered by mental illness. (Sumber)
Work on your marriage as you would without the mental illness intruding. Honor and care for your marriage as you would without the presence of the mental illness.
Seek individual counseling If you can’t “communicate your feelings in a nonjudgmental or a nonblaming manner,” voice them in individual counseling. This way, you can process them in a healthy way when you’re with your partner.
Seek couples counseling The mental illness can drive your relationship, couples counseling can be a tremendous help.

This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. You need not go through this alone. Our Lead Online Counselor, Matthew Hunt, has pursued doctoral- level studies in Marriage and Family therapy and Emotionally Focused therapy (EFT) under the tutelage of renowned Dr. Sue Johnson, a student of the notable Dr. Edward John Mostyn Bowlby (British psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst). Matthew has used this knowledge in his 15+ years counseling individuals, couples, and families, modifying treatment to fit the particular needs of each couple.

Typically, such therapy involves weekly sessions for both partners (together and separately) over time. Generally, he helps you as a couple identify the mental health problems of the partner so that you may know the diagnosis of the illness and its treatment options. Maintain positive communication and avoid blaming. You both can then begin to develop more positive ways of interacting with each other such as checking in with each other regularly; creating a secure connection by learning to provide comfort, support, nurturance and care for one another and admiration each other that caused you to get together in the first place. The relationship then becomes a safe haven where you as partners can turn to one another for love and be both intimate and interdependent with each other. The end goal is to learn from your struggles, recreating the emotional closeness and connection that you shared before this crisis.

With Matthew’s support, you both can get through these stressful times. “The truth is that if two people love one another and are willing to make things work, they can with good process and impeccable communication,” (Sumber). Matthew recognizes the level of courage and tenacity exhibited on your part.

And… You needn’t leave your favorite/ place. Nor must you wait for an appointment. . You can begin in 24 hours or less.
You may contact him now- 24/7. Your first consultation is free.
He awaits your call, email or text directly (Check out his chat line). If you want a face-to-face, he can Skype you on your computer, cell phone or tablet.

I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!