Pandemic placing emphasis on need for marriage therapy

Marriage therapy needs heightened by pandemic-related stress
Posted at 1:44 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 23:43:05-04

Pandemic-related anxiety and changes in schedules are putting pressure on lots of our relationships.

Maybe you're both sharing space working from home or someone was laid off. It can be a stressful time for couples and we asked an expert what can help.

It’s an unprecedented time. And it's leading to more visits at "he said, she said” couples counseling.

“I’ve already had to hire two more clinicians, we are having 30-40 phone calls a week,” said Tarah Kerwin, a marriage and family therapist.

Kerwin says when someone is anxious, it can be harder for them be attentive to their partner.

“They are not being heard,” Kerwin said. “They are being very personally reactive to each other."

Kerwin says you can manage the pressure by simply asking how you can support the other person. Also have a codeword for when you are too stressed out.

“That means I cannot be my best self right now,” Kerwin said. “This conversation will go nowhere good, I definitely want to come back to it but right now I need to take an itty-bitty time out."

Working from home can also create issues.

“A lot of partners would get frustrated because they are trying to do home office work but then one partner is like can you do this with the kids or help with breakfast,” Kerwin said. “So we had them set up systems."

Kerwin says to check in with each other in the mornings and schedule your workday with a few breaks for family time.

“If you are really frustrated with your partner, that must mean you love them a lot and care about them deeply, because otherwise you'd be more ambivalent to that,” she said.

Any transition or change can put pressure on a couple.

Kerwin says learning to lean on each other now can help your relationship rebound stronger than ever.