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Couples may need help saving locked-down relationships

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The Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) says couples may need help to save or rebuild their relationships after more than 18 months of Covid-related strain.

Members of PACFA’s Australian College of Relationship Counsellors are unsurprised by an Australian National University survey in which nearly a quarter of respondents said their relationships had been more difficult or strained during the past year. The ANU survey of 3000 people was conducted while nearly half of the Australian population was in lockdown.

PACFA President Dr Di Stow said lockdown meant couples were spending more time together than usual and having to collaborate in managing challenges such as working from home, their children’s home learning and Covid-related anxiety.

‘In many ways, the Covid-related lockdowns – necessary as they have been for public health – have been a huge social experiment. Within these unusual conditions, some relationships that were already rocky have broken down while others have become strained to breaking point,’ Dr Stow said.

‘Lockdown has exposed pre-existing trauma and cracks in relationships because couples no longer have the distraction of activities outside the home.’

But she said seeing a relationships counsellor or psychotherapist could help struggling couples work through the issues exposed or exacerbated by lockdown. Relationship counsellors can even help a couple learn how to argue more constructively.

While many Australians have become frustrated by lack of access to a psychologist via a GP referral, they are able to self-refer to a counsellor or psychotherapist. Australians seeking relationships counselling can use PACFA’s ‘Find a therapist’ function on to find a counsellor or psychotherapist by locality and modality (couples therapy).

In a recent survey of PACFA members, more than 60% of respondents said they could see a new client within a fortnight.

There are also resources available on the Australian College of Relationship Counsellors (ACRC) website about common issues affecting relationships such as communication breakdown, conflict and losing the ‘spark’.

Source – Medianet

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