Married couples coming to therapy on rise in pandemic: Expert
As the world just got through a Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Anadolu Agency spoke with a family therapist in Turkey about how the pandemic has affected both married and unmarried couples psychologically.
Therapist Güneş Küçük said that the pandemic impacted married and unmarried couples from different angles and at different levels.
“As this process continued, somatic conditions such as anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, acute stress disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder began to be seen more,” said Küçük.
Mentioning that families were affected at different levels according to their cultural, structural, social, and economic status within themselves, she told the agency that families with “strong social support were stronger in coping with the process despite everything.”
“Families who had good peer-to-peer communication before the pandemic were able to overcome this situation easily. Families that had problematic communication before the pandemic were more affected by this process. That’s what I saw from my clients.”
She added that, especially in families experiencing loss, the mourning process and the trauma wrought by the disease also started to uncover psychological reactions.
She also noted that there had been an increase among couples seeking assistance through therapy during the pandemic.
“In this process, family members who had to stay indoors experienced violence, conflict and other difficulties in their relationships. There was an increase in alcohol, substance and drug use. I would say that increasing stressors and declining social ties have laid the groundwork for domestic violence,” Küçük noted.
Unmarried vs married couples
When asked about whether married or unmarried couples had the most difficulties overcoming the effects of this process, she told the agency that the pandemic tested partners’ commitment to each other and their outlook on life.
“Uncertainties, unpredictable [conditions] and misinformation in the pandemic process led to despair and stress among unmarried couples,” stated Küçük.
“During this process, couples who didn’t spend quality time together and couldn’t get together frequently decided to break up. Those who decided to marry also felt the sadness of not being able to have a wedding ceremony as they’ve imagined.”
Underlining that couples with strong communication and social ties survived this process more comfortably, Küçük said: “Individuals living alone had a lower state of endurance than others.”
Küçük mentioned that in couples, both sides should focus on their own well-being, as well as their partners’ happiness.