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Coronavirus: Struggling couples should seek online help before reaching ‘breaking point’

Lockdown measures will put huge strain on relationships and family unit, experts say

24 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot


The Tavistock Relationships service is available to couples “whatever their financial circumstances”

COUPLES struggling with new lockdown measures are being invited to try online therapy sessions before they “reach breaking point”.

With many families adapting to life in a small space, with schools closed and restrictions on going outdoors, there are concerns that problems will “quickly escalate”.

There are concerns domestic violence, often hidden in the home, will rise and that children will suffer if they see parents arguing.

Tavistock Relationships, a charity, has switched from face-to-face therapy to webcam sessions.

Chief executive Andrew Balfour said: “Research shows us that conflict between parents can have a very negative effect on children’s development in terms of mental and physical health. With families forced to isolate and children no longer able to go to school, problems are potentially going to quickly escalate with no immediate prospect of relief. We urge people to seek expert help before they reach breaking point.

He added: “Relationships are hard to do at the best of times, but right now, as the Coronavirus is leading to massive changes in the way we live our lives, healthy relationships are going to be hugely important for getting us through self-isolation, social distancing and the income security pressures that so many of us will be facing. So that we can continue to offer support to couples and families, until the current emergency is over, all our therapy sessions will be online.”

The Tavistock runs relationship counselling for thousands of people each year, with 1,170 sessions run online last year.

Its fees are charged according to “capacity to pay” and there is “no minimum fee”. Its operators say “anyone can access Tavistock Relationships’ services, whatever their financial circumstances”.

For more information about Tavistock Relationships services, visit or call 020 7380 1960.

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