As an alternative to marriage counselling and therapy for couples we developed a program consisting of supportive consultations for couples on coping with medical issues. Part of our interest is how couples are affected by issues such as postpartum depression and chronic illness in children. In addition, we are helping couples cope with medical issues such as coronary heart disease, cancer, chronic pain, fertility problems, respiratory disorders, HIV/AIDS.
Such episodes of critical illness have a significant impact on the couple. The partner who is experiencing the symptoms may feel guilty about placing additional demands on the spouse. He or she may also feel that they are not getting the right support from their partner even though the partner is trying to help.
This usually happens due to miscommunication between partners. The partner who is not experiencing medical symptoms at the time may feel tired and emotionally drained because the illness usually places demands on both partners. We help couples communicate openly about their needs and establish a safe, non-judgmental environment in which partners can re-negotiate established roles, responsibilities and boundaries.