Peter Kravitz MA (Hons), UKCP
Degrees And Education
- 1980 – 1984 MA (Hons) First Class Politics with Philosophy University of Edinburgh
- 1998 – 2002 UKCP Psychotherapy Training Institute of Transactional Analysis
Psychotherapy can help people access inner resources which they have built up over time to cope with life’s challenges. Sometime we forget we have these, or else we cannot access them, or they are not sufficient. Whether it be in the area of relationships or health or workplace issues, as we move through the decades, disappointment can come as fast and thick as joy. Although this comes with being human, these things can leave us feeling diminished and puzzled. What people bring to therapy often involves the current (or even much delayed) responses to shock, separation and grief. Recently I wrote an Afterword for “Is it still ok to have cuddles?: Explaining breast cancer in words very young children can understand”.
Working with couple issues has always been a significant part of my work. It is normal for long-term relationships to face challenges which may be dramatic such as affairs (or the fear-of-having an affair), or more everyday – becoming utterly exhausted by the routines of daily life. It is also to be expected that the initial romance that brings people together will change in its intensity over time. Sometimes it may seem like ‘this was not how it was meant to be’ or ‘if this is what our relationship has become then it must be over’. Couples often need assistance to clarify values and needs, and then to make realistic requests of each other. This can be difficult to achieve without external support. In addition to partners I work with sibling relationships and also parent/grown-up child tensions.
The distress which trauma brings requires a combination of directness and patience. People often find it hard to believe that sudden events can bring overwhelm in the present even if they have occurred many years before.
Sometimes things might feel stuck or intractable, yet this could be the mind asking for a pause during a piece of longer term work, and is worth tolerating. When the freeze and flight response becomes locked in, it can be hard to find energy just to function adequately in everyday life.
The feeling of ‘Why Me?’ that often comes with chronic illness is something we are quick to squash. We want to be strong and carry on as normal and be of use to the world and no burden on others.
However, at some point we might have to acknowledge that we are more vulnerable than we ever thought would be the case. During the process of accounting for this, the stress on ourselves and those close to us can rise to unsustainable levels. It makes sense to bring some consultation to the situation to help complete communication between people that can otherwise remain unfinished.
Nowadays it is normal for families to shift over time, include new blends of people and morph into more complex patterns than in years past. This may happen without any apparent disagreements. At other times it makes sense for people to come together and discuss, for example, different styles of parenting children, as well as attitudes to sex, money, alcohol and drugs.
The most obvious way we face the anxiety of separation is when a long-term relationship comes to an end. Especially when children are involved it can be beneficial for the parents to meet with a psychotherapist to talk over how best to manage the transition to a way of parenting together when living apart.
The workplace – especially after redundancy or retirement – can trigger fear and anger about the way that an ending came about. These thoughts and feelings in turn may connect up with separation experienced earlier on in life, which can make for an intensity that can be almost too much to deal with as part of daily life.