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Karina and Peter

The issue

Karina reached out for help because she felt the long hours her partner Peter was putting in at work were taking their toll on their relationship and Karina’s mental health.

The process

Conflict in a relationship about work – for example when one person feels that their partner’s focus on work is leaving too little time and energy left for the relationship – is a common reason why couples turn to TR for help.

At the time of approaching TR, Karina felt that her partner Peter was never available to support her with the children and figured that she might as well be on her own. TR offered the couple psychotherapy, and they were seen by two therapists who offered them a regular evening appointment.

During the early sessions, the couple were helped to talk about some of the painful and difficult things which each partner had experienced in their childhoods. The therapy also focused to begin with on Karina’s anger at Peter and her suspicions that he was having an affair. Peter was angered by his partner’s lack of trust in him. The couple had not had a sexual relationship for many months, something which Peter in particular felt very upset about.

Over time, it emerged that Peter had been feeling very anxious about losing his job; indeed, during the course of the therapy, Peter was in fact made redundant. At this point the couple were naturally anxious about whether they could continue to afford the therapy, but their therapists agreed to lower the cost of the therapy in line with their reduced income.

While Peter’s being at home rather than work presented the couple with some difficulties, it also gave them the chance to spend more time together. In their therapy, Peter explored how his own father had lost his job when Peter was a boy and how this, he believed, had led to his parent's divorce. Peter realised he had been working so many hours in order to stop this catastrophe happening again, not realising that his efforts were misguided.

The outcome

After four months Peter got a new job and Karina then started to work part-time too. The couple have found the help they’ve received very useful, not least because they have been able to work on some of their own previously unexplored childhood issues which had caused difficulties in their marriage.

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