Karina & Peter’s Story

Close up of couple in bed together

Karina and Peter emailed Tavistock Relationships for help in March 2009.

They wanted help because Karina had been feeling very down. She wondered if their relationship was worth anything because she was so fed up with the long hours that Peter was working.

Karina felt Peter was never available to help her with the children and thought that she might as well be on her own. The couple came into the psychotherapy service and were seen by two therapists who offered them a regular evening appointment. The therapists asked them quite a lot of questions and found out that both Karina and Peter had experienced some very painful and difficult things in their childhoods.

At first the sessions focused on Karina’s anger at Peter and her suspicions that he was having an affair. Peter was angry at Karina’s lack of trust and felt unsure whether the therapy was helping. The couple had not had a sexual relationship for many months and Peter felt very upset about this. He wondered if they should have some sex therapy, but the therapists gently pointed out that the issues seemed more to do with their relationship than any sexual problem. Gradually, it became clear that Peter felt very anxious about losing his job and indeed in November 2009, he was made redundant. The couple worried that they would not be able to afford to come to their therapy, but their fee was reduced in line with their reduced income.

Peter was now at home with Karina and whilst being unemployed had its own difficulties; it gave the couple a chance to spend 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 realized he had been working so many hours in order to stop this catastrophe happening again, not realising that his efforts were misguided. After four months Peter got a new job and Karina has started to work part time too. The couple are still coming to see their therapists. They find the help they have had very useful in many ways. They are much happier together and they have also been able to work on some of their own personal issues too, resolving issues from childhood that had come alive in their marriage.