I place a lot of importance on making sure I spend time doing things that are important to me and that help inform my work and practice. Here are some of them.
The following is an extract from a recent Guardian article written by Andrew Anthony who interviewed Dawn as part of an article on couples separating in later life.
'If the announcement last week that Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced took observers by surprise, it nonetheless conforms to a growing trend of later-life separation. Bill Gates is 65, and his soon to be ex-wife is 56. In the UK the over-65s buck the trend of falling divorce rates. They’ve even earned their own demographic designation: silver splitters.
A grey social revolution is under way with people in their late 50s and 60s increasingly leaving marriages just when they’re expected to be most settled. A number of factors are at play but two in particular stand out. One is children going off to college or leaving home. While the empty-nest syndrome may prompt melancholy, it can also end the obligation to “stay together for the children”. It’s probably no coincidence that the Gateses’ youngest child is 18.
The other divorce-driver is the prospect of a long retirement. With life expectancy continuing to extend deep into the 80s, that’s an awful lot of potential time to be spent with a partner about whom one has nagging reservations. The Gateses’ statement explaining their decision – they no longer “believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives” – suggests the reservations won out.
It used to be thought that by the Gates’ age most of our growing was done. But just as we’re told that 60 is the new 50, which is in turn the new 40, this increasing sense of ageing youthfulness comes with an appetite for change. It’s a cultural shift that Dawn Kaffel has also witnessed up close in her position as a relationship counsellor in London. She estimates that she’s seeing two or three times the number of over-60s compared with 20 years ago.
“I think it’s something about getting towards another stage in life and people thinking it’s their last chance to find happiness,” she says.
If anything, she says, the various lockdowns of the past 14 months have only added to the desire to seize hold of life. “People are going to want to get re-energised and move on,” she predicts. Kaffel anticipates a major surge of divorce among older couples in the forthcoming months and years. I think the statistics are going to be shocking,” she says, which may be good news for divorce lawyers.'
To read the full article please click here
The following is an extract from an article written by Louise Chunn on behalf of the Welldoing organisation. She interviewed Dawn on this topic.
"I have been talking to a lot of therapists in the last week as I have been asked to write a magazine feature about what therapists and counsellors are seeing in the Covid period. Their answers are varied, but in brief: anxiety, anger, depression, ennui, fear is what they're hearing about. Clients may not be talking about the coronavirus – but as one therapist said to me "it's in the room anyway" – but the pandemic has turned life on its axis, making everything uncertain, particularly for people who are at times of life change: teenagers, students, young parents, retirees, those who are ill.
North London couples counsellor Dawn Kaffel too has seen couples enter into counselling during the past eight months because they can see it as an opportunity to "spend time together in a way they never had before. They can reflect a lot on what’s missing ... it’s a unique one-off time, they will always remember this."
Dawn was interviewed by Jessica Powell for a recent article in the British Medical Journal:
'The perils of pillow talk with the other doctor in your life'.
It’s tempting, isn’t it? If you’re a couple of doctors, it’s hard to resist getting home from a shift and
talking non-stop shop: “Do you think I got that diagnosis right? What do you think of the latest from Hancock?” And as social distancing has dragged on (more or less, depending on where you live) and you’ve seen fewer friends and family who don’t know their NICU from their NSAID to dilute or distract, you might have found medic chat has dominated more than ever. Please click here to read the full article.
I have been working with a company, Employees Matter, that delivers webinars to enlightened companies and organisations to help employees manage their work life balance. I worked with Barclays in how we navigate major changes in our relationships when a first baby arrives and when children leave home. With Deloitte we explored why we need relationships and how to keep them alive and growing with all the challenges that confront our lives.
I work with a charity that raises money to support Jewish students in former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Bosnia and Poland) through their university studies and beyond. Some have experienced lasting effects of war and unemployment in their families.
A highlight of my working year is my annual working trip to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Krakow and Warsaw in Poland to meet the students individually. I offer help with any difficulties they may be experiencing.
Update on my work in Sarajevo during the pandemic: Unfortunately I am unable to travel to Sarajevo this year to see the students. The situation is dire for them because their universities are not that efficient in providing online work and it is having a devastating effect on their mental health. Thankfully using Zoom, we are able to keep in touch and share their concerns and help them keep positive. But no sign of the vaccine there yet.