About Dr. Gravitz

About Dr. Gravitz

Herbert L. Gravitz, Ph.D., received his Master's Degree and Doctor of Philosophy in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1969. A licensed psychologist, his full-time private practice was located in Santa Barbara, California for decades. He specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of the effects of illness, addiction, and other trauma on the individual, the family, and society.

He is widely known for his work in systemic traumatology, specifically the impact of alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia on every member of the family. During graduate school, Dr. Gravitz briefly worked as a psychiatric aide at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, Maryland, an internationally known treatment facility for psychotic individuals. In the 1970s, he headed the University of California at Santa Barbara Counseling Center's Crisis Team. In the 1980s, he consulted on staff development with the Santa Barbara Psychiatric Emergency Team (PET). At the same time, he was the psychological consultant to Sanctuary House, an alternative treatment facility where he worked with patients, or "residents," who experienced serious mental illness. He started the first group psychotherapy program for the residents of Sanctuary House.

Dr. Gravitz is a Founding Member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), and a Founding Member of the Board of Directors of Memory-To-Action, a not-for-profit foundation to avert future genocide by recollecting and memorializing the Nazi Holocaust and other holocausts. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Healing Center Foundation in Santa Barbara. He has earned Diplomates in Psychotherapy, Traumatic Stress, Forensic Psychology, and he is Board Certified in Illness Trauma and a Fellow of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, the highest honor the Academy can bestow.

Dr. Gravitz has authored or co-authored books and numerous articles on trauma, healing, and recovery. During the last 25 years, he has led workshops and seminars throughout the United States on the impact of alcoholism and major mental and physical illness on the family, including workshops for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, Esalen Institute, the California Psychological Association, and the International Ericksonian Congress.

Dr. Gravitz has more than 35 years of clinical experience with people of all ages. He is known for utilizing the family as the core context for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. His interventions take into account the whole family, even if only one member of the family is present. He stresses the importance of intergenerational healing and strives to incorporate as many generations as possible in his innovative treatment protocols. Known for his pioneering work in "timeless" therapy, he conducts sessions with families and couples that do not stop until everyone in the room agrees.  Dr. Gravitz has the rare capacity to see ahead to what the family, couple, or individual looks like after they have healed and uses this image as a virtual, proactive, and positive guide toward healing. He quickly learns what each person needs, and constantly focuses on what the individual or family does correctly to forward the recovery process. Knowing the family is as strong as its strongest member, he elicits the best from all members and holds them accountable to what they, not he, want. Believing that it is seldom too late to have a happy family, Dr. Gravitz has found that it is never too late to have a life worth living and a loss worth surmounting.

As someone who has personally experienced a great deal of trauma and injury, Dr. Gravitz is able to teach others the knowledge and attitudes needed to cope with the challenges that life can present. Finally, there is an experienced advocate who shares the untold story of the tens of millions of family members who live under the often-devastating impact of a loved one's injuries. He brings attention to this vast hidden, and frequently neglected, population of sufferers who live under the influence of illness, addiction, and trauma. 

Dr. Gravitz performed the following customized services:

  •     Individual Psychotherapy/Consultation
  •     Group Psychotherapy/Consultation
  •     Couple Therapy/Consultation
  •     Family Therapy/Consultation
  •     Intergenerational Healing
  •     Timeless Sessions
  •     Traumatic Event Processing
  •     Clinical Hypnosis
  •     Workshops/Seminars
  •     Public Speaking
  •     Author
  •     Expert Witness: Trauma, Illness, and Addiction
  •     Comprehensive Referral Network