About Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

A Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist learns to carefully attune to what is happening in a session and attempts to meet a person where they are in the present moment. 

This involves the therapist engaging at a deep level with what is brought into the session. Finding a therapist to fit with an individual is important, along with specific psychoanalytic training. 

It can vary how long it may take for shifts to be consciously felt or for external change to occur. The therapist has the task of observing and monitoring whether therapy may be helpful to an individual. It helps if you bring your doubts and concerns about therapy to them.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy differs from other treatments that actively give advice or behavioural strategies. Sometimes behavioural treatment is recommended, such as with behaviours that continue to escalate and interfere with development.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy usually develops into an open-ended exploratory process and the aim may be to understand and shift longstanding emotional and relationship difficulties or inflexible patterns of thinking and behaviour. Change at this level takes time and commitment. It may involve more frequent sessions to allow time to explore the self at depth.

Ending is a crucial part of psychotherapy therefore it is best to plan the date in advance and to think together about the changes you may be leaving with and what has not been possible to gain.

Research evidence supporting the effectiveness and lasting benefits gained through psychodynamic therapy is analysed in a paper by J. Shedler in the American Psychologist (Feb/Mar 2010).

You can read this paper at:


In 2015, research evidence was published in World Psychiatry from the Tavistock Adult Depression Study showing the efficacy and benefits of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy for patients suffering from chronic depression, in a comparison to treatments offered in the NHS such as antidepressants, short term counselling and cognitive behavioural treatment. 

To view a summary click here.

Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy

Couples may come to therapy because they feel unhappy or uncertain about aspects of the relationship. The therapist attends to what is happening in the couple relationship, while also thinking about what each person is bringing into the relationship.

This can allow a new space to develop for the relationship, where problems and areas of conflict can be more safely considered and worked with. 

This particular approach is not an active, problem-solving therapy, but more about gaining insight into deeper levels of the connection in the relationship. This can lead to new ways of communicating and thinking through issues together.

Issues may include -

  • Communication problems and conflict
  • Issues around separation or divorce
  • Family and parenting issues
  • Commitment issues or affairs
  • Sexual or fertility difficulties
  • Depression or illness
  • Life changes and crises

Couples therapy can help you to identify what is happening between you, facilitate you to work through issues together, or to make difficult decisions. 

Sessions may be arranged weekly or as appropriate.