about therapy

The bpf offers three types of psychotherapy for adults: psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Jungian analysis and psychoanalysis. Additionally, we also offer psychotherapy for children and adolescents (under 21).

They are just some of many different types of psychotherapy. What they have in common is that they are all treatments involving talking to another person who is trained to listen and to think in a sensitive way. The aim of psychotherapy is to understand better how we behave and what motivates us, which can enable change to take place in our lives.

Here you can find out more about these different approaches.

How does it work?

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Jungian analysis involve a process of exploration undertaken by the therapist and patient together in order to gain an understanding of what is brought to therapy consciously and the unconscious processes which take place in our minds and get expressed in all our relationships. Our early experiences are important in shaping the way our minds work and a large part of our mind operates outside of our conscious awareness.

In the psychotherapy sessions the patient is encouraged to reflect on whatever is uppermost in his/her mind during regular 50 minute sessions. Feelings, thoughts, wishes, fears, memories and dreams can be explored within the relationship between the therapist and patient.

The patient is helped to understand the unconscious processes which affect their conscious thinking and behaviour. In this way, psychotherapy can gradually bring about a degree of self understanding, and an increased awareness of how past experiences can affect current behaviour. This enables the patient to find more appropriate ways of being, and of coping with difficulties. It is often very difficult, without specialist help, to know much about our unconscious minds.

Who can be helped by this type of psychotherapy?

In over a century since psychoanalytic and analytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis were first developed, thousands of people in many countries have sought help through this treatment and have found it helpful in making more sense of and feeling better about their lives.

Psychotherapy may be helpful to those who suspect that difficulties in their lives have an emotional or psychological origin. Everyone experiences emotional problems at some stage in life and they are often resolved without outside help. However, sometimes they persist and are repeated in various aspects of our lives. Current issues easily stir up feelings from the past of which we are not consciously aware, and which get in the way of us living fulfilled lives. Emotional problems can be experienced in a variety of ways:

  • Feelings of anxiety and an inability to concentrate or cope
  • Feelings of emptiness, sadness or depression
  • Extreme mood swings or frequent anger, like road rage
  • Low self esteem or lack of confidence resulting in low achievement
  • Difficulty in making or sustaining relationships, or repeatedly becoming involved in unsatisfying or destructive or violent relationships.
  • Sexual problems
  • Social shyness and isolation
  • Addictive or obsessional behaviour which may be related to alcohol, drugs, sex, internet use or gambling
  • Long term difficulties following losses such as bereavement, divorce, or job loss
  • Sleep problems which may include nightmares
  • Long term difficulties following losses such as bereavement, divorce, or job loss
  • Panic attacks
  • Eating disorders
  • Physical symptoms and psychosomatic illnesses
  • As regards children, referrals can arise due to conduct disorder, out of control behaviour and autism
bpf psychotherapists

All bpf psychotherapists have undergone a rigorous and demanding training programme lasting a minimum of 4 years. Many have had extensive previous experience as mental health professionals, in general medicine, clinical psychology, social work or counselling. In addition to this, many members will also have pursued further post-qualifying training.

What is the time commitment for psychotherapy?

Continuity is important in psychotherapy to allow the therapeutic process to take place. The minimum frequency of sessions is therefore weekly. However, more frequent sessions allow the patient and therapist to work at greater depth and patients are quite often seen more frequently, if this is possible.

It is difficult to say how long treatment will take; it can vary from months to several years. The process is gradual and open ended. The timing of the ending of the therapy is usually agreed by discussion between the patient and therapist, although the patient is free to end at any time. Psychotherapy does require a regular commitment of time.

It is often helpful to discuss such matters in an initial exploratory consultation, in which your individual needs can be discussed with an experienced psychotherapist, who can then refer you on to a suitable psychotherapist if it is thought that psychotherapy could be helpful to you.

go to 'get an assessment' page
Is psychotherapy better than prescription drugs?

People who have been prescribed medication may also be helped by psychoanalytic and analytic psychotherapy. Medication is prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms of mood disturbances, such as anxiety or depression, whereas psychotherapy seeks to address the emotional roots of these symptoms.

Some patients may need to be sufficiently stabilised by medication in order to be able to undertake psychotherapy, which can in itself be an emotionally disturbing and sometimes painful process. Occasionally psychotherapists suggest that their patients seek a consultation with their GP if they consider that medication might help them for a time.

How does psychoanalytic psychotherapy compare with CBT or other short term talking treatments?

Matters concerning the suitability of psychotherapy for you can be discussed in an initial exploratory consultation with one of our consultants, at the end of which a considered recommendation can be made about future treatment, taking into account your particular difficulties and circumstances.

go to 'arrange a consultation' page
Is there any research evidence that psychoanalytic psychotherapy really works?

Numbers of studies have been completed and published showing the effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in the UK and overseas and more are under way.

People who are interested can look up Anthony Roth and Peter Fonagy’s book entitled ‘What works for whom? – A Critical Review of Psychotherapy Research’, first published by the Guilford Press in 1996. 

See also: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=talk-therapy-off-couch-into-lab

about our consultation process

How long does the whole process take? (from making contact to seeing the therapist for the first time)

As soon as we receive your questionnaire and administration fee we proceed to allocate a senior psychotherapist to offer you an initial consultation. We try to offer you the name of a therapist you can arrange an appointment for your initial consultation as soon as possible – approximately 2 weeks. Once you have had a consultation, the Clinical Services Coordinator will look at any recommendations made and, if appropriate, place you with a therapist as soon as possible. The time this takes is affected by a number of factors including location, times available for therapy and particular requirements that you may have.

How much does it cost?

Clinical Services will charge an administration fee of £60 to organise a consultation. This fee is not dependant on whether or not you are eventually referred to a bpf psychotherapist. The consultation fee is £90 and should you need a second appointment the total fee will be £120. Ongoing psychotherapy does involve a financial commitment and the fees of our psychotherapists do vary. An agreed fee is discussed at the initial meeting with the therapist you are referred to. The financial commitment is also dependent on how many times a week that you have therapy. Financial considerations can be discussed at the assessment consultation.

If you are applying for the Intensive 3x weekly Low Fee Service at the bpf the administration fee is £30 and the assessment consultation is £75 and should you require two meetings it will be a total £105. Should you be referred to a low fee vacancy, therapy ranges from £10 a session to a maximum on the scheme £25 per session.

What happens during the consultation? What will I be asked? How long is it?

The consultation lasts approximately an hour and a half and it is not unusual to meet for a second appointment. This consultation gives you the opportunity to discuss why you might be seeking psychotherapy now, relationship and work issues, family background, dreams, past experience of counselling and psychotherapy etc.It also offers an opportunity to discuss intimate concerns that may be troubling you in a safe environment.

One of the purposes of an assessment consultation is discuss with you the most helpful way to proceed concerning your request for psychotherapy and to refer you appropriately. 

How do you choose a therapist to do the consultation?

We have a team of highly experienced psychotherapists that offer consultations for Clinical Services. Once your questionnaire is returned, our Clinical Services Coordinator – a bpf psychotherapist, reads through the questionnaire and if appropriate approaches one of our team of assessors. They are chosen for their particular level of experience, location and availability.

What happens during the first session?

Once you are referred to a psychotherapist you will have the opportunity to arrange an initial meeting. During this meeting you may discuss some of the issues that came up in your initial consultation as well as the practical arrangements for your ongoing therapy including, fees, payment methods, session times, frequency, holiday arrangements etc.

What if I want to change my therapist or feel unhappy about the referral to a therapist?

Receiving ongoing psychotherapy requires a level of trust in the psychotherapist that you are seeing. All bpf members are registrants of the British Psychoanalytic Council and adhere to the BPC’s Code of Ethics. It can be helpful to discuss any issues that arise in your therapy with your therapist initially. You will have the opportunity to discuss whether these particular difficulties arise in other significant relationships. However, should you continue to feel uncertain about the referral you can contact Clinical Services.