Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy


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What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?


Psychoanalytic psychotherapy has a number of fundamental assumptions about human experience:

  • That individuals are governed by both conscious and unconscious processes

  • That unresolved relationships and experiences from the past are repeated and re-enacted in the present and can cause much emotional and mental distress

  • That the individual and professional relationship with the psychotherapist is central to the processes of working through the underlying difficulties.

It provides the opportunity to explore, make sense of, and work through the processes which inform feelings, thoughts and actions. The understanding and insight gained can alleviate emotional, mental and physical symptoms, leading to more satisfactory and meaningful ways of conducting one’s life and relationships. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is usually intensive long-term work and requires considerable commitment of time and energy. The frequency of sessions ranges from once to three or more times a week, and is worked out with the psychotherapist.

Sessions last 50 minutes. The length of time a person may be in psychoanalytic psychotherapy is very variable and is determined by the individual’s or couple’s needs. For further details and information about psychoanalytic psychotherapy can be obtained from the British Psychoanalytic Council.

Who can benefit?

Many individuals suffer from a wide range of emotional and mental distress caused by a variety of factors which affect their lives, their relationships, both personal and professional, and their sense of effectiveness at work and in their intimate lives. These difficulties often manifest as depression or anxiety or other painful and confusing emotional and physical symptoms. Some people come in order to make sense of more generalised feelings of loss and emptiness or dissatisfaction. These can be accompanied by overwhelming and inexplicable feelings towards the self and others, such as anger, despair or rootlessness. The insights and benefits gained from this kind of psychotherapeutic work can release an individual’s potential for effective and creative living, in personal relationships, at work and in relation to their own ‘self’.


Who provides the service?

All the psychoanalytic psychotherapists in this service are members of:

  • The Scottish Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists (SAPP)

  • The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)

They may also hold membership of other professional organisations.


How is the quality of service ensured?

The psychoanalytic psychotherapy service staff have undertaken extensive training. The service requires that members have considerable experience, and that they maintain their own continuing professional development. The latter includes consultancy supervision of ongoing work, which is an important quality assurance process. HDS has a complaints procedure available on request.

How much does it cost?

Assessment session of 60-90 minutes - £70 to £80
Sessions of 50 minutes – from £50 by negotiation with the psychotherapist.

Fees are reviewed annually and any changes are implemented from April each year.

Once regular sessions are arranged, absences are normally charged at the usual rate.

Reduced fees
Occasionally vacancies arise for psychotherapy at reduced fees with psychoanalytic psychotherapy trainees. This requires a commitment to attendance three times per week for a minimum of one or two years. There may be a considerable waiting period for this reduced fee service.


What happens next?

When we receive a request for psychotherapy, our service co-ordinator will contact you for an initial discussion, usually within three days of your request. The next step is to arrange an initial assessment with a psychotherapist at their consulting room.

Call 0141 331 2419 or email our clinical team on counselling[at]