Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is a core NHS profession with rigorously regulated standards and training, approved by the Department of Health. This means we are trained over a number of years in clinical and university settings to specialise in treating a full range of moderate to severe mental health problems in 2 to 25 year olds. We often work in the NHS as specialists as well as in private clinics.
Our specialist training is rooted in psychoanalysis and is an evidence-based form of therapy which can effectively treat emotional problems and a wide range of mental health conditions such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety in young people.
Psychoanalysis started with the discoveries of Sigmund Freud a century ago, but its methods have changed and developed a great deal since then. It has the most developed theoretical base of all the talking treatments and has had a significant influence on all of them.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy works with the unconscious - the thoughts, urges and memories that are outside of awareness but can drive the problems that makes no ‘rational’ sense. For example, depression without an obvious cause, traumatic memories that will not leave, or self destructive behaviours we don't appear able to stop. It works by exploring patterns of behaviour, families, ideas, relationships, dreams, memories and significant events to support a young person in understanding what, how and why a problem came to be - and how that problem might have its own logic and function in their life. This process is experiential, using the working relationship in the room, and the skills the psychotherapist is trained in, to support the young person in developing new perspectives, to reframe what has not been working and open up new possibilities and change. With teenagers and young adults this will involve speaking; with younger children or those who struggle to speak, we may use toys and art materials to support this process. Unlike therapies that take a ‘one size fits all’ approach, offering up generic advice or ‘tips and tricks’ to manage better, psychoanalytic psychotherapy recognises each person is unique and seeks deep seated, long lasting change.