I am a psychoanalyst in training based in central Bristol, offering psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy to adults, children and adolescents
Psychoanalysis is a talking treatment: it offers a confidential, non-judgmental space where someone can speak openly to another person about whatever it is they are suffering from. By trying to put things into words which may not have been put into words before, it can be possible for something about this suffering to change, and for different ways of doing things to become available.
It is based on the premise that there are thoughts and ideas that are unconscious — things we don't want to know about — which affect us in ways we don't always understand. Without knowing why, we can then find ourselves confronted with disturbing symptoms, distressing feelings, or repeated patterns of thought or behaviour that cause us pain. Sometimes it is not so clear what the problem is, but there may be a more general sense that something is wrong.
As a treatment, psychoanalysis is different from many other forms of therapy in that it does not focus on trying to get rid of these difficulties straight away; rather, it provides the time and space for a person to speak as freely as possible about whatever comes to mind, in order to find out more about what is not working in one's life. By talking like this to someone who listens in a very particular way, one may be able to hear new and surprising things in what one says.
My training is in Lacanian psychoanalysis: this is a way of working with people which pays careful attention to the specific words and ways of speaking that someone uses, and which explores the significance of this language in their personal history. It is a practice that rejects any ideas of what is "normal" or how a person should be, but respects what is unique about each individual, and aims towards the creation of their own particular ways of dealing with whatever is troubling or painful to them.
When does it happen?
Usually sessions will be at least once a week at a regular time; it may be useful to meet more frequently, but this can be discussed in each individual case. The sessions themselves do not have a fixed length, but can last up to 50 minutes.
How long the treatment goes on for is up to you: for some people, short-term work is enough, but as the psychoanalytic process takes time, others may benefit from a longer-term treatment and the more careful exploration that this allows. In any case, there is no contract or fixed timescale and it is your choice whether or not to continue at any point.
How much does it cost?
Fees for the sessions will be discussed at the first meeting, and are negotiated based on your individual circumstances and what it is possible to pay. As psychoanalysis can be a long-term process, it is important that the cost can be sustained over time; fees can be negotiated, for example, in relation to the frequency of sessions per week.
I have some low-cost places available for people who would not otherwise be able to afford treatment.
There is no charge for the initial consultation.
How does it start?
To arrange an initial consultation, or if you have any queries, please get in touch using the contact details below.
The initial meeting is an opportunity to discuss your situation and what has led you to want to talk to someone at this time. It also enables you to find out more about what I offer; we can then decide whether we think we could work together, and if psychoanalysis seems like it might be a good approach for you.
Psychoanalytic therapy in the Lacanian tradition does not make a distinction between work with adults and work with children in terms of the aims of the treatment, but there are some practical differences. The offer is the same: that of a confidential, non-judgmental space for someone to speak about what is difficult in their life in a way that may not have been possible before. The aim is not to "fix" a child, but rather to listen to them and to help them to articulate whatever it is that is troubling them, so that they might be able to discover more about it and to explore their own solutions.
Something that is particular to work with younger children is that it may involve play and activities like drawing as ways of enabling the child to symbolize what is important to them. Also, the nature of working with children means that the family will be involved in the treatment in some way, although the specific arrangements will be different for each child based on their age and what would work best for them. If you think that your child could make use of psychoanalytic therapy, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to discuss any questions that you might have.
Clinically, I work with both adults and children in private practice. I have also worked as a therapist in schools as part of my training, and aside from this I have over ten years' experience working with children and young people as a qualified teacher in a range of settings.