What can I expect from a session?

You might have many questions when you first think about finding therapy. Here is some useful information.

What training do they have?

Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapists hold a position of great responsibility towards their patients and their profession. Their preparation and training in becoming a therapist is both very lengthy and rigorous. We require training organisations to maintain the highest standards, particularly regarding the selection and admission to trainings of those wanting to become psychotherapists. Many applicants for training will already be graduate members of one of the core professions such as medicine, psychology, teaching or social work, and will possess relevant experience in the mental health field. All our accredited training organisations are required to provide for the continuing professional development of their members.

What can I expect from a session?

Psychotherapy takes place in a safe confidential space. It is usual for it to begin with a consultation where you will discuss whether and how your treatment will proceed. You may arrange to see your therapist once a week sitting face to face or via teletherapy. Or you may arrange to see them more frequently, up to five times a week. This is called psychoanalysis. If you commence an analysis you will probably lie down on a couch with your analyst sitting behind or beside you. Some psychoanalytic practitioners may seem less socially responsive and immediately reassuring than other therapists, who may take more of a trainer or coaching role. You will be encouraged to say whatever is going through your mind and your analyst will be closely tuned in and empathic, but will also be more neutral, keeping personal feelings and reactions private. If you are seeking help as a couple, it is likely that most of your sessions will take place together. All our psychotherapists will allow you to speak freely and will help you notice hidden patterns and meanings in what you are saying or how you are responding to other people, day to day. The analytical therapist will also be interested in the way you are relating to them, and how that links with other, possibly problematic relationships in your life.

How long does treatment last?

A typical session will last 50 minutes, though couple, group or family work may be longer. It is impossible to say how long treatment through psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy will take. Because it is a therapeutic process, and the time it takes depends on the individual circumstances, it can vary from many months to several years.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy typically lasts much longer than cognitive behaviour therapy. You may need more than one session per week because it aims to influence deeper layers of the personality, and the sources of the troubling thoughts and behaviour. The most comprehensive form of it is a full psychoanalysis, where the patient sees a psychoanalyst four or five times a week for several years.

How much will it cost?

Psychoanalytic treatments can produce significant rewards and people find themselves freed to live life more fully, to be more creative in all sorts of ways, and to better relate to and care for others. In common with many other professional services, fees can vary quite widely between practitioners, depending on experience, location and time of sessions. Fees are discussed and agreed before treatment begins.

In some training organisations, therapy is available at a reduced fee. Treatment is usually conducted by experienced professionals who are completing their psychotherapy training and all such work is closely supervised by a senior practitioner. Many of our Member Institutions (MIs) offer places on their reduced fee treatment schemes. We also have several training organisations which operate NHS or Charitable Services* where sessions are free or arranged on a sliding scale.


*Charitable Services:


The evidence base

There's a growing evidence base that demonstrates the effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy
Read more