The psychoanalytic / psychodynamic psychotherapy service is provided by two teams who are part of the Trust's specialist psychotherapy service. The teams are based at Stockton and Durham. The Durham North team can be contacted at:

  • Specialist psychotherapy, Lanchester Road Hospital, Lanchester Road, Durham, DH1 5RD. Tel number: 0191 4415750

What is psychoanalytic / psychodynamic psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy treats mental and emotional problems through discovering unconscious patterns within the individual and in their relationships and uses the therapeutic relationship, as well as the patient's relationships in the world, to enable change within the patient.

About the service

The specialist psychotherapy service (SPS) provides a high quality, evidence-based psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapy service for adults referred by health professionals.

It is suggested when it is thought a therapy that explores unconscious aspects of a person's problems is needed. This may be when other therapies have been tried in the past but something further is needed in the present, or when it is the preferred option by the patient. It is often a longer-term psychotherapy than other psychological therapies.

This service offers:

  • Brief and long-term individual psychoanalytic/psychodynamic psychotherapy for adults, including dynamic interpersonal therapy
  • Group analytic psychotherapy - general long-term psychotherapy for a range of problems and diagnoses, and focussed groups for specific problems eg sexual abuse
  • Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic consultations and assessments regarding treatment choice.

Psychotherapy offers an opportunity to reflect and learn about the thoughts and feelings that affect who you are, your relationships and how you respond to life.

The psychotherapeutic relationship enables memories and feelings to reach awareness, be analysed and worked with to resolve mental and emotional problems. It tends to work at a deeper level than counselling and a different focus from cognitive therapies, as it works with an understanding of the unconscious mind.

The team

The team of qualified mental health professionals includes clinical and counselling psychologists, adult psychotherapists and a psychiatrist. All staff are also qualified in psychodynamic, psychoanalytic or group analytic psychotherapy.

Patients are also seen by medical, psychology, and other mental health professionals on placement with the service, as part of the service's training schemes in psychotherapy. The service has a responsibility for psychotherapy training and ensuring it remains up to date with latest developments.

  • Dr Nicky Ablett-Tate, consultant clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Service Lead for SPS
  • Dr Kate Surgeoner, adult psychotherapist (Stockton)
  • Dr Fiona Parker, group analyst (Stockton and Durham)
  • Mr Tony Ashton, group analyst (Stockton and Durham)
  • Dr Phil Osborne, medical psychotherapist and consultant psychiatrist (Stockton)
  • Dr Thea Vasayianni, adult psychotherapist/counselling psychologist (Durham)
  • Dr Caroline Harvey, clinical psychologist in psychotherapy (Durham)

How to access the service

Referral to the service may be suggested by a member of a patient's health care team or requested by the patient. Following discussion with the patient, the health care professional discusses a referral with a member of the specialist psychotherapy service to ensure an assessment will be appropriate and helpful to the patient before any appointment is arranged.

If the referral is initiated at a primary care level, such as by a GP and associated professionals or IAPT, referral will usually be via the access team to ensure a full mental health assessment is in place.

What can patients expect?

Patients are asked to complete questionnaires prior to their first consultation. This is helpful to both the patient, to prepare for psychotherapy, and to the psychotherapist, to understand the problems, so that together they decide whether this type of psychotherapy will help. It also helps gather information to assist in any continuing psychotherapy and in assessing its effectiveness when it is ended.

Initial sessions (1 to 6) allow the patient and psychotherapist to think about the problems that the patient is experiencing and explore how psychotherapy can or cannot be of use to the particular individual. This leads to a basis for psychodynamic/psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic treatment over 16 to 40 sessions (short-term) or 80 to120 sessions (long-term).

Sessions are usually 1 hour weekly or 1 hour for groups.

Psychotherapy is either an aspect of a comprehensive treatment plan in which the patient has a care coordinator or is a stand-alone treatment in which the psychotherapist is the lead professional responsible for the patient's mental health care.