Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in North West London

I can trace back my wish to be a psychotherapist, if not clearly to the mists and byways of childhood, at least as far back as late adolescence. Even then it was a fond uninformed fantasy without precedent in my upbringing. There is probably no end to that developmental part of ourselves called adolescence, which may be either a blessing or a bane or both.

During National Service in the RAF I had an experience which prompted me to follow in the family footsteps and study to become a minister in the Church. It may have been an example of caving in. But it was twelve years before I knew it was not for me. I left the ministry not without some difficult lessons learned and other embryonic values forming.

However, on demob from the Air Force I went up to St Andrews to do a degree in English and Moral Philosophy and discovered a love of literature. My mother was a student there and my father (and my grandfather). She told me she had written an essay while an undergraduate under the sobriquet Bibliophile and had won a prize for it. From there I went on to Edinburgh to study Theology. I was ordained in 1964.

It was while I was in the Church I became increasingly interested in the psyche which was in many ways at odds with prevalent religious values I encountered. Notably amongst my influences at that time was Frank Lake's Clinical Theology Association in which I became a tutor in the early1980s, and my Jungian Analysis (IGAP) some years later. I began a humanist therapy training in 1989 and gained a Diploma in 1994.

Several years with the Squiggle Foundation following this exposed to the work of Winnicott, and led to a Psychoanalysis in 1997 which lasted ten years.

I was then accredited as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.

I have always considered myself to be a late developer who has lived separate lives compared with young people who find their career aspirations early and rise to seniority relatively by middle age.

Recently Dr Laurence Spurling, with whom I am in a supervision group, published his book The Psychoanalytic Craft.
It is a profound study of the processes that help or hinder the long road of trial and error to becoming a seasoned practitioner. Alongside my sense of being a late developer I believe it is not the achievement of wisdom, nor the accruing of knowledge so much that is important but rather maintaining enquiry.

The depth of the art of psychoanalysis is unlimited. Fundamentally it faces the unknown. For all its body of knowledge since it was conceived of by Freud the single underlying crux is just that (mystical if you like). Do I know myself by accepting definitions? Or is it by being heard by someone free from preconceptions. What rises up in us unbidden and call emotion is never planned but is often pushed down. But essentially from the start it is beyond our control. It is the messenger of meaning. What comes in a dream may be ignored at our peril. Compared with the withering that entails in shutting down is the option to continue to explore. It may be called adolescence or late development. But in spite of my fear I rejoice in it.

In Part 2 on the site you will find a number of my papers and articles on psychotherapy, art and literature. It begins with an article on boredom. Currently the latest paper (number 9) Lost and Found explores the compelling force of apparent paradox as hidden truth.

The Reflections pages have a more varied content and are a bit less formal.

Reflections 4 is conversational and includes a sort of a blog or journal entitled Chinks which you might like to follow or respond to by email.

There are also details of an exhibition of my paintings Lie of the Land running until November 2015.


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tel: 02083814806
North West London
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