Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Edinburgh

George Blair

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy in Portobello, Edinburgh

Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 -1926 (from his Letters)

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I am establishing my practice in Portobello as Psychotherapist East Edinburgh , having recently returned to Edinburgh from London where I trained as a Psychoanalytical therapist and practiced there for many years. I am located on the east coast close to Portobello at the east end of Portobello High Street. It might just as appropriately be Psychotherapy Leith, the practice will be in easy access for Leith, Musselburgh, Newcraighall, Craigentinny, Monktonhall, Duddingston, Restalrig.
At present I can offer sessions from next month on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday throughout the day and evening and on Friday mornings.

What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

I am a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and a member of the Forum of Independent Psychotherapists (FiP) in College 1 –the Council
of Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis College (CPJA)
–of the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapy(UKCP).
(UKCP) the main professional body in the field for the UK.

Most psychological problems arise from our defences against buried feelings re-entering our conscious experience.
You might like to think of a Psychoanalytic setting like being in the theatre watching a play. The cast appears on a darkened stage as shadows. As you become accustomed to the low lighting and the action develops, moving towards a resolution, the players who cast the shadows are revealed and take their place under the lights.

Psychoanalytical work in Portobello calls to mind the wonderful words of John Keats. It is a wild surmise... and we are like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken. And here in Portobello we look out on the wide expanse of the Estuary of the Forth.

Pychoanalytical work aims to foster a willingness to know about the things in us we don't feel comfortable about, what we don't much want to know, or may well be unaware of. Those shadows hold back the blossoming of our true personality. They can, however, be enabled to come into the light through the unconscious exchanges between patient and therapist.

It’s very simple… but very deep. It is a process of discovering who we really are. And usually it is undertaken because of a sense of being or having been in a kind of wilderness. It means seeing how it can become possible to lower our defences, not strengthen them.
So it's not a case of getting rid of stuff like what Hamlet wished for ('to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them'.) ' No! more a matter of discovering that what has been lost in the fog can be found and owned and not only for the patient.
It's daring to know what’s tangled up in secrecy and distrust. It's emerging from a buried privacy into the open, the unmistakable challenge of being ourselves.

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photo by Ralph Blair

As a Psychoanalytical psychotherapist, I am addressing psychological problems like anxiety, compulsive behaviour, sexual dysfunction and dysfunctional relationships.
I have a particular interest in discovering hidden meaning in such difficult defensive states of mind as boredom and lack of vitality, apathy, guilt, shame, melancholy and issues to do with growing old, loneliness, fear and regret such states as arising from never really knowing what it is to be listened to.

There is a mystic dimension at the root of Psychoanalysis, just as there is in dreams, and coincidences. As in the case of poetry and other forms of creativity the psychoanalytic setting is all about inspiration just as it is to wonder at the lie of the land around Portobello or the lore of the sea away to the horizon.

The complex puzzle of perversion or addiction poses a challenge to the psychoanalytical endeavour as embodying a fiercely defensive force field. The task of the therapy would be to seek a way of re-evaluating the compulsive patterns and to explore the possibility that so-called* sexual dysfunction *(perhaps a term of intolerance at odds with today's open attitude of LGBTI) may be a symptom of a profound apprehension aroused by the prospect of intimacy. In other words we could be sensing recalcitrant unconscious defences against those fears and, just like addiction, may be (or maybe not) preventing a fuller lasting satisfaction. Again it would be a matter of sensing the rigidity of such defences in operation in the session, and of assessing the cost of relinquishing them when other options for self-expression are glimpsed and the capacity to love is tasted.

I find it of absorbing interest the way primal illusion inadvertently attaches to chance objects similarly perhaps to how an infant marvellously and crucially prizes a teddy bear. This appears to be a fundamental security fall-back function of the psyche. With the vividness of a dream certain objects may become imbued with a special significance to guard against failure of primary resources. And could it be that this basic psychological mechanism is a necessary screen from the realities of separation and mortality which threaten a sense of personal meaning? To know one way or another would seem important.

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In simple terms, a psychoanalytical approach aims to make it feasible to come to terms with what is in us, rather than seeking first and foremost to get rid of a particular addictive symptom. It has a long record in enabling the emergence of the fuller rounded personality and releases us to love. If you want to know what I'm getting at listen to Mercedes Sosa sing Gracias a la vida

SEEING IS BELIEVING Working Psychoanalytically entails paying particular attention to the interchange (the hidden and glossed over) between the two of us, not just referred to, but may be seen functioning for what they are, namely perhaps to obstruct our potential capacity to face reality--"so this is what I am up to!" seeing is believing In this way we may in time be able to reach a more comfortable sense of integrity, able to discriminate between what feels true and so kind of good and what feels not so good in our inner world.

In this way a person may gain new insight into how their choices were being determined, and may thus experience a freedom to make sense of a constant and subversiveenactment) taking place between therapist and patient rather than the discussion of ideas, giving advice or ascribing labels. This affords a setting in which these defensive patterns that mostly escape us can be gradually replaced by more rewarding ones.

If you are in the vicinity of Portobello or Leith or somewhere else in this part of east Edinburgh and considering exploring the possibility of having therapy and would like an initial interview to be able to assess whether a psychoanalytic approach would be appropriate for you, CLICK on : 'About Me' on Menu above for my contact details.

Photo details:
above: A beam of intense darkness
below: Cast of shadows (from a series Edge of Somewhere)
Ralph Blair is a PYMCA freelance photographer living in Montrose.

The logo is a drawing by the lyrical Czech artist Ota Janecek who exhibited regularly from 1938 onwards in Prague and who died in 1996. As it has no name I have called it A little bird told me.

The other painting on the page is by one of the best loved and most controversial figures on the Czech art scene, Josef Jira. It is a small picture, only 14 x 27 cm., called Ruz pro kr (ruz means rose): Rose for kr. It has something, apart from considerable graphic charm, that suggests to me it belongs here. I am always still trying to decide what it is.
Marketa who is Polish wrote to me and said: 'I was just looking at your website and saw your notice about the picture by Josef Jira. From what I can read on that picture I think it says Ruze pro krejcovskou pannu which means A rose for a dressmaker’s dummy. I think it is a picture of a person in front of a dummy giving her a rose?' I can only say it is here because it fascinates me; I find it endearing in the same way as the Psychoanalytic craft is a constantly unfolding wonder.

The Appointed Place
Thus I came at last to a place and saw it to be the one I had contrived at first to get away from.

(this isn't a quote, but here lies the distinction between fate and destiny.)

Find out more


click here to email
tel: 0131 281 5115
East Edinburgh