About us

psychodynamic psychotherapy.jpgWe are a specialist service offering individual and group psychotherapy, an intensive group programme, a training setting for NHS professionals to become qualified psychotherapists, and consultation and education to health and social care professionals in the region.

Important information

The Resource Centre
Florence Nightingale Community Hospital
London Road
Opening hours: 8.30am – 4.30pm
Telephone: 0300 0134796
Email: dhcft.psychotherapy-cbtteam@nhs.net 
Main contact: Dr Nathan Babiker

What is psychodynamic psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic/psychoanalytic-based treatments are evidence-based forms of therapy which can effectively treat emotional problems and a wide range of mental health conditions such as depression, complex trauma, personality disorders, eating disorders and anxiety. This kind of therapy addresses underlying issues and causes, often from your past, which may be concerning you, or affecting your relationships with others. In your sessions you will be encouraged to talk freely and to look more deeply into your problems and worries. It differs from many other talking therapies in that it aims to help people make deep-seated change in personality and emotional development, alongside relieving troubling symptoms. It can help you discuss feelings you have about yourself and other people, particularly family and those close to you.  

- Adapted from www.bpc.org.uk/information-support/what-is-therapy/ 

What we offer

We offer three distinct treatment pathways:

This is with the same therapist and at the same time of the same day each week. The aim is to understand your problems at a deeper level. Even short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy requires commitment of between six and 12 months or 25-40 sessions. Longer-term therapy usually lasts between 12 and 24 months or 40-80 sessions. Sessions last 50 minutes and can be conducted either in person, online or via telephone.

People with mental health difficulties can often feel isolated, stigmatised and misunderstood, which can contribute to their distress. Groups are a powerful way for people to connect with one another and explore themes of similarity and difference together, facilitated by an experienced professional.

Weekly groups take place at the same time of the same day each week and last from 12-24 months. They can be facilitated by one or two staff members and may have between eight and 10 participants. Group sessions last 75-90 minutes. There are also specific evidence-based interventions such as Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) which are typically provided in a group format.

The intensive group psychotherapy programme has been in operation since February 1994. It offers an opportunity to increase understanding of your psychological, emotional and social difficulties, in order to produce inner personal change.

The programme values the idea of community spirit. We recognise the importance of individuals contributing to, and receiving of care from, a therapeutic community.  Getting people together in groups creates the opportunity to look not only at the psychological difficulties themselves, but also how they influence our relationships with others.  When we interact with each other, situations emerge which can be used positively to facilitate a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

Current staff

All colleagues on the team are qualified mental health professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds such as nursing, social work, occupational therapy and clinical psychology.

Our staff specialise in psychodynamic psychotherapy and may have other specialist areas of interest, such as working with adolescents and young adults, trauma-focused therapy, or group work.

We are an educational setting with a responsibility to train psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and group psychotherapists. Some of our staff are undertaking specialist qualifying training whilst working in the service full time. We also offer placements to honorary or visiting therapists from a range of professional backgrounds.

Our current staff are:

Dr Nathan Babiker, Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Service Lead)
Steve Wheeler, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (Deputy Service Lead)
Michael Dwyer, Psychological Therapist
John Fletcher, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
Toni Fox, Psychodynamic Psychotherapist
Sarah Jones, Psychological Therapist
Nigel Runcorn, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
Mark Sumpter, Psychological Therapist
Emily Thomas, Psychological Therapist

Accessing the service

People referred to this service must be currently under secondary mental health services, and usually have longstanding mental health problems such as complex trauma or personality disorder. They may have tried other therapies before undertaking psychodynamic psychotherapy. 

A professional worker you have regular contact with, such as a care co-ordinator, psychologist or psychiatrist, should speak to you about the referral first and involve you in the decision. If you agree to be referred, this person will then contact us. We do not currently accept self-referrals.

A member of the team will review your referral and may contact the referrer for further discussion. When there is enough information to decide that psychotherapy might help, we will send a letter to you with information to complete and send back. We will include a stamped envelope.  

What to expect

Psychodynamic psychotherapy occurs in a safe setting and relies on very clear boundaries of confidentiality. You will first be offered an assessment with one of our team to see whether psychodynamic psychotherapy would be suitable. This assessment may take place over several sessions. If psychodynamic psychotherapy is not recommended, or a different approach would be more suitable, they will discuss this with you and write to you and your referrer to confirm this.

The psychotherapist will be interested in what is in your mind and will encourage you to talk freely. They may speak less than other therapists, and could seem more neutral and less openly reassuring, but they will be attuned to your emotional responses and empathetic. They will also be interested in your feelings about them, and what these might reflect about other relationships in your life, past and present.  

Many of the people who come to our service have had upsetting or traumatic experiences, particularly in childhood.  As psychodynamic psychotherapy can involve looking at the past, it may put you in contact with these experiences and the challenging feelings they bring. Your therapist will ensure that you understand this and discuss whether you feel able to undertake this aspect of the work.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy does not involve the therapist giving advice. Instead, you are supported to come to your own conclusions about your difficulties over the course of the therapy.  The therapist may share ideas or an interpretation of the issues you discuss, but they will not give specific directions, techniques or coping strategies to practise. Therapies like cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) provide these kinds of techniques and might be more suitable for some people.

How do I make comments or a complaint?

If you are currently receiving treatment, you can speak with your psychotherapist. If you are unable to do so for any reason, you can contact the service lead Dr Nathan Babiker using the number above.  

If you have a complaint and wish to speak to someone outside the service, you can contact the Trust Complaints Manager on 01332 623700 (ext 33469) or email dhcft.patientexperience@nhs.net

Further reading

British Psychoanalytic Council

UK Council for Psychotherapy

Royal College of Psychiatry