Psychoanalytic psychotherapy works on our inner world and unconscious patterns.

A warm welcome to Harley Therapy

Updated Jan 20, 2022 by Dr. Sheri Jacobson Dr Sheri Jacobson

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy London at Harley Therapy™

Psychoanalysis offers very useful principles which are adopted in longer-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy. A psychoanalyst aims to uncover the unconscious factors that may underlie your problems. The presence of unconscious factors means that the advice of others or self-help books can fail to provide relief. Psychoanalysis sheds light on these factors, showing how they affect your current ways of living and how you can better deal with the demands of adult life.

Psychoanalysis relies on the method of 'Free Association' (developed by Sigmund Freud). The process entails saying whatever comes into your head without giving any conscious direction to those thoughts. Alongside dream interpretation and analytic transference, free association is helpful in collecting valuable unconscious material to be worked with in sessions.

Psychoanalytical therapy at Harley Therapy™

Call us to schedule an appointment, or book online with a psychoanalytically-trained psychotherapist.

What is psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis is a type of long-term and in-depth therapy that has its roots in the work of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

This therapy is centrally based around the idea that the majority of an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour are not within their conscious control. Rather, they are hidden within the realms of what Freud termed our ‘unconscious/subconscious’ mind. Much like an iceberg where we are only able to see the tip of this enormous structure above water, Freud believed that humans are only aware of a small percentage of their mind (our conscious) and that we are unaware of the rest of our mind’s workings (our unconscious).

Psychoanalysts believe that our childhood experiences, particularly traumatic or painful experiences, are kept deep in our unconscious where they are prevented from causing further emotional pain and anxiety by defence mechanisms such as denial (failing to acknowledge a fact, in spite of clear evidence) and repression (completely blocking the memory of an event even though it happened). These defence mechanisms can cause problems in adulthood as the thoughts and feelings associated with repressed childhood experiences can manifest themselves as depression, anxiety or other emotional problems in the present.

Psychoanalysis provides a setting whereby the individual, along with their therapist, can begin to identify and understand their past experiences directly and gain a powerful insight into how these unconscious processes and experiences are shaping them and their relationships in adulthood. 

What does psychoanalysis look like in practice?

The methods and techniques used in psychoanalysis are the same as those used in psychodynamic psychotherapy; however, psychodynamic psychotherapy is generally far less in-depth and is appropriate for more immediate problems.

The role of your therapist

During treatment, the relationship between you and your therapist is an important one. By listening to your innermost thoughts, feelings and experiences, your therapist will try to interpret and recognise important patterns between your past experiences and present behaviour, helping you to gain insight into your current situation.Your therapist will likely act as a blank canvas onto which you are able to transfer and project your deepest thoughts and feelings about yourself, your loved ones, and other important individuals who could have had a significant impact upon you.

This important process is called ‘transference’ and stems from Freud’s observation that his clients developed strong feelings towards him, which were a reflection of feelings felt towards a significant person in their life (such as parents or a sibling). Essentially, their feelings were transferred from the past to the present: the transference. This transference allows the therapist to learn more about your childhood experiences and how these important relationships can impact upon your adulthood behaviour.

You may gain further insight and understanding from the feelings felt by your therapist about you, a process known as ‘counter-transference’. For example, a therapist after several sessions with an individual may feel a particular emotion or feeling and by explaining this to the client they may open the client up to further understanding. 

Methods used by your therapist

Along with transference, your therapist may use a number of techniques such as dream analysis, free association (saying the first thing that comes into your head without censoring it) and slips of the tongue (commonly known as ‘Freudian Slips’) to help identify hidden experiences and thoughts.

Your therapist will often say very little during the therapy session and this may be rather disquieting for some individuals. While from time to time, they may draw attention to some aspect of your thoughts, there may be many sessions where the therapist hardly speaks at all.

However, while your therapist may not be talking at great length they will be observing your body language and other aspects of your behaviour that may provide a useful analysis of your inner thoughts and feelings. While there may be long pauses and even silences during therapy, these reflective pauses can provide as much, if not more valuable information than constant conversation.

The session and therapy framework

A session of psychoanalysis takes place in a comfortable, secure environment where you will feel relaxed and able to discuss your deepest thoughts, feelings and experiences. Most sessions last around 50 minutes and the time allocated to you will be at the same time and day each week. Psychoanalysis is not a ‘quick fix’ but is a long-term commitment, and there is no limit on the amount of sessions you may need.

Further reading on psychoanalysis


close icon


The NHS (National Health Service) is the UK's government run medical service. Their website is written and reviewed by medical experts.

NHS logo


close icon

The UK Council for Psychotherapy

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is the UK’s leading organisation for psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. It regulates and registers trained and trainee counsellors.

UKCP logo


close icon

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is an association for UK-based counselling professionals. It supports practitioners, enabling them to provide a better service.

BACP logo


close icon


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the UK’s national radio and TV broadcaster. It’s the world’s largest, with 35,402 staff and 28 operating languages.

THE BBC logo

report link broken or inaccurate


close icon


Mind is a mental health charity covering England and Wales. It offers support to people with mental health problems and lobbies local and national governments.

MIND logo


close icon

Turning Point

Turning Point is a UK charity and social enterprise which works in the mental health, learning disabilities, substance abuse, criminal justice and employment areas.

Turning Point logo


close icon

The Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation is a UK charity which helps people to understand, protect and improve their mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation logo


close icon

Young Minds

Young Minds is a UK charity which works to improve the mental health of children and young people by providing appropriate support and resources.

Young Minds logo

report link broken or inaccurate


close icon


Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia that’s written and maintained by a global volunteer community. It’s the largest-ever reference work and receives 1.7 unique visitors monthly.

Wikipedia logo

How to book your session

Call us now on 0345 474 1724 OR

Book Online Now

All of our practitioners are qualified and accredited with reputable professional associations for counselling and psychotherapy.

close icon



Harley Therapy Ltd. “Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in London • Harley Therapy™”. Harley Therapy, 20 Jan. 2022, Accessed 22 May. 2022.


Harley Therapy Ltd. (2022, January 20). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in London • Harley Therapy™. Retrieved from


Harley Therapy Ltd. "Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in London • Harley Therapy™." Last modified January 20, 2022. Accessed May 22, 2022.

Skype Therapy and Online Counselling

Psychoanalytic Therapy in London

What issues are suited to
Psychoanalytical Therapy?

  • Anxiety
  • Stress in the workplace
  • Work-life imbalances
  • Relationship Issues (break up, divorce, affairs, choosing inappropriate partners, marital problems, arguments, jealousy, wedding and premarital issues)
  • Trauma
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD)
  • Eating problems & negative body image
  • Depression (including suicidal thoughts, low mood, social withdrawal)
  • Phobias & fears
  • Addiction
  • Low self-esteem & confidence
  • Abuse (including verbal and sexual abuse)
  • Bereavement, grief and loss
  • Loneliness
  • Life adjustments
What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a talking therapy which brings unconscious, unpleasant or repressed memories to the conscious mind to discover how they’re affecting the patient in their everyday life.

Typically, how much does psychoanalytic therapy cost in London?

You can expect to pay around £180 per 50 minute session for psychoanalytic therapy in London. This form of therapy is often long-term, with many patients reporting good results.

Is psychoanalytic psychotherapy available on the NHS?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is available on the NHS but there are significant waiting lists and there may be limits on the number of sessions you’re eligible for.

Does Harley Therapy offer psychoanalytic psychotherapy in London?

Yes, Harley Therapy offers psychoanalytic psychotherapy in London and we have a number of therapists offering this service, so you’ll find your best fit.

Therapy Services

5 star ratings since 2006