Dr Ravi Lingam MB ChB, MRCPsych

Newcastle Upon Tyne


Introduction – what is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

There are many different types of therapy, based on different traditions and schools of thought. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy originates in the work of Sigmund Freud and the developments of later psychoanalysts working in this tradition. A framework of psychoanalytic understanding may be applied in work with individuals and organisations in a variety of settings.

What are the basic principles of psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

Mental health problems and associated symptoms have in depth meaning that can be traced back in the life of the person experiencing them. The basis of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is that we experience conscious mental health difficulties and symptoms as a solution to inner world or unconscious emotional problems or conflicts. These conflicts and difficulties are linked both to inborn biological factors, like temperament, and to actual relationship experiences in early infancy and childhood. These conflicts are often for the most part unconscious and can be activated by later trauma or stress, which are then played out in patterns of relations. These patterns of relations and associated unresolved feelings may be expressed within the therapeutic relationship so that they may be understood and worked through in safety.

What are the aims of psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

The aim of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is to help clients understand patterns of behaviour, emotional experiences and a degree of change. In the 50-minute psychotherapy session the client is encouraged to voice and reflect on whatever is most pressing in his or her mind. Working together with the therapist exploring ones feelings, thoughts, wishes, fears, dreams and memories in a collaborative way enables the patient to understand and to deal with difficult or painful experiences and feelings. In order to learn the capacity to express and stay with difficult experiences and feelings, the therapist will tend not to offer immediate reassurances or guidance. In time, gradually a degree of self-understanding will develop within the patient, through experiencing old emotions in a new context helping the patient learn more appropriate ways of dealing, coping and being with their emotional difficulties.


The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) is the regulating body. The BPC exists to protect the interests in the public by promoting standards in the selection, training, continuous professional development and conduct of psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the regulating body in psychiatry. Dr Lingam is fully accredited for continuous professional development with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the BPC.

General Medical Council (GMC) registers doctors to practice medicine in the UK. The GMC’s purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. Dr Lingam is fully registered with the GMC.