The Portman Clinic offers specialised long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic help to people who suffer from problems arising from delinquent, criminal or violent behaviour or from disturbing and damaging sexual behaviours or experiences.

We saw our first patient in 1933 and since then have developed particular expertise in this area.

We are here to provide services for people who may be excluded or rejected by other services because of their past or present behaviours. We aim to treat patients in a respectful and sensitive way, whatever their history.

Our staff are trained and experienced in nursing, psychiatry, psychology psychotherapy and social/probation work. They have all had further training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with adults and/or children.

We aim to offer patients a first appointment for assessment within 11 weeks of being referred to us.


Treatment offered


We first conduct an assessment, which may require several meetings. This is an exploratory discussion of the patient’s concerns and difficulties, in the context of their history. The assessment process is often helpful in its own right.

At the end of this assessment, we discuss with the patient what treatment may be appropriate: individual or group psychotherapy at the Portman Clinic, or a recommendation for another form of treatment at a suitable service. On some occasions, we may offer couple psychotherapy or a family consultation.

Upon completing the assessment process and with the patient’s consent we inform the referrer of the outcome.

Individual psychotherapy involves weekly sessions, although we may sometimes offer sessions on a less or more frequent basis, depending on the patient’s need and the availability of treatment vacancies. Group therapy sessions are weekly and we recommended that patients are able to commit themselves to a minimum of two years of weekly attendance  during term times.

We also run a project offering group Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) sessions for those with diagnosed Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD).

In accordance with NICE guidelines for the treatment of the individuals we see here, we usually offer longer-term treatment than most services. Forensic patients and those suffering with personality disorders and paraphilias often need longer-term engagement, and our treatment may be offered as open-ended.



Where the referred patient is a child or young person the assessment process usually involves working with all or some of the family members, or the child’s carers. In working with children in this way the active support of the referrer, is often essential to effective intervention, be it assessment or treatment.

If appropriate, children are offered individual therapy sessions and the child’s parents or carers are seen periodically as necessary.


Couples and families

Couples or families are sometimes seen for exploratory meetings as part of an assessment. Occasionally couples can get regular treatment sessions, however it is more often the case that we offer one member of the couple individual or group treatment, if this is appropriate.


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