Salford Specialist Psychotherapy Service

The Specialist Psychotherapy Service provides a range of specialist therapies for people experiencing personality disorders and severe interpersonal difficulties.  Treatment focuses on the development of the service user's understanding of himself/herself.  The therapies involve helping people to tolerate difficult feelings that have previously been acted upon destructively in relationships and that can result in self-harm and harm to others.

The service provides individual and group therapies to help those with longstanding difficulties to make improvements in their wellbeing and in relationships. We also offer services such as:

Individual Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is a talking therapy which comes from an understanding that we are shaped by our relationships and experiences with others. We may be both conscious and unconscious of these processes, resulting in both known and hidden, often conflicting, feelings, desires, wishes and thoughts which relate to both past and present difficulties. The full awareness of those feelings might be too painful and sometimes we protect ourselves through unhelpful behaviours, relationships or even through developing symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

During your assessment a particular problem area will be identified between yourself and your therapist and will be the focus of the therapy.

Who is psychodynamic psychotherapy for?

Dynamic psychotherapy is suitable for those who are curious about themselves and wish to explore and understand their problems at a deeper level. It can help with a range of issues and difficulties, and some examples might be:

  • Problems relating to a sense of self- being unsure of who you are, or having a fragile sense of self. Low self esteem, feeling emotionally unstable or empty.
  • Problems and conflicts in current relationships, which reflect similar relationships in the past eg difficulties getting close, or feeling too clingy.
  • Difficulty dealing with loss or bereavement.

How does it work?

Individual psychodynamic psychotherapy works through a safe and trusting relationship between you and your therapist. The agreed aims of your therapy will be the focus. Dynamic patterns of feeling, relating and behaving are evident in all relationships, and are expected to arise with your therapist. These current dynamics can be safely and helpfully explored within therapy.

Therapy can lead to new understandings and changes in the way you feel and relate to yourself, and other people.

What you can expect in therapy

Usually you will meet with your therapist at a regular and agreed time and place each week. You will be expected to bring own concerns and there will be space and time to explore what is on your mind with your therapist. Your therapist will try to understand what you say and to talk with you in a helpful way. Sometimes your feelings will involve the therapist. This can at first feel difficult and risky, but your problems will be helped by facing and understanding them, even if this may be uncomfortable.

Your therapist role is not normally to give advice, or suggest a course of action.  This therapy may therefore not be the first choice for people who like more structure, or direction.

Length of therapy

Psychodynamic therapy will usually last between 12-18 months. You will agree the duration of treatment, including any gaps for holidays, etc., with your therapist either at the start of therapy, or during a review mid-way through therapy.

When and where does it take place

Psychodynamic therapy is offered at St James’s House, Pendleton Way, Salford. Usual times for weekly therapy are between 9am and 5pm.

For further information on this modality of treatment could be found here: What is psychotherapy? - British Psychoanalytic Council (

Transference Focused Therapy

Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) is a form of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It was specifically developed to help people who experience difficulties associated with their personality or personal functioning. The overall aim of TFP is for people to resolve these issues by achieving a better level of overall functioning, by improving relationships and by gaining a better ability to work and to enjoy life.

TFP has a long history and grew out of many years of practical experience of providing psychotherapy to people with complex psychological difficulties.

People who have TFP attend for one individual therapy session a week for at least one year.

Who is TFP for?

Anyone who has a diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (also called Borderline Personality Disorder). TFP is also helpful for other personality problems and people who are referred don’t have to have the full diagnosis but might have ‘traits’.

Often people referred for TFP have tried other therapies, but this is not essential.

How does it work?

Like any psychoanalytic approach, therapy involves patients speaking freely about whatever comes into their mind. The therapist will help them link together various thoughts, feelings and experiences. Working in the transference refers to the idea that how someone has felt about and responded to other people in their life (mostly in their early experiences) will also emerge in the therapy sessions. When this happens the therapist draws attention to it with the aim of trying to achieve a deeper level of personal understanding and by helping the person to become easier in relationships with others and themselves.

There is an initial assessment stage in TFP followed by setting up the therapy contract which consists of specific aims for therapy, expectations of the therapist, and any risk issues or barriers to progress. The therapy is usually conducted weekly for up to 12 months.

By the end of therapy, we hope people will have a more solid sense of self, more emotional stability, an increased ability to sustain relationships with others, and be better able to deal with life on a day-today basis.

When and where does TFP take place?

TFP is available at St James’s House, Pendleton Way, Salford where Salford Psychotherapy Service is based. Sessions are offered at various times throughout the week and we try to find the most suitable appointment.

Additional Information

For general information on how psychoanalytic psychotherapy works see the website of the United Kingdom Council For Psychotherapy:

There is quite a lot about information about TFP on the website: This site also gives details of the research that shows the effectiveness of TFP.

There is also an international TFP group and the website is:

Group Analytic Therapy

Group Analytic therapy is a method of group psychotherapy that combines insights from psychoanalysis with an understanding of social and interpersonal functioning. Through working on the relationship between the individual group member and the rest of the group, the aim is to help the individual to better integrate with his or her family and community.

Who is it for?

Group analysis is applied to a variety of problems and life situations. These include anxiety, depression, interpersonal difficulties, low self-esteem and psychosomatic conditions. However this therapy is also concerned with uncovering undeveloped aspirations and creativity of group members.

How does it work?

The therapeutic benefits come from the process of therapy in the group and by the group rather than exclusively from the therapist. In a typical psychotherapy group, a process evolves from which everyone gains at the same time in a stimulating interaction between group members. Past patterns of attitudes, feelings and behaviour may appear in the group and reflecting on these patterns opens the path to growth and development.

Group members learn to see themselves through the eyes of others and gain new insights about their relationships to others. Through the relationships that develop within the group a living demonstration is provided of how past patterns of behaviour can be re-enacted in the present. The therapeutic group provides a nurturing environment within which it becomes possible to recover from traumatic experiences and also to participate in the therapy of other group members. Everyone uses the group differently and any fears that it will be too difficult to talk usually soon disappear in the trusting atmosphere of the group. A typical group consists of up to eight people meeting weekly with a therapist.  Most groups are of mixed gender and members will have a range of different psychological issues. In order to maintain confidentiality, group members are asked not to discuss group issues outside of the group nor to meet up socially.

How long is the programme?

In order to give group therapy a proper trial, we suggest that people commit to attending for 6 months in the first instance. This is to allow them to feel part of a group process before deciding if the group could be helpful for them. Most people opt to continue for longer and can remain in the group for up to 2 or 3 years.

When and where does it take place?

Group Analytic therapy is offered at St James’s House, Pendleton Way, Salford. Weekly sessions usually occur in early evenings and last for 90 minutes Further information can be found here: ABOUT | Groupanalysis

As a patient

As a service user, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Find resources for carers and service users  Contact the Trust