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Vanessa Birley

Vanessa Birley - Psychodynamic psychotherapist and counsellor, Chancery Lane, London, WC1

Vanessa is a qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist. She also works as an art psychotherapist and has experience working within the NHS, community agencies, education, corporate workspaces and with refugees. She has an interest in trauma, early development and attachment.  Her background is a creative one and this alongside a grounding in theory inform her therapeutic practice.

Approaches offered

Psychodynamic psychotherapy


PgDip Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
MA Art Psychotherapy





£85 per session.

BACP-registered - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Counselling Directory
FPC-registered - The Foundation for Psychotherapy and Counselling
BACP-registered - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

My approach


I am an experienced psychotherapist and enjoy facilitating an exploration into the hidden and sometimes difficult aspects of the self. Working psychodynamically involves reflecting on the past, how it may influence the present and integrating these to live a more fulfilling life.  Psychodynamic psychotherapy can include exploring the unconscious, for example, through dreams. This encourages a deeper understanding of what causes problems in relating to the self and others. I work in central and SW London as well as offering online sessions.

My qualifications and experience

Having worked extensively as an art psychotherapist with both adults and children, I completed the psychodynamic psychotherapy qualification at Westminster Pastoral Foundation, one of the UK’s leading training and clinical organisations for psychotherapy validated by the University of Roehampton. I am a professional member of BPC, BACP and FPC and adhere to their code of ethics and working practice.

I qualified with an MA in art psychotherapy from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2011 and am a full member of BAAT (British Association of Art Psychotherapists) and HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council). I have worked with issues relating to trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, relationship and reproductive issues, sexuality, identity and health conditions. I also have experience working in peri- and postnatal mental health.

My philosophy

I provide a compassionate and open space, somewhere to be curious about your life
experiences. Whilst I will encourage you to seek your own self-understanding, therapy is a process to think together in perhaps what might feel to be unfamiliar, yet within a shared environment.  What it is that you are seeking from psychotherapy? Change may feel difficult but begins with taking a first step. I look forward to helping unveil inner experiences to unfold. It is never too late to begin.

How I can help

  • Agoraphobia

  • Alcohol issues

  • Anger management

  • Anxiety and low mood

  • Assertiveness and self-confidence

  • Bereavement, grief and loss

  • Body image issues and body dysmorphia

  • Bullying and harassment

  • Childhood and historic abuse and trauma

  • Depression and unhappiness

  • Difficulties being a new parent

  • Difficulties with emotions and feelings

  • Family conflict

  • Family relationships with children and adolescents

  • Fears around getting older and mortality

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Health anxiety

  • Loneliness and social isolation

  • Low mood and loss of motivation and purpose

  • Male identity and men’s issues

  • Marriage issues

  • Menopause and life changes issues

  • Mood swings

  • Obsessions and intrusive thoughts

  • Panic Disorder

  • Professional and career difficulties

  • Postnatal depression and baby blues 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Relationship breakdown, separation and divorce

  • Relationship issues and doubts

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • Self-esteem and low confidence issues

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder

  • Sexual identity, gender issues, LGBTQ

  • Situational Depression

  • Social anxiety

  • Sleeplessness

  • Stress and feeling overwhelmed

  • Suicidal thoughts and Self-harm

  • Trauma and difficult experiences

  • Women’s issues

  • Workplace stress and professional issues

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