Please fill out this form if you wish to connect with the Critical Psychotherapy Network. In so doing, you will be helping to build communities that support free speech in and about the consulting room. We welcome comments on how to progress the Society, and blogs or vlogs on issues around critical psychotherapy. We also encourage you to consider joining a CPSC or Local Group.



This section is in progress.

Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Asylum Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry

Critical Psychiatry Network

Discourse Unit

 European Journal for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Hearing Voices Network

The International Society for Social and Psychological Approaches to Psychosis

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

Psychotherapy and Counselling Union


It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a place to speak freely. Psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and counsellors report that it is less and less possible to question organisational practice, fearful of overt or covert punishment. Academics in our universities fear for their jobs if they speak out. Most importantly, the therapeutic space itself has become subject to various insistences – what is sayable, what is hearable, what must be reported, what technique must look like. Neoliberalism, the rise in the audit culture, and the overregulation of therapy challenges such freedoms. So what do we do? We have, it seems, a few options:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Try and change the way in which NICE goes about producing its recommendations, including its language, challenge the composition of Guideline Development Groups and the use of Randomized Controlled Trials as a meaningful way of assessing psychotherapy.
  3. Take the advice of people who suggest we do not fight NICE and RCTs but attempt to ape CBT’s success with manualisation, and so on.
  4. Help stimulate very different potential cultural changes and critically develop our own work to help those who want to explore personal meaning; and for research, stick to case studies as well as collaborations and learnings from those outside our field.

We argue the fourth option is the only real one for the therapy professions.  We have, surely, a duty to preserve spaces where those suffering can come to talk freely. To date, we have published a book Critical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling and held our inaugural conference at the Freud Museum. The book and conference developed a critical psychotherapy manifesto and action plan. We have come together to form a Unit to build communities that will fight to preserve and build psychotherapy as a critical, open, sometimes subversive space. We believe the importance of a practice oriented to free speech trumps allegiance to any particular therapeutic modality, and welcome anyone with similar interests to come and join us. Will you?

Professor Del Loewenthal, Co-Chair, The Society for Critical Psychotherapy

. Del Athens 2015


Fewer trainings focus on helping trainees develop skills to hear themselves and others. Network founders are currently involved in trainings in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, counselling psychology and clinical psychology with the aim of creating space for critical thinking.

The Network is also developing a Critical Psychotherapy Training programme. Del Loewenthal currently runs the Critical Existential-Analytic Psychotherapy and Counselling programme at Roehampton which may be of interest to some readers.

We welcome blog post submissions on critical thinking within therapy trainings, and ideas for how to develop more creative forms of transmission.

Inaugural conference audio

We held a conference to mark the launch of the book at the Freud Museum in June, 2015.

You can listen to the audio of the preview evening here The Many Faces of ‘Critical Psychotherapy’ featuring Professors Del Loewenthal, Michael Rustin and Andrew Samuels.

The audio of the conference is available in four parts.


Do we need a Critical Psychotherapy? with Professor Del Loewenthal.


Toward critical psychotherapy and counselling: what can we learn from critical psychology (and political economy)? With Professor Ian Parker.

The Medical Model: What is it, where did it come from and how long has it got? with Dr Hugh Middelton

and a response from Dr David Morgan.


When Love is Not All We Want: Queers, Singles and the Therapeutic Cult of Relationality with Dr Adrian Cocking

Critical theory and psychotherapy with Dr Anastasios Gaitanidis

and a response from Dr Julie Walsh


Personal versus medical meanings in breakdown, treatment and recovery from ‘schizophrenia’ with Tom Cotton and Professor Del Loewenthal

Systemic means to subversive ends: maintaining the therapeutic space as a unique encounter with Dr Jay Watts

We welcome your feedback on the conference, whether you attended or have listened to the audios.

We are running a Dialectics of Critical Psychotherapy conference in 2015/16.

The Book

The Critical Psychotherapy Network arose as a consequence of a book – edited by Del – which bought a number of critical practitioners together. For those of you who are interested, the book is called Critical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling. It consists of the following chapters.

1. Talking Therapies, Culture, the State and Neo-liberalism: Is There a Need for Critical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling?; Del Loewenthal

2. The Medical Model: What Is It, Where Did It Come from and How Long Has It Got?; Hugh Middleton
3. Toward Critical Psychotherapy and Counselling: What Can We Learn from Critical Psychology (and Political Economy)?; Ian Parker
4. The Neurobiological Turn in Therapeutic Treatment: Salvation or Devastation?; Kenneth J. Gergen

5. Personal Versus Medical Meanings in Breakdown, Treatment and Recovery from ‘Schizophrenia’; Tom Cotton and Del Loewenthal

6. Critical Theory and Psychotherapy; Anastasios Gaitanidis
7. When Love Is Not All We Want: Queers, Singles and the Therapeutic Cult of Relationality; Mari Ruti and Adrian Cocking
8. Relating to People as revolutionaries; Lois Holzman
9. Work in Contemporary Capitalism; Michael Rustin

10. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Therapy (but Were Afraid to Ask): Fragments of a Critical Psychotherapy; Andrew Samuels
11. Critical Priorities for the Psychotherapy and Counselling Community; Colin Feltham
12. The Deleuzian Project; Chris Oakley
13. Psychoanalysis and the Event of Resistance; Steven Groarke
14. Psychology, Psychotherapy – Coming to Our Senses?; Paul Moloney

15. Contesting the Curriculum: Counsellor Education in a Postmodern and Medicalising Era; Tom Strong, Karen H. Ross, Konstantinos Chondros and Monica Sesma-Vazquez
16. Systemic Means to Subversive Ends: Maintaining the Therapeutic Space as a Unique Encounter; Jay Watts

17. Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling for Oppressors and Oppressed: Sex, Violence and Ideology in Practice?; Del Loewenthal

Do send us feedback on the book if you so wish, either by email or commenting below. We think it’s an important start – but there is more to be done.


The action plan

There are a number of actions that are central to the Network. We think it is crucial to:

  • We believe clients need the option to explore personal meaning the opportunity for which is increasingly being lost .
  • ‘The human soul comes before science and techology’. We must challenge ideologies that get in the way of this truth.
  • We think it crucial to remember that we are all capable of good and evil.
  • We must have therapeutic spaces available where we can explore how we constrict ourselves and others through our sexuality and violence,  morality and economic systems.
  • People may involve themselves in order to forget their troubles, but both psychotherapists and clients can manipulate this in a degenerate way.
  • We need multiple stories of suffering otherwise our minds and actions are colonised.
  • We must question received wisdoms of what a good therapy outcome looks like
  • We must attend to power inequalities, and disobey normal rules and conventions. To influence, we must talk in ways people understand not rarified jargon.
  • We believe that increased state regulation may give new capacities for resistance, and that the development of new talking spaces need not be called therapy.
  • We believe talking therapists can be as much the problem than the solution.
  • Politics can get replaced by scepticism and capitalism by modernity.

We are too caught up with individualism, pseudoscience and the language of medicine and clinical psychology. We need to refind and develop our own language.

These actions points are adapted from Del’s chapter in Critical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling but are very much a work in progress. Please add your comments below, and help us develop.


The CPSC will be meeting in North London on the below dates. Please email for details.

16th September 2017
7th October 2017
18th November 2017
16th December 2017
13th January 2018
10th February 2018
10th March 2018
7th Apri 2018
12th May 2018
9th June 2018
7th July 2018
Inline image 1
Department of Psychology
University of Roehampton
RCTE Seminars and Events- 2017-2018
All seminars and events are held at Whitelands College, University of Roehampton, Holybourne Avenue, London, SW15 4JD.
Other than the Advanced Practitioner Programme, Workshop, and Conference (which can be booked through their respective website links below) these events are free of charge to all. Please note that the seminars need to be booked through the Eventbrite link provided.

5th October 2017 – 7th December 2017 – Autumn Term 2017
Advanced Practitioner Programme/Training in Existential-Analytic Psychotherapy and Counselling
Thursday Evening 6.00pm – 9.00pm (Room 2001)
Phenomenology through Existentialism

19th October – 5pm to 6.00pm – Prof Del Loewenthal
Post-existentialism vs Post-humanism and ‘the quantified self’:   Implications for therapeutic practice and research
(Room G071)

2nd November 2017 – 6.00 for 6.30 to 8.00pm – Prof Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)
Histories of psychotherapies
(Room G001)

11th November – 10am to 4.30pm (Whitelands)
UPCA/UKCP/UTC International conference ‘Internet psychotherapy, supervision and training: Are you providing this – should you be?
Speakers include: Gerhard Andersson, Del Loewenthal, Niki Reeves and Christopher Vincent.

16th November – 5pm to 6.00pm – Tony McSherry (RCTE)
Phenomenology and openness: Exploring the need for therapeutic education in mental health nursing
(Room G071)

2nd December 2017 – Prof Del Loewenthal (RCTE)
Workshop: The therapeutic use of photographs: Phototherapy & Therapeutic Photography s in a Digital Age

7th December 2017 – 5pm to 6.00pm – Dr Julia Cayne (RCTE)
Some implications from Irigaray for the psychological therapies
(Room G071)

7th December 2017 – 6.00 for 6.30 to 8.00pm – Prof Darian Leader (RCTE and CFAR)
Erving Goffman and the psychological therapies
(Room G001)

11th January 2018 – 15th March 2018 – Spring Term 2018
Advanced Practitioner Programme/Training in Existential-Analytic Psychotherapy and Counselling
Thursday Evening 6.00pm – 9.00pm (Room 2001)
Phenomenology through Psychoanalysis

18th January – 5pm to 6.00pm – Hille Wismayer (RCTE)
‘Do therapists talk too much?’ – Therapists’ experience of silence in the therapeutic encounter
(Room G071)

8th February – 6.00 for 6.30 to 8.00pm – Dr Coline Covington (Jungian Training Analyst and Supervisor)
The Path from Mindlessness to Immorality to Evil
(Room G001)

22nd February – 5pm to 6.00pm – Di Thomas (RCTE)
DIT: Experiences of Short term psychodynamic therapy in the NHS
(Room G071)

8th March – 6.00 for 6.30 to 8.00pm – Dr Rosie Rizq (RCTE and CREST)
Has the NHS lost its placebo effect?
(Room G001)

19th April 2018 – 21st June 2018 – Summer Term 2018
Advanced Practitioner Programme/Training in Existential-Analytic Psychotherapy and Counselling
Thursday Evening 6.00pm – 9.00pm (Room 2001)
Phenomenology through Postmodernism and Neo-liberalism

3rd May – 6.00 for 6.30 to 8.00pm – Anastasios Gaitanidis (RCTE)
Wisdom versus Desire: Deconstructing the Mind-Body Dichotomy in Representations of Love and Disability in Literature and Psychotherapy
(Room G001)

17th May – 5pm to 6.00pm – Prof Del Loewenthal and Cath Altson (RCTE)
Individual involvement and escape motivation: determinants and consequences
(Room G071)

7th June – 6.00 for 6.30 to 8.00pm –Dr James Davies
The new opium: neo-liberalism and mental health
(Room G001)

21st June – 5pm to 6.00pm – Dr Onel Brooks (RCTE)
Approaching Apuleius cagily
(Room G071)

For more information, contact Del Loewenthal





Critical psychotherapy manifesto

One of the Network’s aims is to develop a manifesto for critical psychotherapy. We have traced out some ideas below building from the manifesto outlined in Critical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling:

▪We must resist threats to providing a therapeutic, confidential space. It is our ethical duty to challenge these threats, but we can only do this if we support one another.

▪The training of talking therapists must include sociology, philosophy, anthropology, the arts and political economy. It must also develop trainees skills to observe and deconstruct ideologies (including our own).

▪We must not be seduced by methodologies that simply do not fit what we do. Instead we must find new ways of providing testimonial to ourselves, our colleagues and the public.

▪We must be wary of state interventions and psychiatric nosology which threaten pluralism, and the clients right to create a therapeutic space that works for them.

▪We must be able to work with our own and others sexuality and violence.

▪We need to recognise the cult of individualism can create suffering and overshadow the common good.

▪We need to work actively around and outside the consulting room to inform and challenge public policy and discourse. Thinking about this must be part of future trainings.

We are keen to hear your opinions and reactions to this manifesto, and help us develop it. Please do email us on or comment below.