Adolescent and young adult service (AYAS)
We help people between the ages of 14 and 25 who struggle with any emotional or relational aspect of being an adolescent or young adult.
The adolescent and young adult service at the Tavistock Centre is one of very few NHS clinics that specialises in helping young people between the ages of 14 and 25; and up to 30 for the young people’s consultation service.
Our service is designed to understand what you as an adolescent or young adult is going through. We also aim to help you come to understand this better for yourself and if your parents are struggling as well, we can meet with them separately.
We draw on our knowledge of working with issues affecting this age group. Central to our work is the individual: your own experience of what it’s like being an adolescent or young adult, and the ways in which you understand what’s been troubling you.
We offer different models of therapy but mainly think about emotional wellbeing from a psychoanalytic perspective. This is a way of understanding how we think, feel and act that considers the influence of relationships, past and present. It also promotes greater self-awareness so that we might notice and feel more in control of the unhelpful ways we can find ourselves acting and feeling, often without even thinking. Often these were helpful ways of coping at one time in our lives but may not be so helpful anymore and feel as if they’re holding us back.
Who we see
Young people come to us with all sorts of difficulties, so the first thing to do is begin to understand what is troubling you. After the first few meetings, we will think with you about how best we can help.
We see a whole range of people here. We see people who are having problems with their relationships, with friends and family, with school or working life, with depression, anxiety, with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, with problems related to self-esteem, eating difficulties, and with experiences of abuse and trauma, including violence, family break-up, bereavement.
Sometimes young people come to us with a clear-cut diagnosis (e.g. depression, anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder). But often the problem can also be more difficult to pin down. It may feel like there are many difficulties and anxieties that overlap and are harder to untangle.
We see people who are having problems with, but not limited to:
- stress and anxiety
- phobias, including social phobia
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- eating problems
- problems relating to particular life events, such as parental separation or bereavement
- anger and aggression
- depression and self-harm
- dislike of appearance
- problems with friends, family and other relationships
- drug and alcohol issues
- traumatic events
- difficulties leaving home
- difficulties coping with school, work, college or university problems, or unemployment
- problems following difficult early life experiences, including abuse, neglect or trauma
We initially offer a consultation that allows us to think with you about your needs within a psychoanalytic framework, which typically consists of a series of four meetings to help you to think about your difficulties and what therapy might be helpful in the long-term, if anything. During the consultation your therapist talks with you about the different types of therapy we offer and explains the benefits and downsides.
Occasionally, after the consultation we might refer you to another service. We would discuss this with you first.
Sometimes it can feel frightening to start to talk about how you’re feeling and there might be a part of you that wants help but another that finds accepting it really difficult. We hope to help you get to a place where you can talk, if you want to. We understand for some people this might take some time.
If you are feeling nervous, or anxious, or angry, or confused about coming to see us, it helps if you tell your therapist how you are feeling, even if it is something negative.
We offer different models of therapy but mainly think about the mind and mental health from a psychoanalytic perspective.
This is a way of understanding how we think and feel that considers the influence of relationships, past and present. It also promotes greater self-awareness so that we might notice and better understand the ways we can find ourselves acting and feeling, often instinctively, without even thinking.
- psychoanalytic psychotherapy
- short-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy (STPP)
- dynamic interpersonal psychotherapy (DIT)
- group therapy
- work with parents
Alongside this, some young people may benefit from taking medication and can meet with one of our doctors to discuss this.
There may also be the possibility to undertake other therapies in our service, in line with what you and the therapist you first meet agree might feel helpful for you. This can be discussed during your initial meetings with a therapist. They can talk with you about options for other kinds of therapeutic intervention available in our and other services.
Young people’s consultation service
We offer four confidential consultations to anyone aged between 16 and 30 who has personal or emotional difficulties or dilemmas that they would like to talk to somebody about. These could be difficulties in relationships with family, friends or partners, or with school, college or work.
Find out more on the young people’s consultation service page.
Parent consultation service
We offer four meetings with parents and carers who are concerned about the mental health of a child or young person aged between 14 and 25.
Find out more on the parent consultation service page.
Our team includes professionals who all have particular experience in the psychological and emotional difficulties adolescents and young adults can face.
We are a multidisciplinary team including:
- social workers
Camden, Barnet, Haringey, Islington and Westminster
Referrals from other areas on arrangement (see 'how to access this service' below for more information)
Young people who struggle with any psychological, emotional or relational aspect of being an adolescent or young adult. This is primarily for those between 14 and 25 years old.
Please see our young people’s consultation service page for details of our consultation service for young people up to the age of 30.
We accept self-referrals from young people living in Camden who are 18 years old or older. People under the age of 18 must go through the child and family department. We also accept referrals from GPs and other professionals such as social workers, psychiatrists, teachers and university tutors/staff.
Please phone or email us for more information.
We accept referrals from GPs and other professionals who work with young people in boroughs including Barnet, Haringey, Islington and Westminster.
If you don't have a Camden GP your local borough might need to agree for you to be seen here. You're welcome to contact us directly to make sure that we're the best service to approach, before you go ahead and ask your GP for a referral here.
Electronic Referral Service
Please be aware that GPs who can refer directly to Tavistock & Portman services are now able to refer to a Referral Assessment Service (RAS) via the Electronic Referral Service.
To locate the service on eRS, enter the following in the search fields:
Service name: Children, Young Adults and Family – Tavistock & Portman NHSFT
Speciality: Mental Health – Child and Adolescent
Clinic Type: Not Otherwise Specified
Organisation of Site Name field: Tavistock and Portman