Fitzjohn’s unit

Specialist outpatient service for patients with complex needs including personality disorder.

Our specialist unit offers treatment to adults with severe and enduring mental health problems. These difficulties often take their origin from early on in life e.g childhood/adolescence. Such individuals largely do not benefit from brief focused treatment and require something of much longer duration that engages them as a whole person. 

They are likely to suffer from: 

  • severe depression, feelings of emptiness 
  • a sense of just not being able to live their own life
  • profound difficulties in managing relationships
  • pervasive anxiety
  • suicidality
  • some patients have a history of self-harm
  • eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia 

Some patients have established mood disorders (e.g. bipolar affective disorder) and some have experienced psychotic episodes.

Who we see

Patients treated in the unit do not fit a single diagnostic group, but suffer from  profound difficulties in psychological functioning that affect all aspects of their life. 

They often experience major breakdowns in relationships, work and education. 

Often the patients who come to us are regarded as being ‘hard to help’ and have difficult or anxiety-provoking relationships with other services and community mental health teams. Some have experienced exclusion from mental health services, making it difficult for them to get help.

Assessment and treatment

We offer assessment, consultation and treatments individually tailored to each patient. 

An important part of our approach is an understanding that patients with personality disorders and other severe mental health problems need a significant length of treatment to provide sufficient containment for a developmental process to take place. 

Most often, we offer twice-weekly individual psychotherapy for two years, followed by the possibility of group therapy for a period of several years. We liaise closely with referrers throughout treatment, but expect that during the time patients are in the unit, there is only limited active use of other services. 

Adults aged 18 and over, with severe and enduring mental health problems.

We accept referrals from GPs and mental health professionals involved in the patient's care.

We are unable to accept self-referrals.

Electronic referrals

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.

Organisation of Site Name field: Tavistock and Portman

Service name: Adult Complex Needs - Tavistock & Portman NHSFT          

Priority: Routine

Speciality: Mental Health – Adults of all ages

Clinic Type: Anxiety/Depression/Stress: Mild/Moderate

Anxiety/Depression/Stress: Severe

Eating Disorders

Peri and Post-Natal Issues

Psychological Disorder/Difficulties

Psychotic Disorders

Self Harm

Sexual Issues

Download the 'Adult complex needs' referral form

Please email us to find out more at

Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA