Portman clinic

Offers specialist long-term help for children, young people and adults with disturbing sexual behaviours, criminality and violence.

The Portman clinic offers specialist long-term psychoanalytically informed psychotherapeutic help to people who suffer from problems arising from:

  • delinquent behaviour
  • criminal behaviour
  • violent behaviour
  • disturbing and damaging sexual behaviours or experiences

We are here to provide services for people who may be excluded or rejected by other services because of their past or present behaviours.

We aim to treat patients in a respectful and sensitive way, whatever their history.

Assessment and treatment

We aim to offer patients a first appointment for assessment within 11 weeks of being referred to us.


Where the referred patient is a child or young person the assessment process usually involves working with all or some of the family members, or the child’s carers. The active support of family or carers is often essential to effective assessment and treatment. All under-18s who attend the Portman clinic must be accompanied by a responsible carer or parent on the way to and at the clinic.

If appropriate children are offered individual child psychotherapy sessions and the child’s parents or carers are seen periodically as necessary.


We first conduct an assessment, which may require several meetings. This is an exploratory discussion of the patient’s concerns and difficulties in the context of their history. The assessment process is often helpful in its own right.

At the end of the assessment we discuss with the patient what treatment may be appropriate. This could be:

On some occasions, after further assessments involving the referred patient's partner, we may offer couples therapy

After the assessment process, with the patient’s consent, we inform the referrer of the outcome.

Individual and couple psychotherapy involves weekly sessions, although we may sometimes offer sessions on a less or more frequent basis, depending on the patient’s need and the availability of treatment vacancies. Group therapy sessions are weekly and we recommended that patients are able to commit themselves to a minimum of two years of weekly attendance during term times.

We also run a research project that offers group mentalisation based therapy sessions for those with diagnosed anti-social personality disorder.

In accordance with NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines for the treatment of the individuals we see here, we usually offer longer-term treatment than most other services. Patients with a forensic history (people who have a mental health problem who have been arrested, are on remand or have been to court and found guilty of a crime) and those suffering with personality disorders and paraphilias (problems controlling unusual sexual impulses) often need longer-term engagement and our treatment may be offered as open-ended.


Couples are sometimes referred and seen for an assessment. Some couples may be offered regular couples therapy, or we may offer one member of the couple individual psychotherapy or group therapy, whichever is considered to be most appropriate.

Risk assessments and court reports

We also provide risk assessments and court reports for civil and criminal courts. Please email the Portman clinic for further information.


Our staff are trained and experienced in nursing, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy and social/probation work. They have all had further training in psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy with adults and/or children.

We saw our first patient in 1933 and since then have developed particular expertise in this area.

National service, with clinic in London

Children, young people and adults who suffer from problems arising from: 

  • delinquent behaviour
  • criminal behaviour
  • violent behaviour
  • disturbing and damaging sexual behaviours or experiences

If you feel you would benefit from our service, speak to your GP or other appropriate professional about a referral to us. Your GP may suggest this service to you if you experience any of the difficulties mentioned above.

This is a national service. Referrals can be made to us from any part of England.

020 7794 8262


8 Fitzjohn’s Avenue, London NW3 5NA