About us

London Counselling Psychologists was founded by Dr Russel Ayling and Dr Anna Butcher in 2011.

Dr Russel Ayling

Russel is an HCPC registered clinical psychologist. Most recently, he worked alongside Anna as head of programmes in Counselling Psychology at Regents University London, and led the research programme for the DPsych and DCounsPsy there. Prior to this, he was senior lecturer in counselling psychology at the University of Roehampton, where he led the Year 2 supervised clinical practice module on the doctoral programme and ran a psychoanalytic applications work group. Before that, he was senior lecturer in counselling psychology at London Metropolitan University, where he led the Year 1 research modules on the doctoral programme, as well as lecturing on psychodynamic psychotherapy and sexuality. He was previously involved in Clinical Psychology training at the Universities of East London, Surrey and Essex and is currently Programme External Examiner for the DClinPsy at Plymouth University. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Russel is also a qualified psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He trained at The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, where he is currently Co-Chair, and is passionate about the application of psychoanalytic thinking in clinical and counselling psychology, especially in the context of sex and sexuality. Russel runs a private practice specialising in sex and relationship therapy, and providing therapy and supervision for psychologists in all stages of their careers. Russel has nine years psychology experience in the NHS and is an experienced NHS clinical supervisor. Prior to working as a trainer in clinical and counselling psychology, he worked in a psychoanalytic psychotherapy service working with patients experiencing medically unexplained symptoms and their GPs, and a sexual health and HIV service.

Russel conducted his doctoral research on the relationship between gay men’s use of the Internet and high risk sex, using a novel Internet-based IPA methodology. He is an experienced IPA and Grounded Theory supervisor and examiner, and is interested in qualitative research in the area of sex and sexuality; psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic process and practice; and the use of Internet methodologies as both a therapeutic and research tool. He is an active reviewer for Qualitative Health Research journal.

Dr Anna Butcher

Anna is a BPS Chartered Psychologist and an HCPC registered counselling psychologist. Most recently, Anna worked on the DPsych in Counselling Psychology at Regent’s University London. Prior to this, Anna previously worked as a Senior Lecturer for three years on the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of East London and five years on the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at London Metropolitan University. Anna’s main teaching interests are psychodynamic psychotherapy and qualitative research methods.

As a practitioner, Anna has worked in a variety of settings including the NHS and charity organisations. She also spent three years working in the private sector for a counselling and psychotherapy organisation on Harley Street before setting up her own private practice. Anna works mainly within a psychodynamic framework and she is particularly interested in contemporary psychoanalytic theory and models of practice, specifically mentalization-based therapy, and their application to attachment disorders. Despite her primary interest in psychodynamic psychotherapy, Anna is committed to the pluralistic ethos of Counselling Psychology and makes use of various models of therapy in her practice that she has been exposed to throughout her training and clinical experience.

Anna has a strong interest in discourse analytic research and the social construction of men and masculinity. She completed her own doctoral research on the discursive constructions of relationship breakdown between men and women, and has since been drawn to the epistemological contrasts between discourse analytic perspectives and psychotherapeutic conceptualisations of the individual and subjectivity. Anna’s other research interests include the development of, and working with, narcissistic personality organisations, relationships between men and women and the influence of attachment configurations in couple/partner choice and relationship patterns. Anna is committed to the development of Counselling Psychology. She was an active member of the BPS Division of Counselling Psychology Conference Committee for two years which involved promoting the output and contribution of Counselling Psychology research in various domains and organising events designed specifically for trainee and newly-qualified Counselling Psychologists. Anna is also an Associate Fellow of the BPS and a submissions reviewer on the International Advisory Board for the Psychology of Sexualities Review journal.

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