Therapy Service

How can we help?

At the Institute of Family Therapy (IFT) we offer help to couples, families and other relationship groups who are finding relationships problematic and would like the opportunity to explore and think about those issues.

Please note that we are not a crisis service. If you are in crisis, please contact your GP, Social Care or your Mental Health Practitioner.

Bringing people together in a safe and supportive atmosphere can often help to improve communication and allow a better understanding of each other. Our focus is on how to move forward although sometimes it is important to think about past events and their impact on the present and future.

Therapy at IFT IFT works alongside clients to create a way of working that seems most helpful to them. IFT uses a team approach to ensure that clients have the benefits of a number of views and ideas. In order to use the team to its full potential we work with a one way screen and video. This enables the other team members (usually 4) to observe the sessions from an adjoining room. Their ideas and comments will be shared with you and most clients find this very valuable.

Many clients who come to IFT are experiencing intense upset and pain, but others come in order to address problems at an early stage or even to prevent difficulties arising.

IFT is committed to implement its Equal Opportunities Policy and part of this is to do all that is possible to make the service appropriate and accessible to everyone in the community.

Some of the issues we regularly work with are listed below:

  • Parenting issues with all age groups
  • Couple and marital difficulties
  • Issues relating to divorce, separation, step-parenting and lone parenting
  • Issues arising out of illness and disability
  • Problems relating to alcohol and other substance abuse
  • Lesbian and Gay family issues
  • Coping with the effects of violence, sexual or emotional abuse in the family
  • Re-building relationships after traumatic events
  • Coping with the effects of stress on relationships
  • Meeting the challenges of life cycle change

What are the qualifications of the therapists?

Clinical Associates are in the final part of their advanced training in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy. They will already be qualified in another related profession and have extensive experience of working with families, couples and individuals in other settings (including the National Health Service). All Clinical Associates receive regular professional consultation and keep up to date with new thinking and developments in the field. Clinical Associates are under the direct supervision of a senior therapist.

Because Clinical Associates are in the final part of their advanced training, IFT is not able to take referrals from clients who are involved in court proceedings.

How long will the therapy last and how frequent will appointments be?

This will be discussed with the therapist at the initial session. Sometimes clients only come for a few sessions but in some situations it may be more helpful to meet for longer. Clients can end the therapy at any time and some clients return at a later date for some further discussion about issues. There is usually between 2-3 weeks between sessions.

When are appointments held?

We currently run appointments Monday to Wednesday, late afternoon and evening. As the Institute of Family Therapy operates according to the academic year calendar our therapy service has a break in December, Easter time and over the summer.  Additionally, students study at the Institute for 2 years and any work will be undertaken within this time frame. In the summer term of the final year clients will have a choice between ending the work or returning to a new group of Clinical Associates in the autumn.

Are there any age limits?

There are no age limits. We work across the whole range of relationships including families with young children and adolescents. Our therapists are skilled in communicating with children of different ages. We also work with adult families and older couples. Sometimes adult brothers and sisters find it helpful to have a forum to talk about relationships and family issues.

Will there be a choice of therapist?

Following a discussion with one of our clinical administrators you will be allocated to a therapist who we hope meets your needs. You will have an opportunity to state any important preferences (for example you may prefer a male or female therapist or one with a particular cultural background. We cannot guarantee to meet your requests but we will try.

Will the sessions be confidential?

Confidentiality will be discussed with you by the therapist at the first session. Sessions are confidential and we do not usually communicate with anyone outside the IFT unless requested by the client. Occasionally we may feel that it would be useful for some information to be shared and we will discuss this with you. However, in the event of serious concern for the immediate safety of someone it might be necessary to consult another service. Wherever possible this would be discussed with you first. However, on rare occasions it might be necessary to proceed either without prior discussion or without the clients’ agreement.

All records are kept securely. Clients may have access to their own records. This access would be at IFT and under the supervision of a member of staff.  Please see IFT Client Data Protection Policy

What if I want to attend on my own?

IFT has a particular focus on working with more than one person. This often helps things to move forward at a faster pace. However, clients sometimes want to come to explore the possibility of bringing other people in to the sessions and we may offer appointments so this can be done.

What happens if I am not happy with the service?

We hope that any concerns can be discussed with the therapist and that any problems can be resolved. We welcome feedback from clients and would wish to do what we can to make the work more helpful. If issues remain unresolved the next step would be to speak with the Assistant Director who is responsible for the clinical work of IFT. IFT has a complaints procedure and copies are available on request. It is also a member organisation of United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and clients have recourse to their complaints and appeals procedures.

What is the cost?

Payment is on a sliding scale dependent of income. We do not ask any details of your financial affairs but ask you to decide what is appropriate to pay.  Fees Form

Location and accessibility

IFT is located between Euston Station and Euston Square Underground. The area is well served by public transport and there is pay and display parking available in Stephenson Way and adjoining streets.Because of our easy accessibility we do not operate a catchment area. Many clients come from outside London.

There is disability badge parking outside the building. Therapists will do all they can to make the work accessible to anyone with a disability and special requirements should be discussed with the clinical administrator. Unfortunately at the moment our access to wheelchairs has been temporarily suspended while accessibility is improved by works to the building.


If you have any other questions please contact us. We appreciate that seeking therapy and counselling is often a big step and we want to be as helpful as possible. If we think that IFT is not the best place to access the help you need then we will try to direct you to more appropriate help.

What is the referral process?

Please telephone us so that we can take your referral.  When you decide to refer, our Service Administrator will take down some basic information and also find out your availability.  We currently have appointments Monday – Wednesday, late afternoon and evenings.

Many of our referrals are self referrals but GP’s and other professionals may also refer. Our clinical administrator will be pleased to discuss your referral and give more information about the way the therapists work. We think it is very important that you are able to make an informed decision about whether or not to make an appointment.

For further information or to make a referral, please contact Annamaria Papayova:
020 7391 9150
Monday – Thursday, 1.30pm – 5.30pm)
24-32 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HX.