Dr. Ajay Khandelwal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy & Counselling near Southwark, South London & Marylebone, Central London

Should I depend on Others. 2017 Self Studio Photograph

Counsellor Waterloo; Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Counselling next to Southwark Tube in Comfortable and Peaceful Surroundings in Harley Street and London Bridge

My name is Dr Ajay Khandelwal. I am a counsellor and psychotherapist in Devonshire Street off Harley Street in central London (my consulting room is pictured below)and also in the London Bridge and Borough area. I work with adults and couples experiencing depression, anxiety, addiction, sexual and relationship issues, and many other mental health difficulties. I am a full clinical member of the main psychotherapy bodies, BACP, UKCP and the College of Psychoanalysts UK.

You may have found yourself on this website as New Year is often a time of self-examination and self-reflection; also a number of psychological difficulties may surface after the intensity of the Xmas period. Adults who have had a good grip over addictions and compulsions find themselves back in the soup; couples may decide to separate or re-examine their relationship; many people find themselves depressed entering into the bleak weather and demoralising economic, ecological and political landscape surrounding us this January. If you are considering trying therapy for the first time, or decide to see a therapist for a new problem, January is an excellent time to get in touch to find out more.

I work with individuals, couples and groups. I provide psychoanalysis; therapy, coaching and personal development depending on your needs and circumstances. Fees are per session, and I usually discuss these, and other practicalities, i.e. holidays etc, at our first meeting.

Are you experiencing any of the following: psychological difficulties; self-destructive thoughts; addictions or compulsions around sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling or food; work place problems, relationship difficulties; loss of meaning; depression; mania; anxiety; loss of purpose; ill health; family or caring difficulties; loss of creativity? These are some of the areas that people approach a psychotherapist in order to speak about their experience, and gain some insight and relief. However, I would be interested in your specific difficulties and am currently accepting new patients.

Don't believe what you read in the self-help books, or see on the internet. The fact is that life is stupidly difficult. In fact, the more you look into it, the more impossible it seems. I have read 1000s of book and papers on the subject of psychological suffering; I have seen hundreds of people experiencing difficulties. If there was a simple formula, I'd share it with you now. However, each person needs something different, and that's where psychotherapy can actually help.

Talking about difficulties can sometimes make them more bearable. Putting our experiences into words can help us to live more creatively. It can take a long time to find our way to the words and thoughts we need.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

I am a psychotherapist with 25 years experience of working with adults in difficulties who are experiencing some form of suffering. I believe that psychotherapy can be extremely helpful for a number of difficulties. You may have explored medical solutions, or self-diagnosis to respond to your problems. Psychotherapy, which is based on talking about your experiences, can offer a deeper, more satisfying answer. The symptom you are suffering from may benefit from understood in the wider context of your personal and life experience. I have comfortable consulting rooms adjacent to the medical area of Harley Street W1. I also have peaceful and discreet rooms on Borough High Street SE1.

Many people come back to work and routines in January and this can be a good time to seek the help of a psychotherapist.

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

I am a psychoanalytical psychotherapist and counsellor in the Harley Street and London Bridge area in central London. I am an expert on addiction treatment with fifteen years experience of working in public and private clinics and treatment centres. I have run drug and alchohol treatment services in South London for many years.

Psychotherapy is all about helping another person and in my view that is what lies at the centre of it. If you would like to experience helpful psychotherapy, where you are treated with care and respect, kindness and consideration, please do get in touch.

I can see you near London Bridge at no 42 Borough High Street SE1; alternatively I can see you in the West End in my Harley Street consulting rooms (close to Baker Street, Marleybone, Oxford Circus, Warren Street, Great Portland Street tubes) in W1. I provide a "talking/listening help" for psychological difficulties. I work with difficult to treat issues such as depression, addiction, anxiety, sexual and relationship issues. I provide psychotherapy and counselling from my central london and Harley Street consulting rooms. My locations are well suited if you are seeking psychotherapy or counselling in South London or Central London for anxiety, depression or addiction issues.

If you are looking for psychological help, psychotherapy, counselling, or innovative psychoanalysis in South London or Central London please do get in touch. I am a fully qualified and experienced counsellor and psychoanalyst and specialise in working with high achieving professionals in difficulties. I am a counsellor in the Harley Street area, W1. I recommend that if you want help with your depression, addiction, anxiety or other mental health issues then please call me. I am able to offer a free telephone consultation to establish if psychotherapy or counselling would be beneficial. Alternatively, if you want to enquire about psychotherapy in central or South London for depression, addiction or anxiety issues then you are welcome to email me and I will respond. If you include a few details about your situation that will help me think about the value of psychotherapy or counselling for you.

My approach:

I tend to work with people on a longer term basis, usually meeting for 50 minutes every week. This gives a structure for the psychotherapeutic process to work. I can tailor this based on what emerges from our initial psychotherapy consultation. I offer counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis from excellent locations in both South and Central London. I am a counsellor/psychotherapist/psychoanalyst working from Waterloo, and central London.


I am psychoanalytical pscyhotherapist registered with the main professional bodies such as: BACP, UKCP, and the College of Psychoanalysts UK.
I read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University, and hold a PhD with research based on understanding intergenerational family dynamics. I have 25 years experience of helping people with mental health difficulties. I am the founder and clinical director of a London Psychotherapy service.


All sessions are confidential.

I work as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist to help adults with issues around depression, addiction, anxiety and a range of other issues from my consulting rooms in central london and Harley Street.

To dare to be aware of the facts of the universe in which we are existing calls for courage. - Wilfred Bion

Should I depend on Others. boxtree inside room couch

Should I Depend on Others?

The Japanese psychoanalyst Takeo Doi wrote the non-fiction book The Anatomy of Dependence (甘えの構造 Amae no Kōzō) in the 1970s to explore the issue of dependency. He argued that the ideal relationship was that of parent / child, which obviously has heaps of dependency built-in; and that this type of relationship should serve as a prototype for all other relationships. Forget equality and being responsible for yourself! No, according to Doi, deep satisfaction comes from really depending on another, sometimes in what we might think of as childish ways.

Trying to get your partner to pick you up from the station when you could walk home, or a cup of tea in the morning, these are all extremely important things to aim for. Make them feel guilty, sulk, act helpless, do whatever it takes. Equally important is to indulge your partner’s desire to depend on you in this fashion. In this version of living we are creatures with our own unique desires and quirks; and we need someone to accommodate them, indulge them.

We don’t want to be using all our capacities all the time like some worker drone machine. Doi thought that “amae” was more prevalent in Japanese society; but perhaps it is just as prevalent in the West but is more hidden. Everyone is busy strutting about showing off their “independence” (until they get ill, or lose their job, their partner, or get struck down by some other blow). Perhaps people express their dependence in private, to their therapists? Exhausted by being resilient and independent, I wonder if therapists provide an arena where it is ok to bring this shadow material?

Let me give you some more examples. Your son is five years old, and he asks you to do up his laces. Fair enough, he needs your help. This is normal dependency, because the child lacks the capacity to do his own laces. Imagine that your son is eleven years old and he makes the same request. You can either respond by saying “do it yourself”, or you can indulge him and say, “of course, sit down, I’d love to help you with that.” This second approach embodies the spirit of “amae”: your son experiences the feeling of pleasurable dependence. He has the ability to tie his laces, but he would rather you did it.

Doi argues that children are always trying to get their parents to indulge them, through this type of dependency. Similarly, adults may seek to be indulged in this way, by their employer or spouse. Your partner comes home drunk and asks you to help them undress. You could say, “do it yourself. I am not responsible for your drunken state”; or you can carefully undress them and help them into their pyjamas.

For many people the second approach feels like a living hell. Remember all those books about co-dependency. Aren’t you simply enabling an alcoholic? Isn’t it pathological to try and get someone else to meet your needs in such a way? Isn’t it better to just look after your patch, your life and leave others to tend to theirs? Aren’t we supposed to be independent and resilient? Indulging your children/partner will lead to incapacitating them, stunting their growth and development. Well, yes, these are all valid points. Perhaps you need to give your partner a jolt, an ultimatum, and there is a better life without carrying their luggage.

But Doi convincingly argues that we all have a desire to depend on others and it’s better to notice it and give it some space. There are more or less painful ways to do this. The western myth of the self-made man / woman is just that, a fantasy. All of us are interdependent on others. Yet, perhaps we find our profound levels of dependency on others too much to bear, so we try and hide it. We act as if we can take care of ourselves, alone. We can diagnose ourselves over the Internet, and we can create our own treatment plans. Perhaps we can track things on an app? We can remove our need to depend on a living, breathing other.

Nowadays patients are sometimes called service users, or clients, or analysands. The term patient often evokes too much passivity and we like to think of ourselves as empowered active participants in our mental health. There is a great deal to be said for this, and of course, in therapy, you are doing most of the work. If you were passive, nothing would change. However, whether you see yourself as a patient or a client, you are depending on your therapist. Is that so bad? The experience of depending on another person can allow you to explore areas of your life that would be off-limits alone. Nowadays, dependency is devalued. If you go to your GP you have five minutes, and you don’t want to be a burden. You will have done some Internet research before your appointment. However, there used to be a tradition of psychotherapeutic doctors, such as Michael Balint, who would meet with his patients after the surgery closed. He would like to get know all about their families and lives. He believed that he could only understand their difficulties in the context of their entire lives. He would allow his patients to depend on him.

This is becoming more and more difficult in modern healthcare. We know that 1/3 of GP appointments are not for any specific biological problem, often termed as “medically unexplained symptoms”. But how can the doctor get to the heart of the matter if they only have six minutes to spend with the patient? It puts both the doctor and the patient in an very difficult position. Both parties have to stick to surface niceties, even if there are much deeper things going on.

Psychoanalyst Darian Leader and David Corfield (Why do People Get Ill?) did some research and found that people often go to the GP on the anniversary of a significant bereavement, such as the death of spouse or parent. It’s understandable the patient may not be feeling well, but it’s unlikely the doctor will have the space to find out the reason. Six minute consultations limit the ability of the patient to express their dependency on the doctor and really think about what it going on.

Our health and ill health are likely to evoke extremely powerful experience of dependency. Doctors, nurses, medical staff and psychotherapists seek to attend to such primitive anxieties and provide a container for them in the therapeutic relationship. In order to do this, they have to be “dependable”, and the patient / client has to be able to depend on them.

Perhaps those people who enter therapy are in fact more independent, through seeking help, than those people who think that they don’t depend on anyone else. Many people depend on substances and process to get through the day, but perhaps we are better off depending on other people? Some people depend on destructive relationships and need to find new relationships. People in recovery from addictions often demonstrate this when they attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Historically people in analysis might go 3,4 times a week to see their therapist. Addictions are often very lonely experiences, with a fantasy of not having to rely on another person. Therefore, when a person stops using, they may be faced with very high levels of dependency which are unbearable on their own. Therapy and groups provide a way to experience and vulnerability and support, to truly take the risky, yet enriching path of depending on others.

Ajay Khandelwal PhD MBACP UKCP is a psychoanalytical psychotherapist in private practice and is currently accepting enquires for counselling and psychotherapy in Harley Street and Central and South London (London Bridge). If you are looking for counselling in South London; or a counsellor in Harley Street please get in touch by phone or email.

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