Professor Alessandra Lemma

Professor Alessandra Lemma

I am a Chartered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, and a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society. I began my career over 35 years ago working with young offenders in prison. This experience inspired me to subsequently work as a social worker and helped me to appreciate first-hand the importance of the social and cultural forces that shape who we become. However, these experiences also taught me that the same external forces do not impact equally on us: two people can be exposed to the same situation and react to it differently. It was the need to understand such individual differences that motivated me to train first as a clinical psychologist, then as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and finally as a psychoanalyst.

My experience of working in the National Health Service for 30 years, alongside my interest and direct involvement in research, have shaped how I approach my work. Psychological problems are common and may affect any one of us at any point in our lives. Some are short-lived and respond well to brief, focussed psychotherapies; others are more chronic and respond better to longer term psychotherapies. Besides my training in long-term psychoanalytic interventions, I also offer brief evidence-based psychological interventions. My clinical interests and areas of expertise are focussed on depression, anxiety, body image disturbances (e.g, eating disorders, body dysmorphia), gender identity, sexual difficulties, and trauma. I have published extensively in all these areas. In 2022 I was a recipient of the Sigourney Award in recognition of my contributions to psychoanalytic theory and practice worldwide.

I now work as a Consultant at the Anna Freud Centre and in private practice with both adolescents and adults. I am Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London and at the Centro Winnicott, Rome. I continue to teach, which is the best way to keep learning.

In addition to direct clinical work, I have a background in applied ethics. I offer consultancy to both individuals and organisations to support rational ethical reflection and dialogue on bioethical and clinical dilemmas and controversies.

I am registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council and HCPC.