Jan Sheppard Psychotherapist

BA (Hons) MA (Psych.) Adv. Dip. Ex. Psych. Couns. MBACP (Snr.Accred.) UKCP Regd.

Individual, couple and family psychotherapist
based in Walthamstow, East London. 


I am a UKCP registered existential psychotherapist based in Walthamstow, East London. My expertise encompasses all aspects of individual, family and couple psychotherapy. I am also an MBACP Senior Accredited Counsellor. 

The aim of my work is to increase understanding and deepen insight into patterns of experience and behaviour which clients identify as problematic and wish to clarify and resolve. This is the case whether you consult me as an individual, couple or family.

I have 25 years experience in helping people this way. I have worked as an Adult Psychotherapist within four NHS departments since 1998 and in private practice since 2002. Equally, I have lectured and supervised at many reputable training organisations in the UK. I now work full-time in private practice as a registered psychotherapist in Walthamstow.

My interest in psychotherapy is part of a life-long search for truth in the helping professions and personal relationships.

If you’re considering psychotherapy in Walthamstow, you may be wondering what to expect. In this website I will give you a brief overview of what to expect in terms of sessions, fees, working method and areas of expertise.

❝If we get our own position straight, it is amazing what can come into view.❞


Aaron Esterson
Existential family analyst and author.


The heart of my practice is careful and attentive listening. I speak in ordinary non-technical language and ask many simple questions. Similarly, the setting is intimate and cooperative and conversations are confidential. You can read a couple of ‘testimonials’ here

The approach I take is rooted in a tradition known as existential phenomenology. This is a method designed to help people whose daily lives have become problematic by clarifying their experience of themselves, their significant others, and the relationships between them and these others. Hence, it is investigative and demystifying. The aim is to facilitate reflective self-examination in order to bring about change.

My work is influenced by and indebted to the social phenomenological analysis of R.D Laing and Aaron Esterson, the existential psychoanalysis of Thomas Szasz and by colleagues of theirs who taught me closely.


Psychotherapy is rewarding yet difficult. In my view it should be undertaken once and address personal emotional problems in a fundamental way. Therefore, my working contract reflects this point of view.

In the first four weeks I ask clients for twenty four hours notice for cancellation. Beyond this I ask for two weeks notice. I see this initial four week period as a mutual assessment period as the investment from both parties going forward is considerable. My contract with couples and families is slightly different as I ask for one week’s notice for cancellation throughout the period of work.

In general, I see couples and families for fifteen to twenty sessions and individuals for a period of at least two years. Although the frequency, duration and termination of sessions are determined by yourself, I ask for a minimum commitment of once-weekly consultations. All of this is clarified in an initial introductory appointment for which I charge my normal fee. 


My psychotherapy practice in Walthamstow, East London is dedicated to individuals, couples and families experiencing a wide range of difficulties. Some people attend psychotherapy with a specific problem, for instance addiction, anorexia, depression, anxiety etc. However, other people attend for a deeper analysis which isn’t focused on eliminating a specific symptom, although the symptom will often disappear as a consequence of this exploration.

Although people can and do change themselves without psychotherapy, many of the behaviours people bring into therapy and wish to change have become adaptive or functional for them and resistant to change by ordinary means.

Walthamstow psychotherapy can help you work through a variety of issues. In summary, the following is a broad categorisation of the current scope of the psychotherapy I offer as a registered individual, family and couple psychotherapist in Walthamstow:


First, families and couples wishing to deepen their relationships. This may involve establishing new patterns of relating or demystifying and disentangling their relationships with one another.


Second, individuals experiencing repetitive emotionally destructive patterns of behaviour and/or experience. These are usually defined as obsessions, compulsions, phobias and addictions. Also their consequences such as anxiety and depression.


Third, problems related to intimacy and sex in couples. Usually communication problems, questions regarding sexuality, erectile problems, loss of libido etc.


Fourth, issues related to the experience of loneliness and loss of direction such as feelings of meaninglessness and despair.


Fifth, problems associated with the diagnosis of ‘mental illness’ (see below)


Sixth, difficulties associated with the diagnosis of genuine organic illness in which a psychosomatic component is present. For example skin disease, bowel problems etc.


Seventh, post natal depression in women and men.


Finally, problems related to sleep or food.

Family therapy and couple therapy are also available in Walthamstow. Walthamstow Couple therapy is an effective method for understanding and resolving a wide range of relationship problems, including communication difficulties, financial stress, infidelity, parenting disagreements, and sexual difficulties.

It can also be helpful for couples who are considering separation and divorce. Walthamstow Family therapy is focussed primarily on deepening and strengthening family bonds. It may involve understanding and moving beyond a specific crisis in one member which has brought into focus a family’s style of interaction.

Walthamstow family therapy can also help with ‘blended family’ situations in which normal family life has been disrupted and a step parent plus their children have become part of a new family set-up.

Family members will sometimes be seen in different configurations but the initial meeting will always involve the family as a whole.


I work with the full range of problems in living which psychiatry claims to deal with. Therefore, people frequently consult me wishing to clarify a problematic life situation resulting in a diagnosis of ‘mental illness’. I work with clients with ‘psychiatric diagnoses’ such as ‘schizophrenia’, ‘borderline personality disorder’, ‘bipolar disorder’, ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’ etc. Although I reject both the concept of ‘mental illness’ and the psychopathological view of human behaviour I retain terms such as obsession, compulsion etc as identifiable patterns of experience and behaviour. 

People also consult me who are concerned they are experiencing ‘symptoms of mental illness’ such as ‘hearing voices’, ‘thought disorder’, ‘suicide ideation’, ‘depersonalisation’ etc and wish to demystify these and/or other initially unintelligible experiences.

I have never referred anyone to a psychiatrist and will not redefine a problem of living as a ‘mental illness’. If you have visited a psychiatrist or are considering doing so, you are welcome to consult me for a second opinion.

You can read about my views on the relationship between psychotherapy and psychiatry below in publications.


❝What is it like to go for therapy? It’s the chance to think out loud in a setting where the distorting effects of chaotic emotions and faulty ideas can be recognised, and experiences can be re-examined in a more truthful light

Being in therapy involves a conversation with someone who is both neutral and honest – a person experienced in guiding people to better articulate and address the unique difficulties in their lives. This process is often challenging and requires effort, but it is immensely liberating..❞


❝In commencing psychotherapy, I found I had to be prepared to ask myself questions, difficult questions, challenge myself, explore my values and actually, in a way, pull myself apart. Perhaps most importantly, I had to come to be able to imagine myself another way, be open to seeing a different perception of myself. Until I could begin to imagine these other possibilities, then the possibility of change is not easy. The process is slow and took a few years and is ongoing even after finishing, but through the process, sometimes obvious and sometimes subtly, I have come to imagine myself in different ways and can make use of those to help me into a future for myself.❞


Jan Sheppard CV 2019


Mystification and Confusion in Recent Critique of Psychiatry 2022

Psychiatric Drag 2019
Knotted: R.D. Laing and Psychiatry 2017
Review of All Divided Selves by Luke Fowler

contact & location

0208 5098014 / 07742 423222

My psychotherapy practice in Walthamstow E17 is close to Walthamstow Central tube and Walthamstow Village.


for 50 minutes
Individuals £90.00
Couples £100.00
Families £115.00

for 1 hr 20 minutes
Individuals £115.00
Couples £125.00
Families £140.00