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 and Canary Wharf. 


I am an independent UKCP registered existential psychotherapist and MBACP Senior Accredited Counsellor offering psychotherapy in Walthamstow and Canary Wharf to individuals, couples and families. My expertise encompasses all aspects of individual, family and couple psychotherapy.

The primary 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 over 20 years experience of helping people in this way. I have worked as an Adult Psychotherapist within four NHS departments since 1998 and in private practice since 2002. I have also been a lecturer and supervisor at many reputable training organisations in the UK. I now work full-time in private practice as a psychotherapist. My interest in psychotherapy is part of a life-long search for truth in personal relationships.

❝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. 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. 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 tremendously rewarding yet tremendously difficult. As I see it, psychotherapy should be undertaken once and address one’s personal emotional problems in a fundamental way. My working contract reflects this point of view. For the first four weeks I ask 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 psychotherapy practice in Canary Wharf and Walthamstow 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. 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.

The following is a broad categorisation of the current scope of the psychotherapy I offer:

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

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

problems associated with the diagnosis of ‘mental illness’ (see below)
difficulties associated with the diagnosis of genuine organic illness in which a psychosomatic component is present. For example skin disease, bowel problems etc.
post natal depression in women and men.
problems related to sleep or food.
difficulties specific to working as a psychotherapist in Canary Wharf; work stress, organisational change, work-life balance, relocation, workplace conflict etc.


I work with the full range of problems in living which psychiatry claims to deal with. People frequently consult me wishing to clarify a problematic life situation which resulted in a diagnosis of ‘mental illness’. This is often experienced as intensifying the original predicament. I work with clients with ‘psychiatric diagnoses’ such as ‘schizophrenia’, ‘borderline personality disorder’, ‘bipolar disorder’ and ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’.

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. 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 two psychotherapy practices are located in East London in Walthamstow E17 close to Walthamstow Central tube and Walthamstow Village and Canary Wharf E14 close to West India Quay dlr.


for 50 minutes
Individuals £85.00 
Couples £95.00
Families £110.00

for 1 hr 20 minutes
Individuals £115.00 
Couples £125.00
Families £135.00