Dr Russel Ayling

Director of Studies

Professional Biography

Russel is an HCPC registered clinical psychologist and qualified psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Most recently, he has been Research Leader and Interim Head of Programmes for Counselling Psychology at Regent's University London. Prior to this, he was part of the course teams for the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton and London Metropolitan University. He has also been involved in clinical psychology training at the Universities of Surrey, Essex and East London.

Before working as a trainer in counselling psychology, Russel worked in the NHS, in both a psychoanalytic psychotherapy service working with patients experiencing medically unexplained symptoms and their GPs, and a sexual health and HIV service. Russel is passionate about the application of psychoanalytic thinking in clinical and counselling psychology, especially in the context of sex and sexuality, and is a full member of the Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Russel runs a private practice specialising in sex and relationship therapy, and providing therapy and supervision for psychologists in all stages of their careers. Russel is an experienced clinical supervisor in the NHS and mental health charities sectors.  He has supervised the clinical work of a great number of trainee clinical and counselling psychologists, and has continued to see some of them for supervision once they have qualified.  He is also very interested in offering psychoanalytically informed personal therapy to trainee and qualified psychologists.  

Qualifications

  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy training, The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 2011– 2015
  • Introductory course in psychotherapy and philosophy, Philadelphia Association, 2009 – 2010
  • Foundation Course, Institute of Psychoanalysis, 2007 – 2008
  • DClinPsy in Clinical and Community Psychology, University of Exeter, 2003 -2006
  • MA (Hons) in Psychology, First class, University of St Andrews, 1998 – 2002

Relevant Past Employment

  • 2017 – 2018: Interim Head of Programmes, Regent's University London
  • 2016 – 2017: Course Leader (Research), Regent’s University London
  • 2012 – present: Co-director, London Counselling Psychologists
  • 2008 – present: Clinical Psychologist, private therapy practice
  • 2015 – 2016: Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology, University of Roehampton
  • 2008 – 2013: Director, metrotherapy
  • 2011 – 2013: Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology, London Metropolitan University
  • 2006 – 2011: Principal Clinical Psychologist, Barts and the London NHS Trust
  • 2009 – 2010: Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
  • 2006 – 2008: Associate Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University

Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Robins, J. & Ayling, R. (2018). A call to include attachment-based concepts in tailored treatments for obesity. Counselling Psychology Review, 33(2), 21-36. 
  • Seabrook, M. & Ayling, R. (2018). Complexity, Reflexivity and Parallel Process: The Development of a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis Exploring “Medically Unexplained Symptoms”. Sage Research Methods Cases. 
  • Ayling, R. & Mewse, A.J. (2011). ‘It kills me to be too safe’: gay men’s experience of Internet sex-seeking and barebacking. Gay & Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 7(2), 102-116
  • Ayling, R. & Mewse, A.J. (2009). Evaluating Internet interviews with gay men. Qualitative Health Research, 19(4), 566-576
  • Ayling, R. (2006). Young people’s independent access to child and adolescent mental health services. Clinical Psychology Forum, 157, 8-11
  • O’Carroll, R.E., Ayling, R., O’Reilly, S. & North, T. (2003). Alexithymia and sense of coherence in patients with total spinal cord transsection. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 151-155

Research Supervision

Russel is a very experienced doctoral supervisor and has supervised 15 professional doctorates to completion. He conducted his own doctoral research on the relationship between gay men’s use of the Internet and high risk sex, using a novel Internet-based IPA methodology. He is interested in qualitative research in the areas of sex and sexuality; psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic process and practice; pedagogy around practitioner doctoral training; and the use of Internet methodologies as both a therapeutic and research tool.

Russel has experience in supervising IPA, grounded theory and, to a lesser extent, discourse analytic methodologies. He has been involved in supervising doctoral research on a variety of topics. These largely fall into five themes:

  1. Women and sexuality: women’s experience of sex and sexuality post-HIV diagnosis; bisexual women's experience of drug use
  2. Gender issues in therapy: men's experience of therapy for substance use; men’s experience of help seeking in groups; fathers’ experience of their sons’ anorexia; non-binary adolescents' experience of visibility
  3. Internet therapeutics: Instagram and adolescent women's body image; social media and acculturation in digital migrants; women’s being-in-the-digital-world after sexual assault; online abusive behaviors after relationship breakups among UK adults
  4. Counselling psychologists’ work with particular client groups and psychological issues: Medically Unexplained Symptoms; chronic pain and acceptance; self-harm; learning disability; diagnosis; Indian fathers in family therapy; and use of touch in therapy
  5. Trainees’ experiences in counselling psychology training: of stress in young female trainees; personal and professional identity challenges; training in sexuality; training in complex trauma.

Research Interests

  • Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy
  • Gender and sexuality
  • HIV and sexual health
  • Training issues in clinical and counselling psychology

Professional Affiliation(s)/Accreditation

  • HCPC Registered Clinical Psychologist
  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
  • Member of the Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Other Outputs

  • Ayling, R. & Butcher, A. (2018, July). What place for psychoanalysis in counselling psychology? Build bridges or burn them? Workshop presented at the 2018 Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference at Hilton Newcastle, UK
  • Butcher, A. & Ayling, R. (2018, July). Whose vo(I)ce is it anyway? Keeping voice alive in the doctoral viva. Workshop presented at the 2018 Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference at Hilton Newcastle, UK
  • Ayling, R., Meistaite, E. & Valerio, P. (2017). “Impossible to do, but possible to say”: using countertransference in the trainer/trainee relationship. In P. Valerio (Ed.), Countertransference in Therapeutic Practice: A Myriad of Mirrors. London: Routledge
  • Ayling, R. & Butcher, A. (2017, July). How do psychologists learn psychodynamic practice? From core conditions to couch. Poster presented at the 2017 Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference at Crowne Plaza, Stratford Upon Avon, UK
  • Ayling, R. & Butcher, A. (2017, July). So you want to be a (good) examiner? How to evaluate a doctoral candidate in counselling psychology. Workshop presented at the 2017 Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference at Crowne Plaza, Stratford Upon Avon, UK
  • Ayling, R., Meistaite, E. & Valerio, P. (in press). “Impossible to do, but possible to say”: using countertransference in the trainer/trainee relationship. In P. Valerio (Ed.), Countertransference in Therapeutic Practice: A Myriad of Mirrors. London: Routledge.
  • Ayling, R. & Butcher, A. (2017, July). ‘How do psychologists learn psychodynamic practice? From core conditions to couch. Poster presented at the 2017 Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference at Crowne Plaza, Stratford Upon Avon, UK
  • ​England, R., Rock, B. & Ayling, R. (2010, November 11). Patient services – Medically unexplained symptoms. GP Newspaper. www.healthcarerepublic.com
  • Ayling, R. & Mewse, A.J. (2006, December). ‘It kills me to be too safe’: Gay men’s experience of Internet sex-seeking and intended Unprotected Anal Intercourse. Poster presented at the 2006 Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference at the Congress Centre, London, UK
  • Ayling, R. & Mewse, A.J. (2005, September). Gay men’s experience of Internet sex-seeking and intended Unprotected Anal Intercourse: Methodological considerations for an internet-based IPA study. Poster presented at the 2005 Annual IPA conference at Bristol University, Bristol, UK

Teaching & Course Development

Russel is a Director of Studies for the DPsych.  He supervises and examines trainees’ research in counselling psychology.

Examining

Russel has acted as Internal Examiner for nine professional doctorates, and as External Examiner for one PhD and eight professional doctorates. He is currently Programme External Examiner for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Plymouth University.