Dr Russel Ayling

Russel Ayling

Position: Joint Interim Head of Programmes, Counselling Psychology
Email: aylingr@regents.ac.uk
Linkedin: View Linkedin profile
Faculty: Psychotherapy & Psychology
Programme/s: DPsych Counselling Psychology

Professional Biography

Russel is an HCPC registered clinical psychologist and qualified psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Prior to joining Regent’s, 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, and is an experienced clinical supervisor in the NHS and mental health charities sectors.

Russel conducted his 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 three themes:

  • Women’s experience of sex and sexuality post-HIV diagnosis
  • Trainees’ experiences in counselling psychology training: of stress in young female trainees; personal and professional identity challenges; and sexuality training
  • Counselling psychologists’ work with particular client groups and psychological issues: Medically Unexplained Symptoms; self-harm; learning disability; diagnosis; and Indian fathers in family therapy.

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.


  • 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

  • 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

Professional Affiliation(s)/Accreditation

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

Teaching & Course Development

Russel is the joint Interim Head of Programmes for Counselling Psychology at Regent’s. Alongside Dr Anna Butcher, he has overall responsibility for the DPsych in Counselling Psychology. He also directs the research elements of the DPsych and  manages the DCounsPsy programme.

Research Supervision

Russel has supervised 11 professional doctorates to completion.  He is an experienced supervisor at Master’s and Doctoral level.


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

Research Interests

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


Peer-reviewed Publications

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


Other Outputs

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

Last updated: 01 March 2018