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Dr Laurence Spurling

BA (Cantab) Social Science, Ph.D. (Manchester) Philosophy
Senior Lecturer in Psychosocial Studies (0.8)
Programme Director and Admissions Tutor for:


Academic background

  • Laurence Spurling joined Birkbeck in 1986 as a tutor on what was then the Department of Extra-Mural Studies, teaching on the Diploma in Adult Counselling. In 1994 he became a Lecturer in Counselling in the School of Psychology. He is now Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychosocial Studies, with overall responsibility for the counselling and psychotherapy provision within the department. He is Programme Director of the MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling & Psychotherapy and the MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy with Childrenand Adolescents, where he teaches in the third year. He is Programme Director for the Graduate Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling, where he teaches on the course.
  • He works part-time at Birkbeck, and combines his academic career with a part-time clinical post as a Consultant Adult Psychotherapist in the NHS, as well as working in private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.

Research and teaching

Research interests

  • My research writing has ranged over a series of clinical issues and interests, including working with borderline patients, assessment in psychotherapy, the concept of regression in psychoanalysis, and transference to psychoanalytic figures.  My current interests are in comparing psychoanalytic therapy to other contemporary approaches.
  • Psychodynamic counselling; the clinical case study; psychotherapy with borderline personality disorders. If you are interested in pursuing research in any of these areas, you should first read our advice on how to apply for MPhil/PhD research before submitting an application.
  • Psychoanalytic theory and technique
  • Combining psychoanalytic practice with other therapies
  • Psychoanalysis in public settings


  • Theoretical and clinical seminars on the MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling & Psychotherapy.


  • M.A., Professional Doctorate and Ph.D students in Psychoanalytic studies



  • 2009: 2nd edition of An Introduction to Psychodynamic Counselling, with one new chapter (20 pages) and revisions
  • 2004: Spurling, L. An Introduction to Psychodynamic Counselling, Palgrave/MacMillan 156 pages
  • 1977: Phenomenology and the Social World: Routledge

Journal articles

  • Spurling, L (2012) ‘Characters in interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapy: a comparison’, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, vol.26, no.3, 230-244
  • Spurling, L. (2010) 'Can there be an analytic practice of a non-analytic therapy?' Psychodynamic Practice vol.16, no.1. 45-59.
  • Spurling, L. (2008). 'Is there still a place for the concept of therapeutic regression in psychoanalysis?', International Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol.89, no.3:523-540(translated as 'Gibt as in der Psychoanalyse noch einen Platz fur das Koncept der “therapeutischen Regression”?' in Internationale Psychoanalyse 2009, ed. A.Mauss-Hanke, Psychosozial Verlag)
  • Spurling, L. (2005). 'Combined therapy with Borderline patients'. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 21(4), 543-558
  • Spurling, L. (2003). 'Transference with the Borderline client: Some implications for training psychodynamic counsellors'. Psychodynamic Practice, 9(1), 25-42
  • Spurling, L. (2003).'On the therapeutic value of not offering Psychotherapy: An account of an extended asssessment'. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy,17(1), 1-17
  • Spurling, L. (2003). 'On Psychoanalytic figures as transference objects', International Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol.84: 31-43

Professional membership and awards

Professional membership

  • Senior Member, London Centre for Psychotherapy

Contact details

Room 202, 30 Russell Square
Department of Psychosocial Studies
Birkbeck, University of London
London  WC1B 5DT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 6395