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Self Harm Service (SHOPS)

How our service can help you

The Self-Harm Outpatient Service (SHOPs) is a specialist and national self-harm service. We provide two years of intensive longer-term psychotherapy for adults experiencing complex and enduring problems relating to self-harm or other forms of self-destructiveness. These behaviours are understood and worked with in the context of difficulties in relationships, early adversity and experiences that may include trauma. We work with people to help them understand how turning to self-destructiveness can serve as a way of coping with underlying problems. We provide a setting that can help people bear intense and disturbing experiences.

We are involved in outcome research in psychotherapy and our clinical work is undertaken by senior and experienced psychotherapists, and supervised mental health practitioners.

Individuals appropriate to this service often make frequent use of emergency services or multiple care agencies. Many have been diagnosed as having a personality disorder, and may also have suffered from eating disorders, depression, complex trauma or alcohol and substance misuse. For many, their emotional problems and difficulties in forming mutually satisfying relationships can be linked to adverse experiences in early life and contribute to longer term complex problems.

  • Treatment type: Outpatient
  • Contact the service

    Site Location: Maudsley Hospital Email: Phone Number: 020 3228 2383 or 07974 724 599
  • Address: Outpatients Department
    Maudsley Hospital
    Denmark Hill,
    SE5 8AZ
  • Other essential information

  • Conditions: self harm, outpatient


  • Assessment and consultation with the individual and referrer
  • Our main offer of treatment is two years of once weekly psychotherapy
  • Second opinion assessments for complex patients
  • Extended clinical consultations, including for families and carers
  • Consultation to GPs, community teams and other mental health services nationally
  • Supervision and training of other professionals and honorary psychotherapists
  • Specialist consultations to other organisations

Eligibility criteria

  • 18 years and over
  • Self-harm or self-destructiveness in some form

Diagnosis is often unclear, reflecting complex psychiatric morbidity. Individuals will usually have the following presentation: 

  • Primary behavioural disturbance related to repeat self-harm
  • Concerns about there being a high risk to self from suicide or accidental death
  • Emotionally unstable and or other co-morbid personality disorder
  • Co-morbid mental disorder in the form of affective, anxiety, complex trauma or substance misuse disorder


  • Reduced number of self-harm incidents
  • Improved wellbeing and diminished risk to self
  • Improved social functioning
  • Reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Reduction in substance misuse
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Reduction in medication
  • Reduction in use of services

Visit the Institute of Psychoanalysis website for more information on evidence based outcomes in psychotherapy.

Our experts

Dr Rob Harland: Read more

Dr Emma Hotopf: Read more

Annabel Lord: Read more

Susan White: Read more

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