Adam Polnay

Dr, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer

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Personal profile


Dr Adam Polnay is a consultant medical psychotherapist and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Adam works at The State Hospital (Carstairs), Scotland’s high secure forensic hospital, and is the clinical lead for the NHS Lothian Psychotherapy Department, based in Edinburgh. Both roles provide a psychodynamic clinical service, teaching and training in psychodynamic therapy and its applications, and psychodynamic reflective practice groups and consultation.

Adam graduated in undergraduate medicine and biological anthropology from the University of Cambridge. He worked at the Murdoch Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, in clinical genetics and community pediatrics, before completing medical training at the University of Edinburgh. After gaining membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Adam trained in medical psychotherapy in the South-East Scotland deanery. 

Adam is an honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer with Edinburgh University and leads the psychodynamic training for psychiatric doctors in South-East Scotland. He is the main author of new textbook, The Cambridge Guide to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (2023), published by Cambridge University Press.


Adam's blog piece, The tone that makes the music: Psychodynamics of Listening with Intent, provides a short introduction to the Cambridge Guide to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

Research Interests


The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland Research Prize (2014)

Monroe Prize for Geriatric Medicine University of Edinburgh (2005)


  • GMC designated role of Psychotherapy Tutor, South-East Scotland Deanery. Lead for psychotherapeutic education and training for psychiatrists.
  • Lead for Reflective Practice Group Facilitator Training, School of Forensic Mental Health

Education/Academic qualification

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Scottish Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists (2016)

Certificate of Completion of Training in Medical Psychotherapy, General Medical Council (2015)

Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) Practitioner, Accredited with British Psychoanalytic Council (2014)

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2014)

Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Queen Margaret University (2012)

Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2010)

MBChB with Honours, University of Edinburgh (2005)

MA, BA (Hons) in Preclinical Medicine (intercalated year in Biological Anthropology), St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge (2001)


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