About the Whole Works

The Whole Works was founded by Rob and Deborah Ritchie in 1991 in a derelict 17th century townhouse in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. We are an interesting place to visit and have been around long enough to have become something of an ‘institution’ in Edinburgh. We are very proud to have been at the Heart of Edinburgh healthcare for 30 years! Here’s a little history:

The house was rescued from dereliction and slowly we renovated it to a standard that is in keeping with its past as well as being comfortable for modern tastes. The original stone fireplaces and pitch pine wood panelling give a reassuring and authentic feel and provide the perfect setting for a townhouse devoted to wellbeing, care and healing. Some people just come to The Whole Works without any appointment just to sit in the waiting room after a morning’s shopping! Many have said a massage feels different in a building where people have lived for over 300 years. It’s certainly a very relaxing place even though it’s in the very centre of the city.

Both Deborah and Rob had worked together previously in a successful community health project in South Edinburgh in the late 1980s. They witnessed the benefits to the community of a well-managed and well cared for ‘hub’ where various approaches to wellness could be accessed.

The Whole Works was created to fulfil a need in Edinburgh for a lively centrally situated professional clinic, housing both the best of popular psychological and body-centred therapies, and run with a fully client-centred awareness.

In the late 1980s, so-called ‘alternative therapy’ was becoming increasingly of interest to the public, but insufficiently studied, irresponsibly promoted at times and inadequately overseen. At the Whole Works we draw, therefore, on clinical experience and relevant research where necessary and are conscious, at all times, of the limits to our areas of competence, and, where necessary, refer clients to other, appropriately trained health professionals. Clients of the Whole Works are also protected from any exaggerated or false claims of a therapy’s effectiveness. The Whole Works also makes a point of not confusing the ‘therapeutic process’ with consumerism – we don’t sell you any potions, face packs or snake oil!

The aim is to provide the best of therapeutic approaches practised by well trained experienced practitioners in the most supportive environment for this to happen; supportive both to the therapists themselves – so they can work to their highest standards – as well as being supportive to you, the client, who come to see them. We are thus a hub, both for excellence of practice, as well as for therapists and public to access each other, and a hub too where GPs can refer their patients in the full knowledge that the best will be done for them. A strong core of experienced therapists, who have worked together for 30 years, provides the solid foundation to a team dedicated to ensure the best results for their patients.

We have responded to the rising public demand for counselling and psychotherapy, as well as to the increasing respect from GPs and health authorities who have come to recognise the undoubted benefits of a complementary health approach in stress-related illness, musculo/skeletal problems, in preventative care and in improving the quality of life in degenerative and chronic conditions.

We provide an unfussy, lively and intelligent approach to counselling and psychotherapeutic interventions, and spend time ensuring clients new to seeking counselling support are pointed in the direction likely to be of the most help to them in their very individual case. We have over 30 counsellors and psychotherapists working with us with varied skills and areas of specialisation.

At the core of The Whole Works is the ‘Assessment Service’. Over 20,000 people have used the service since we opened. It is both a consultation and simply a space to have some of your questions about the process answered, so you, as a new client, can get clarity as to what may be beneficial and helpful. For more details go to the assessment service page.

We hope you will come and visit, if not for therapy then at least to see our historical waiting room. Our overall aim at The Whole Works is to provide the best therapy centre experience in Scotland and to be a place of excellence for healthcare in Scotland. But we also want to inform and educate the public about the effectiveness of many therapy approaches, as well as to liaise ever more closely with practitioners of orthodox medicine in providing an increasingly client-based service; so you, the client can access the best from both worlds.

We hope to continue to do this for another 30 years.

Rob Ritchie,
Managing Director

Ellie Small,
Client Referral Manager

Claire Hay,
Practice Manager