The Lighthouse is a specialist service delivered in partnership by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Southdown and Mind. 

We provide intensive therapy to people with personality disorder/complex emotional and relational needs, using mentalisation based treatment, peer involvement and a groups-based approach. Therapy takes place in a therapeutic community setting across three days.

We work with adults over the age of 18 who live in Brighton and Hove who have a personality disorder in the moderate or severe range (whether or not a formal diagnosis has been made), with a high level of risk and/or disability and experiencing complex emotional and relational needs.

We provide intensive therapy using mentalisation based treatment, peer involvement and groups based approach. Therapy takes place in a therapeutic community setting, over three days and is facilitated by Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, Southdown and Mind.

Stage 1 - assessment, attachment and stabilisation

People attend a number of individual assessment appointments and the preparation group. If they are accepted onto the programme, they would then attend the following groups: 

  • Skills for emotional intensity 
  • Introduction to mentalisation based treatment 
  • Being and doing groups. 

Stage 2 - active intervention

  • Timeframe: 18 months
  • Attendance required: 3 days

This involves an intensive 3-day programme (10am - 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays). People are expected to attend for 3 full days. the groups include:

  • Mentalisation based treatment 
  • Art therapy
  • Mind/body groups (yoga, mindfulness, sensory)
  • Goal setting/skills groups
  • Community meetings
  • Being and doing groups
  • Psychodrama.

Stage 3 - life after Lighthouse

  • Timeframe: 9 - 12 months
  • Attendance required: 1-2 days

Attendance is reduced in stage 3 and people are supported through a leaving process, and linked into new resources and opportunities in the community. Stage 3 includes:

  • Leavers group
  • Being and doing groups
  • Experts by experience opportunities
  • Community engagement work
  • Recovery through activity 
  • 5 ways to wellbeing. 

We have a clinical lead and team managers, art therapist, nurses, occupational therapists, psychologist, recovery advisors and peer support, and a volunteer coordinator, who work together to deliver the range of treatments.

Is the Lighthouse Service right for me?

  • Do you consider that you have difficulties with emotional management, relational difficulties, impulsivity and self-harm?
  • Are you a regular user of crisis mental health services and NHS emergency services?
  • Do you have a diagnosis of a personality disorder or meet the criteria for diagnosis?
  • Can you attend groups up to 3 days per week?  
  • Can you travel to Hove?
  • Will you be able to participate in both therapy and activity groups?
  • Does the service need to know anything that could affect you attending the Lighthouse?
  • What support would you need to engage with the Lighthouse?

Referrals are via mental health services, we are unable to accept self-referrals.

If you are under mental health services, such as our Assessment and Treatment Service, please speak to your team, or speak to your GP who can discuss with you about accessing mental health services.

Information for professionals

Criteria for Referral:

  1. Lighthouse works with adults over the age of 18 years and living in Brighton and Hove.
  2. Potential candidates need to meet the criteria for ICD-11 personality disorder in the moderate or severe range (whether or not a formal diagnosis has been made), with a high level of risk and/or disability. They will be primarily within HoNOS Cluster 8, although individuals under cluster 7 may also be eligible.  This client group are also described as experiencing complex emotional and relational needs.
  3. People most suited for treatment provided by the Lighthouse will struggle with acute emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, self-harm and severe suicidal ideation. They will be prone to conflict and instability in relationships, and have a changeable engagement with services. They will often be high users of urgent and crisis mental health support services, and emergency NHS care.
  4. Personality disorder will need to be the primary difficulty. However, the Lighthouse will work with people whose presentation is complex i.e. there may be an overlap with other diagnostic categories, such as ICD-11 complex post traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum condition, and other mental health conditions. 
  5. Lighthouse works with people with all personality disorder diagnoses. However, we are a community and group-based service, and will carefully assess risk and safety issues for people with anti-social traits, or who may otherwise have histories of interpersonal violence / destruction of property / exploitation or intimidation of others.
  6. The person is under the care of an Assessment Treatment Service or another tier 2 mental health service. Ideally, they will have a designated lead practitioner, however this would be risk assessed and discussed on an individual basis.
  7. he person's personal circumstances need to be sufficiently stable allowing them to undertake group-based psychological therapy, which can be challenging emotionally. For instance, they will need secure accommodation and not be engaged in any unresolved legal action. They will also need to have made progress in addressing any existing issues of alcohol and substance abuse, and/or have an active plan with services that support people with alcohol and/or substance use.
  8. All those referred will need to be motivated to undergo an intensive 3-day treatment programme, to address the difficulties associated with complex emotional and relational needs.
  9. The person is deemed to be unable to engage safely, or make use of, stand-alone therapies, and in need of multi-day treatment, with the containment and support offered by a therapeutic community framework.

Referrals are via secondary care mental health services, we don't accept self-referrals.

Completed referral forms should be sent to if you'd like to discuss a referral before you complete the form please contact us on 0300 304 0069.

How to get here

By bus

Services 1, 1A, and 6 (Brighton & Hove buses) stop on New Church Road at the top of Sackville Gardens (stop: Westbourne Villas North).

The 700 Coastliner service (Stagecoach) stops nearby on the A259 (Kingsway).

By train

The nearest train stations are Aldrington (approximately 0.7 miles away) and Hove (approximately 1.1 mile away).

Parking information

  • Limited free onsite parking and street parking (Permit Zone R and pay-and-display).

Opening times

9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Weekend sessions (according to programme).