My Approach

The Conversational Model

The Conversational Model was devised by the English psychiatrist Robert Hobson, and developed by the Australian psychiatrist Professor Russell Meares who is based at Westmead Hospital here in Sydney.

As the name implies, therapy happens through everyday conversation; but it is also a very special kind of conversation. The client talks about whatever comes to mind. It is the therapist’s skilled attention to what the client is saying and the mutual creation of a safe atmosphere of non-judgemental responsiveness that makes the conversation therapeutic.  In this environment the client's cares and concerns can be gently explored, reflected on and dealt with.

My Approach

My approach to therapy is underpinned by:

  • A deep respect for the client
  • A collaborative relationship
  • The effective use of therapeutic skills
  • An understanding of the dynamics of psychopathology

It is also important to me that there is good evidence that the approach I use works to help people feel better.

The aim of therapy is to help you to feel well. Sometimes wellness is mistakenly equated with what you can get done – can you hold down a job, are you able to maintain relationships, are you able to be a “productive member of society”? Whilst not being able to do these things if you want to, is a sign of un-wellness, doing things isn’t always a sign that life is an enjoyable and satisfying experience for you. Plenty of people “manage” despite overwhelming feelings, disturbing thoughts or unwanted behaviours. So successful treatment addresses the problematic symptoms and the underlying causes.

For this reason I use the therapeutic approach of the Conversational Model of psychotherapy.

The Conversational Model

The Conversational Model has rigorously integrated psychoanalytic understanding with research in the fields of trauma and developmental theory, linguistics, and memory along with neurophysiology, in a way that is applicable in day to day psychotherapeutic practice. It has been and continues to be scientifically tested and published. It was devised by the English psychiatrist Robert Hobson, and developed by the Australian psychiatrist Professor Russell Meares at Westmead Hospital in Sydney.

Research Papers

Guthrie, E. (1999) Psychodynamic interpersonal therapy, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 5: 135-145.
Guthrie, E., Creed, F., Dawson, D. & Tomenson, B. (1991). A controlled trial of psychological treatment for the irritable bowel syndrome, Gastroenterology, 100, 450-457.
Korner, A., Gerull, F., Meares, R., & Stevenson, J. (2006). Borderline personality disorder treated with the conversational model: a replication study. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 47, 406-411
Stevenson, J. & Meares, R. (1992). An outcome study of psychotherapy for patients with borderline personality disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 358-
Shapiro, D. A., Barkham, M., Rees, A., Hardy, G. E., Reynolds, S., Startup, M. (1996). Effects of treatment duration and severity of depression on the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 1079-85.
Shapiro, D.A., & Firth, J.A. (1987) Prescriptive V. exploratory psychotherapy: Outcomes of the Sheffield psychotherapy project. British Journal of Psychiatry, 151, 790 – 799
Meares, R., Stevenson, J., & Comerford (1999) Psychotherapy with Borderline Patients, Part II: A preliminary cost-benefit analysis. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 33(3), 473-477
Hall, J., Calco, S., Stevenson, J., & Meares, R. (2001). An economic analysis of psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder patients. The Journal of Mental Health Policy Ecomonics, 4, 3-8