Office Address

PO Box 4087

Tel: (02) 8004 9873 if calling from Australia
Tel: (04)   887 0300 if calling from New Zealand

Fax: (02) 9012 0546


Office Address

PO Box 4087

Tel: (02) 8004 9873 if calling from Australia
Tel: (04)   887 0300 if calling from New Zealand

Fax: (02) 9012 0546

  • ANZAP Office Address

  • ANZAP Office Address




Dr Iain McGilchrist

Presenting in person with an introduction by
Professor Russell Meares

Sydney University
ABS Case Study Lecture Theatre 1170
Darlington Ln & Abercrombie Street

Saturday, 19 August 2017
9.30 am – 12.30 pm

Register here to attend in person or to live stream this event
30c booking fee applies

Click on the "Seminars" tab above for further information including the Abstract for this event


Training in the Conversational Model
Article Index
Training in the Conversational Model
Contemporary Theory
Course Structure
Course Materials
Course Fees
All Pages

This course offers a clinical and theoretical training in a model of psychotherapy, the Conversational Model (Hobson 1985, Meares 1993, 2000). This is a psychoanalytically–oriented psychotherapy based on a psychology of self derived from developmental observations. Attention is directed to the “minute particulars” of the therapeutic conversation. Central to the Conversational Model, is the notion that the emergence of self depends upon the individual being provided an atmosphere in the therapy which is empathic and in which he feels understood. This is elaborated by exploring concepts of self, boundary formation, the empathic mode of listening, subjective experience, the development of affect, and use of language in development of Self. An Outline of the Conversational Model by Professor Russell Meares has been published in the American Journal of Psychotherapy.

The self-state and the therapeutic relationship are understood as being both expressed and transformed in the linguistic process of the therapy. The form of conversation as Script, Chronicle or Narrative (see paper this website) reflects the present functioning of traumatic memory systems within the therapeutic conversation. Audio-recordings of clinical sessions allow the examination of this process in supervision.

Concepts of  Self are examined, using William James’ definition of Self as a subjective experience, the “stream of consciousness”, involving a dual consciousness of I/Me. Characteristics of the Jamesian Self include vitality affect, boundedness, coherence, continuity, ownership, agency. Self, in the Jamesian sense, is said to arise in the context of a particular form of relatedness, mediated by conversation. The first aim of therapy is to establish that form of relatedness that fosters development of Self. The lived experience of the moment, as the positive affective state of fellow-feeling, is central to this therapy.

The focus is upon a contemporary understanding of particular psychopathology as the disruption of the developing self by repetitive trauma. These disruptions in development present as Personality Disorders, Addictions, Eating Disorders, certain types of Treatment–Resistant Depression and Anxiety Disorders. The trauma is described as being held in traumatic memory systems and the task of therapy is integration of these systems into the developing self experience.

This framework contains the work of a number of different theorists. Important among them are William James, Pierre Janet, James Mark Baldwin, Hughlings Jackson, Jean Piaget, L. Vygotsky, C G Jung, Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, D. Winnicott, and Heinz Kohut.


Integrating Contemporary Theory and Research
Attachment Theory, Infant Development research, Trauma, Affect, Memory, Consciousness, Intersubjectivity and Relational psychoanalytic theory are important strands in this training, as are neuroscientific correlates of these phenomena, and linguistic theory pertaining to psychoanalytic therapy.

Attachment Theory is studied from its origins in the work of John Bowlby, through its development in infant and adult research by Ainsworth and Main, to its current central position in psychotherapy theory in writings of Fonagy, Target, and Holmes.

Infant Development research is studied in the work of Daniel Stern, Michael Lewis, Colwyn Trevarthen, Beatrice Beebe and others. Analysis of the infant/parent interaction, with its mutual and self regulation of affect, provides an understanding, both of the failures of normal self development and the requirements of therapist and the therapeutic milieu in an effective psychotherapy.

Trauma is studied, from the early work of Pierre Janet to the more recent work of Bessel van der Kolk, Alexander McFarland, Onno van der Hart, Ellert Nijenhuis, Judith Herman. Concepts such as Developmental Trauma and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder provide understanding of the origin of disorders of the Self and thus the salient therapeutic approaches.

Affect Theory is studied in the work of Darwin, Tomkins, Panksepp with particular emphasis on the role of guilt and shame described by Nathanson and others.

Memory and Consciousness have been topics of major interest in recent decades. Aspects of these topics are addressed, as they apply to psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Neuroscience is studied in its application to understanding trauma, memory, affect, Attachment and the effects of psychotherapy. The writings of Allan Schore, Antonio Damasio, Daniel Siegel, and Jaak Panksepp are studied. Students are encouraged to analyse scientific studies and understand how these connect with clinical work.

In Intersubjectivity and Relational psychoanalysis the focus is on contemporary understanding of the therapeutic relationship. The works of Robert Stolorow, George Atwood, Donna Orange, Stephen Mitchell, Philip Bromberg, Donnal Stern and others are examined.

Psychoanalytic Tradition
Historical and contemporary psychoanalytic theories form an essential context for the study of the Conversational Model. The psychoanalytic schools and influence derived from the writings of Sigmund Freud (Classical Psychoanalysis), Heinz Kohut (Self-Psychology), C G Jung (Analytical Psychology), H S Sullivan (Relational), Melanie Klein( Object Relations) and D W Winnicott, are studied.

Clinical Practice
Practical psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy is studied from an ethical basis. This includes assessment, establishing the therapeutic relationship, establishing the frame, and recognizing the transference/ countertransference aspects of the unfolding relationship. It includes study of the stages of therapy and the recognition of difficulties within a therapy which may require referral to or discussion with colleagues.  The ongoing need for supervision and continuing education as a practicing psychotherapist is explored

A goal in the development of the Conversational Model has been achieving a testable model of psychotherapy.   Research published in leading peer- reviewed journals of this mode of therapy has demonstrated beneficial change to patients (see website papers).


Course Structure
The course has 7 strands

i) Seminars
These will be one and a half hours duration and will be held every week of the academic year. These weekly seminars of a didactic nature are conducted to give the candidate a strong and coherent framework in which to organize their therapeutic work.  The Conversational Model is the core focus within contemporary and traditional psychoanalytic theory, and contributions from related fields such as neuroscience and developmental research.
The ethical and practical aspects of psychotherapy are also presented in an integrated way.

(ii) Clinical casework
Candidates will undertake psychotherapy with clients during the three years of the course. They will be expected to begin with the first client early in the first year and to begin with the second client early in the second year. By the middle of the second year all candidates will be seeing two clients, each for at least two sessions per week.  The course requirement is for one patient to be seen for a minimum of 200 hours and a second patient for a minimum of 100 hours.              

(iii) Clinical Supervision
The clinical supervision will be conducted weekly for the whole of the academic year. In the first year all candidates are expected to present audio-recorded sessions in small group supervision. In the second and third years there will be, in addition, individual supervision with a second supervisor which continues through the whole year. These supervisions are arranged to allow a variety of supervision experience.

(iv) Individual Study
Candidates will be given reading material and a reading list at the beginning of each year and will be asked to prepare a seminar in second and third year.

(v) Collegial activities
The course includes a weekend residential component with a focus on group development and participation.   The prize-winning dissertations from Year III are presented to the members and students, as part of the Graduation ceremony at this Retreat. Attendance at the Saturday seminars and at the Annual Conference is part of the course. Fees for these activities are partly met by the course fees (see Fee section).  

(vi) Assessments
Assessment is an ongoing process throughout the whole year with an essay paper, including clinical material, presented six-monthly and a clinical viva at the end of each year.

At the end of each semester a candidate will be required to have their supervisor record what progress has been made in both the clinical and theoretical strands. The group supervisor will assess the six-monthly essays.  In the clinical viva the candidate will be expected to present an example of their psychotherapy sessions on audiotape to the examiners. This assessment will focus on clinical and theoretical issues and will include time for feedback to the student.
At the end of third year, subject to satisfactory progress in clinical work, the candidate will present at a clinical viva as described above. Candidates will present an 8,000 word thesis which will be internally marked. The written dissertation should display a scholarly grasp of either a clinical or theoretical issue. It should be the result of the candidate’s ability to think critically and independently.

(vii) Personal Therapy
In the requirement for professional registration at this advanced level of psychotherapy training, students are expected to have had a personal therapy.
At least part of the therapy will be concurrent with the course.

The seminar curriculum is designed to provide a learning experience over three years in which the clinical strand is closely interwoven with the didactic strand.

Year I
Module 1. Introduction to Self and the Conversational Model
Module 2. Assessment and the Psychotherapy Relationship
Module 3. Self and Psychopathology
Module 4. The Disrupted Self
Students  in Year I will be expected to develop increased skills in assessment, formulation, developing the therapy relationship as well as application of core concepts of the Conversational Model, in particular the linguistic expression  of self-states and therapeutic interaction. Ethics seminars are presented each year.

Year II
Module 1. Trauma and the Self
Module 2. Affect Regulation and Self
Module 3. Self in Relation to Other Schools
Module 4. Self and Contemporary Schools
Seminars in first semester will cover theory and clinical disorders related to Trauma, Affect, and Affect Regulation, followed in second semester by contemporary and classical psychoanalytic schools. These modules will contextualize and deepen the theoretical understanding of the Conversational Model. The clinical focus will be on increasing ability to recognize the emergence of traumatic memory systems in the therapy and to respond to client material by representation and amplification particularly of emerging affect.

Year III
Module 1. Disruptions of Self in Therapy
Module 2. Clinical Conditions in Self-Disorder
Module 3. Transformation
Module 4. Integration and Termination
Seminars explore developments that potentially block or disrupt the therapy process, and common clinical conditions that require particular therapeutic approaches. Advanced concepts in the Conversational Model are studied. Later seminars in third year describe the transformational process of therapy and the indicators of progress in the language and experience of the therapy relationship. The final seminars prepare the student for ongoing practice and development as therapists.  
In Year 2 and Year 3 seminars are scheduled for student presentations on current topics, including in Year 3 the thesis topic.


Course Materials
At the course orientation session that begins each academic year, students are provided with a usb containing the readings pertaining to each seminar, with a further collection of classic or topical papers.

Students commencing the course receive their Handbook and Coursebook containing important information including curriculum, timelines, details of assessment tasks, formats for consent to tape and feedback, ANZAP Ethics statement, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Grievance procedures.  A seminar summary with aims and objectives is forwarded to each student prior to the seminar, and feedback sheets are provided for student response to each seminar and for each year’s supervision experience.

The ANZAP library is available for students and members.

Course Fees
Course application fee is $325 with $250 refunded if not called to interview.

Year 1 Fee: $7,600 (includes GST), payable either monthly (February to November) or in four equal instalments by 15 February, May, July and September. Fees also include group supervision for 28 weeks of the year, the cost of full board and accommodation during the Sydney Intensive weekend held in February, attendance at ANZAP hosted Saturday morning seminars held six times a year, registration and tuition for ANZAP's annual conference held over four days in the third quarter of the year.  Successful applicants automatically become Associate Members of ANZAP and receive the ANZAP Bulletin produced four times each year.

Fees for individual supervision and personal therapy will be in addition.

Year 2 & 3 Fees: $11,000 (includes GST).  Fees include all of the above as in Year 1 with the addition of 28 weeks of individual supervision.

Fees for courses held outside Sydney vary and will be advised.

Full details of policy and procedure for fee payment can be obtained from Anne Malecki Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Tel: (02) 8004 9873 from within Australia, or (04) 8870 0300 (from within NZ)