The Conversational Model: An Overview

Dr Michael Williamson

The Conversational Model is a form of psychoanalytic psychotherapy devised by Robert Hobson and Russell Meares for the successful treatment of patients (later to be termed 'borderline') who for many years had been regarded as 'unanalysable' and untreatable. Outcome studies have indicated that the Conversational Model, by focusing on affective experience, has successfully fostered the development of Self through the transformation of the unconscious trauma system of these patients. Williams James implied the centrality of affect in saying that:'what we mean by personal selves are thoughts connected as we feel them to be connected.' Empathic conversation creatively alert to the nuances of feeling and language as expressions of unconscious memories, transference and countertransference, develops the therapeutic relationship. The movement of Self towards wholeness involves the attainment of a duplex, newly reflective Self. It also involves a movement towards a state called by Robert Hobson 'aloneness-togetherness.'While maintaining its primary focus on transformation of trauma through feeling language and relationship, the Conversational Model has integrated the theories of Freud, James, Jung, Winnicott, Kohut and others. Its strong research program examines clinical processes and outcomes in terms of linguistics, neurophysiology, attachment theory and broader psychopathology. Training based on
supervision by audiotape promotes empathic responsiveness to the 'minute particulars' of the co-constructed therapeutic relationship, and constant attention to unconscious processes in the emergence of Self.

WORLD DREAMING: WORLD CONGRESS FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY
24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
Visit The World Council for Psychotherapy at http://www.worldpsyche.org

Michael Williamson
Michael Williamson
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Dr Michael Williamson

Dr Michael Williamson is a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist now working in private practice after lengthy experience in the public health system. He was one of the foundation members of ANZAP and its first NSW President. He is a Clinical Senior Lecturer of the University of Sydney and has been a long term Faculty member of the Master of Medicine program in psychotherapy. He is interested in the psychotherapy of developmental trauma in adults, and the Self in Literature and Art.

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