The Conversational Model of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is a form of psychotherapy developed by Robert Hobson and Russell Meares in 1960s. It is an evidence based psychotherapy with very successful outcomes for the majority of patients in both longer term therapy 1-2 years and brief therapy of 8-12 sessions.
What actually happens in therapy?
The therapist tries to listen carefully to how you feel and to pay attention to particularly very small emotional changes. The therapist then feeds back with you about what he or she has heard and checks with you to see if this fits with your experience. So in some ways it is different than a normal conversation in that this will be your space where the priority is on the therapist really listening to your experience.
Your therapist will encourage you to talk about anything that comes to your mind. At first it may be difficult to figure out what to talk about and you may find yourself ‘editing out’ things that seem trivial or unimportant. You may also worry that something is too inappropriate to say. In life we often ‘edit’ what we’re really thinking because we can get ourselves into trouble with others if we say everything we think! In psychotherapy it is helpful to say what ever comes to mind. Often what you think is trivial and unimportant is actually the key to something very important. It takes a while to get used to this approach before you can truly believe that what you have to say will be accepted.
Your therapist won’t tell you what to talk about or give you advice. Sometimes this can be frustrating, but there are important reasons for this. Most people have not had many opportunities of talking things over with someone who does not try to make the decisions for them. Your therapist does not think that he or she knows the answers, or knows what is best for you. Instead you will be supported to explore and figure out what is best for you.
Often people try to think their way through issues and they might expect themselves to have it all sorted out in their heads before saying it out aloud. This therapy is more about feeling and noticing instead of needing to be logical, so you will be encouraged to express things even if they don’t make sense to you yet.
The therapy may also help you to explore your general patterns of relating to people. Over time, you may notice that the way you relate to your therapist may be similar to how you relate to other people in your life. For example, if you have difficulty trusting people, you may have difficulty trusting your therapist. Noticing these patterns can help you to understand yourself and your needs in your relationships.
Why is it called the Conversational Model?
Quite simply it’s because the therapy happens through a conversation between you and your therapist. Through having a place where someone listens closely to you and reflects back to you what they have heard, you can come to develop a different understanding of yourself.
The above is an extract from the patient information leaflet. permission to use this extract given from the Centre for Psychotherapy