ANZAP provides training in a contemporary model of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

About the Conversational Model

The Conversational Model was established in the United Kingdom and has a contemporary home in Australia and New Zealand.

In the 1960’s in the United Kingdom psychiatrist Robert Hobson, a Jungian analyst, and a young Australian psychiatrist, Russell Meares, began working in a different way with clients who were typically unresponsive to standard treatment. This group is now described as experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder/Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Hobson and Meares recorded and analysed their own psychotherapeutic practice with this group of patients. They began to notice a patient's self – how their unique sense of personal being – came alive and developed, or was destroyed, in the conversation in the consulting room. Hobson called this process ‘The Conversational Model”.

Since 1983 Russell Meares and colleagues have further refined the Conversational Model at the Psychotherapy Unit, Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney. Meares and the Westmead team researched its effectiveness and established programmes to treat borderline personality disorder. 

ANZAP was established in 1987 in Sydney by a group of clinicians under the leadership of Meares, who was the foundation president of ANZAP. A separate programme, the ANZAP training, started for trainees who did not meet the medical criteria for entry to Westmead. The ANZAP training was developed by the same faculty has the same content and is at the same level as that provided at Westmead.

ANZAP training programs are taught across Australia and in New Zealand. 

The Conversational Model has an established research base. It is one of the best validated of all contemporary psychotherapies. A recently completed randomised clinical trial compared treatment by Conversational Model or Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for people with Borderline/Complex PTSD. This was the largest trial in the Southern Hemisphere and is expected to be published in the Cochrane Review of Psychotherapy. 

This research concluded the Conversational Model produces beneficial effects and is a cost-effective treatment of people with Borderline/Complex PTSD.

Subsequent research has found the model is applicable for effective day-to-day psychotherapeutic practice.


A Conversational Model Adherence Scale has been developed.

Joan Haliburn developed an abbreviated version of the model that has been manualised as ‘Psychodynamic – Interpersonal’ Psychotherapy. The Psychodynamic – Interpersonal form has been shown to be effective in depression, in certain psychosomatic disorders and to be cost-effective in treating repeated users of clinic services. The Psychodynamic – Interpersonal form of treatment is useful in reducing repeated episodes of self-harm.

The research has been undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia) and has local and cultural relevance. The Conversational Model is continually updated as new research is published, making it a contemporary and internationally recognised model of psychotherapy. 

Contemporary advances in the fields of trauma, developmental theory, linguistics, memory and neurophysiology are incorporated into our theoretical framework and it is now known as the Conversational Model of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.



PO Box 3595

Key Contact: Anne Malecki. 
Ph: (02) 8004 9873 from Australia
Ph: (04) 887 0300 Toll free from New Zealand
Fax: (02) 9012 0546
Email: info@anzap.com.au

First Point of Contact

Anne Malecki is responsible for the ANZAP Secretariat. She is the first point of contact for all matters. 

Telephone: AUS (02) 8004 9873

Email: info@anzap.com.au