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Transference and Countertransference in the Conversational Model

Dr George Lianos

In a paper that Meares & Hobson wrote in 1977 (1) they made reference to the qualities of a therapists that may contribute to misunderstandings in therapy and the many ways in which the therapist may 'persecute' the patient. This paper explores those moments when a therapy falters and offers an understanding of the complexity of attributions that are made by those inside and those outside the therapeutic dyad. This paper will attempt to assess the contributions that each party makes to these moments and attempt to 'blame' the right person. It will do so by looking at clinical material, conducted by a therapist using The Conversational Model approach to therapy. The Conversational Model is a relational approach that recognises the mutuality of influence and the co-construction of therapeutic reality. It focuses on the minute particulars of communication and evaluates the significance of what is said by tracking 'what happens next'. This approach may allow us to better understand 1. How certain transference and counter-transference phenomena emerge 2. The complexity of what is going on and 3. Make the correct attributions with respect to it who is responsible for what in every exchange. 1. Meares, R., & Hobson, R. F. (1977). The persecutory therapist. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 50, 349-359.

24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
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Dr George Lianos

Dr George Lianos is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist who has practised psychotherapy for more than 30 years. He is a foundation member of ANZAP and has lectured and supervised throughout Australia and New Zealand. He has been a Clinical Lecturer and Supervisor in both the ANZAP training program, and the Sydney University Master of Medicine/Science (Psychotherapy) training program for more than 20 years.

His recent interests include the relationship between phenomenology and theory. In particular, his concerns are about how theory becomes independent of the phenomena it purports to explain, in a manner which makes the application of a theory more important than understanding the phenomena themselves. As a result, clinicians may feel pressure to demonstrate their theoretical prowess ahead of their caring and compassion.

He is currently engaged in private practice in the Sydney CBD and the Central Coast of NSW where he primarily focuses on individual and couple therapy.

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