University Of Tasmania

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Introducing a conversational model therapy approach as a team model of care: the clinician experience in a sexual assault service

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 21:48 authored by McLean, L, Rachel KornhaberRachel Kornhaber, Holt, R, West, S, Kwiet, J, Denis VisentinDenis Visentin, Cleary, M
This article examines clinician experience in adopting a contemporary psychodynamic model of care by exploring the experiences and perspectives of staff at an Australian hospital-based sexual assault service (SAS), reflecting then on implications for how to best engage clinicians in a model of care change and training. The Conversational Model of Therapy (CMT) is a contemporary psychodynamic approach integrating evidence from developmental psychology, neuroscience and trauma. Training was provided in the CMT approach to Short-Term Intensive Psychodynamic Psychotherapy seeking to enable the service to better provide for the needs of adult clients with less recent sexual assault experiences and/or those able to receive a short-term psychotherapy. Five semi-structured individual interviews and one focus group (with four participants) were undertaken to identify SAS staff perceptions of their experiences after initial training of up to 13 sessions with CMT. Thematic analysis was performed to identify, analyse and report patterns in the responses with the following themes emerging: the challenges staff face in providing a service to clients; coping mechanisms staff utilise in their work; the current service structure and how this compares with their experiences of CMT, and; feelings and thoughts on SAS staff being evaluated. Findings provide evidence that the majority of staff understood the need for change and were able to undertake training towards this due to effective coping mechanisms within their work and good support from within their team. The research also highlights the need to ensure effective training to evaluate participants’ understanding of the model being taught. In the context of training experience elsewhere, learning and synthesis of all of the knowledge relevant to a psychodynamic model of care may require experiential learning through supervision of audio-recorded sessions, although this has challenges in the SAS context.


University of Tasmania


Publication title

Issues in Mental Health Nursing










School of Nursing


Taylor & Francis Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health services

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