Psychotherapy and the Conversational Model Training Program

Master of Medicine (Psychotherapy)

(MMed(Psychotherapy)) KC012

Master of Science in Medicine (Psychotherapy)

(MScMed(Psychotherapy)) KC045




Psychotherapy covers a range of techniques employed to improve an individual’s mental health. Mental illness is more common than many people think – an estimated 800,000 Australians are affected by depression each year. Often mental illnesses are unrecognised and remain untreated.


The aim of this program is to train clinicians to deal effectively with people with psychological disorders that are not helped by more traditional psychotherapies. These include personality disorders, generalised anxiety disorder, dysthymia and chronic depression.


The therapeutic approach taught by this program is based on the Conversational Model (Hobson, 1985; Meares, 2000, 2005), but also incorporates concepts from other schools, including Self Psychology, Intersubjectivity Theory, Trauma Theory and Memory Systems Theory. These ideas are centred around concepts of the self, notions of boundary formation, the empathic mode of listening, a focus on subjective experience, and unconscious traumatic memory systems.




Admission normally requires a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Sydney or another approved institution.


Master of Science in Medicine (Psychotherapy): Admission normally requires a bachelor's degree in a health discipline with first or second class honours from the University of Sydney or another approved institution. If candidates do not have an honours degree, they may be admitted on the basis of having completed equivalent work.


For both degrees candidates need to have experience in a clinical area related to mental health, and be registered to practice in NSW and have the relevant professional indemnity insurance.




To qualify for the degree, candidates must complete 72 credit points comprising coursework, supervised clinical work and a research treatise. The program is taken part-time, normally over three years.


The program has six strands.


Grand rounds:

Designed to encourage open and free discussion and to help in the formulation of new and emerging ideas, with participation by the faculty and candidates alike. These will be of one hour duration and will be attended by all the candidates and all the supervisors. An area of interest or controversy in the current psychotherapeutic field will be presented by a supervisor, candidate or invited guest, followed by discussion.



These will be approximately one and a half hours duration and will be held every week of the academic year. One member of the faculty will lead the seminar group for a whole semester.


Practical work:

Candidates will be expected to undertake psychotherapy with assigned patients during the three years of the course. They will be expected to begin with their first assigned patient early in their first year and to begin with their second patient early in their second year. By the middle of the second year all candidates will be seeing two patients, each for at least two sessions per week. The course requirement is that one patient be seen for a minimum of 100 sessions and a second patient be seen for a minimum of 200 sessions prior to the completion of the course.


Clinical supervision:

The clinical supervision will be conducted weekly for the whole of the academic year. All candidates will be expected to present sessions for weekly supervision. In addition, candidates may be required to present, from time to time, sessions in the form of process notes or by means of video tape. During the first year supervision will be conducted either individually or in small groups of two candidates for one and a half hours per week. During the second and third years, there will be weekly group supervision as well as individual supervision each week with a second supervisor.



Candidates will be given some reading material and a reading list at the beginning of the year and may be asked to prepare a seminar periodically.



Assessment is an ongoing process during the whole year with a clinical viva and an essay paper at the end of the year. 


At the end of the first year there will be a clinical viva in which they will be expected to present an example of their psychotherapy sessions on audiotape to the examiners. This assessment will focus on clinical and theoretical issues. In addition candidates will be expected to write an essay of 2–3000 words, either from a list of selected topics or a subject of their own psychotherapeutic interest.


Assessment in the second year will be ongoing and conclude at the end of the year with an essay paper and a clinical viva as in Year 1.


There will be a two-part assessment at the end of the third year subject to satisfactory progress in clinical work. The first part is a clinical presentation to the members of the faculty which may be based on the material of the treatise. The second part requires completion of a research or theoretical treatise of 7–10,000 words.

Online application is required.  Please upload the application form on the left had menu under application forms or attached below. Please complete and upload application on the The University of Sydney website during enrollment.


    Further enquiries:
    Dr Anthony Korner

    Phone: +61 2 9840 3335

    Fax: +61 2 9840 3572