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Written on the body: Why the Conversational Model is particularly helpful for people with persistent physical symptoms

Written on the body: Why the Conversational Model is particularly helpful for people with persistent physical symptoms

The Conversational Model of Therapy (CM) has been used in several randomised controlled trials to treat people with persistent physical symptoms including: irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, multi-somatoform disorder and non-epileptiform attack disorder. The model is particularly suited to helping people with physical symptoms because of its focus on ‘experience’ as opposed to a mind-body split.

The CM model was developed by Robert Hobson and his colleague Russell Meares. Their early work was influenced by the writings of William James, especially the way in which he conceptualised both ‘experience’ and the ‘self’. Developments in neuroscience have also broadly supported the theoretical approach of model which focuses upon feelings (meaning mind/body experiences) as opposed to cognitions.

The role of Hobson’s notion of ‘forms of feelings’ are discussed and case examples presented to illustrate the theoretical approach. The CM model is both simple yet profound.