Southern Synergy

About Southern Synergy

Southern Synergy is a Faculty Research Centre within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. The centre sits within the Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, and is substantially supported by Monash Health. The centre works closely with collaborators, particularly those responsible for mental health service delivery in the Monash Health Catchment area. The centre was jointly established in 2003 with Monash Health and continues to be closely linked with and supported by the Monash Health Mental Health Program. It is based primarily in accommodation at Dandenong Hospital - Monash Health - Adult Mental Health though staff may also be situated from time to time at other accommodation within other campuses of Monash Health and Monash University.

Particular strengths of the Centre lie in a unique combination of research, training and clinical academic staff with close linkage to a major mental health care provider. Our multidisciplinary team consists of members from psychiatry, clinical psychology, social work, epidemiology and biostatistics, health economics and sociology.

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Research opportunities at Synergy

Our Programs

Research opportunities

If you are thinking of a career in psychiatry, psychology or research into Health Services with a focus on Mental Health, the Southern Synergy Research Centre at the School of Clinical Sciences is a great place to start. We are located in new purpose-built offices at Dandenong Hospital. Designed to optimise translational opportunities for work in mental health care, the centre has close co-location with the key leadership team of Monash Mental Health.

Forthcoming workshop: Compassion Focused TherapyActing, role plays and chair work

Presenter: Paul Gilbert, PhD OBE

Date: Friday 31st January, 2020

Venue: Monash University, Caulfield

Psychotherapy offers many ways for people to reflect on, become familiar with and change the patterns within their minds. One such method is enabling clients to deliberately create and enact different mental states and learn how to switch between them. Facilitating this process of deliberately switching in and out of different mental states is common to many therapies such as psychosynthesis psychodrama and Gestalt therapies.  One technique is to enable people to sit in different chairs and create different mental states and roles, explore them in some detail (e.g, anxious mind, angry mind, self-critical mind) and then bring one’s compassionate mind to these different mental states.

This workshop will outline the core aspects of motivational and mental state switching as central to CFT. Participants will have an opportunity to see and practice how different chairs can be used for mental state switching. This enables guided discovery of different states of mind in different chairs and thereby facilitates the core domains of change which are: differentiation, tolerance, integration and transformation.

Requirements Participants should be familiar with the basic concepts of compassion focused therapy and have therapeutic experience.

Process the Workshop The workshop will be run with a mixture of teaching PowerPoint presentations, video plays and personal practice in the room. Attendees should therefore be prepared to participate role plays.

Learning points participants will learn:

  1. How to conceptualise chair work as forms of motivational and state switching.
  2. The use of Socratic questions and guided discovery in different chairs.
  3. Use the activation of a compassionate mind as a process that facilitates tolerance, mentalisation and integration.
  4. The way chairs can be used to address problems of self-criticism, emotion differentiation and life dilemmas.


To download the flyer, please click here. For our refund policy, please click here.

BMedSc Student, Sam Cooper - 2017

In 2017, I undertook my BMedSc at Southern Synergy following my fourth year of medicine. I have an interest in psychiatry, public health and the socio-political context of refugees in Australia and chose my topic accordingly. I’ve enjoyed learning about the nature of scientific knowledge, psychiatry and epidemiology under the supervision of Dr Jo Enticott and Prof. Graham Meadows, who have been tremendous sources of support and expertise. I saw the year as an opportunity to develop the critical appraisal skills touched on in MBBS and apply these to actual research, including my own.

The BMedSc year necessitates the invaluable ‘critical gaze’. I would highly recommend the BMedSc to any prospective student looking to learn new skills which will put you in good stead for your future career as a doctor. I have had opportunities to present at conferences, to community based organisations, health network stakeholders and other academics; all great experiences. Southern Synergy provided a supportive, stimulating research environment and I would not hesitate to recommend doing a project with them.

I am more than happy to be contacted for any queries:

Group head

Professor Graham Meadows

Professor Graham Meadows is the Director of Southern Synergy, the Monash Health Adult Psychiatry Research, Training and Evaluation Centre, and a Professor with Monash University.

His doctoral studies and a substantial part of his publication record are in health services epidemiology in which area he has expertise in qustionnaire development and analysis of complex data sets. He has headed large scale studies investigating mindfulness and recovery oriented practice as clinical and service level interventions.

Find out more about Professor Graham Meadows.

Our staff

Meet the people making their mark at Southern Synergy.

Contact us

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