Mrs Sonja Pohlman

Mrs Sonja Pohlman

Psychology Clinical Placement Supervisor

School of Psychological Sciences

Career Summary


Sonja Pohlman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Lecturer in the School of Psychology. She has nearly 20 years experience working with clinical populations in both private and public organizations. During this time she has undertaken significant training with international experts in clinical psychology and cognitive-behaviour therapy as well as post-graduate level study. Sonja has worked as a clinician and researcher on intervention research for brief interventions for regular amphetamine users. She has designed and delivered treatment interventions for co-morbid substance use populations and has worked as a senior consultant for 360Edge, one of Australia’s leading specialist consultants in alcohol and other drug policy and practice. Sonja is committed to the delivery of high quality training of evidence-based therapies to the next generation of professional psychologists, with a specific focus on cognitive-behaviour therapy.  She is a Psychology Board Approved Supervisor and provides supervision to provisional psychologists and Clinical Registrars. 

Sonja's research interests include alcohol and other drug use, craving and metacognition in substance use, severe mental ill-health, self-practice and self-reflection in clinical training, and cognitive-behaviour therapies. She is currently undertaking her PhD studies with Professor Amanda Baker in the area of alcohol use in young people with severe mental ill-health. 


  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), University of Queensland


  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical training
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Metacognition
  • mental health


  • English (Mother)

Professional Experience


Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/6/2002 - 1/6/2005 Queensland Branch President The Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
1/1/2000 -  Member Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (AACBT)

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/3/2018 - 31/12/2018 Project Officer University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health
1/1/2018 - 31/12/2018 Clinical Program Support Officer School of Psychology, Faculty of Science & IT, University of Newcastle
1/1/2014 -  Senior Consultant

360Edge are one of Australia's leading specialist alcohol and other drug consultancies. As a consultant, I have provided services in review and development of group therapy manuals as well as worked on qualitative research to inform improved service delivery.

1/1/2007 - 31/12/2018 Clinical Psychologist Private Practitioner
1/1/2002 - 31/12/2005 Clinical Training Consultant

Providing clinical education to a range of health disciplines in the areas including cognitive-behaviour therapy and motivational interviewing. 

Queensland Health
Alcohol and Drug Training Unit/Centre for Drug and Alcohol Studies
1/1/2001 - 31/12/2004 Research Psychologist

During this period, I worked on a number of different projects as a clinician and researcher within Queensland Health. Some of these included evaluation of a support program for parents of young people who use substances and a randomized controlled trial of brief cognitive-behaviour therapy for regular amphetamine users.

Queensland Health
Alcohol and Drug Training Unit/Centre for Drug and Alcohol Studies


Code Course Role Duration
PSYC6426 Professional Psychology Placement I
The University of Newcastle
Lecturer/Clinical Supervisor 18/2/2019 - 31/7/2019
PSYC6527 Professional Psychology Placement 2
The University of Newcastle
Lecturer/Clinical Supervisor 29/8/2019 - 8/11/2019
PSYC6501 Ethics and Professional Practice
The University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 18/2/2019 - 31/7/2019
PSYC6401 Psychological Treatments and Interventions
The University of Newcastle
Lecturer 18/2/2019 - 31/7/2019


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Baker AL, Denham A, Pohlman S, McCarter K, 'Treating comorbid substance use and psychosis', A Clinical Introduction to Psychosis Foundations for Clinical Psychologists and Neuropsychologists, Academic Press, United States 511-536 (2019) [B1]
Co-authors Alexandra Denham, Kristen Mccarter, Amanda Baker

Journal article (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Lee NK, Pohlman S, Baker AL, Femis J, Kay-Lambkin FJ, 'It's the thought that counts: Craving metacognitions and their role in abstinence from methamphetamine use', Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 38 245-250 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.jsat.2009.12.006
Citations Scopus - 19Web of Science - 17
Co-authors Frances Kaylambkin, Amanda Baker
2005 Baker AL, Lee NK, Claire MR, Lewin TJ, Grant T, Pohlman S, et al., 'Brief cognitive behavioural interventions for regular amphetamine users: a step in the right direction', Addiction, 100 367-378 (2005) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01002.x
Citations Scopus - 136Web of Science - 114
Co-authors Amanda Baker, Frances Kaylambkin, Terry Lewin
2004 Baker AL, Lee NK, Claire MR, Lewin TJ, Grant T, Pohlman S, et al., 'Drug use patterns and mental health of regular ampthetamine users during a reported 'heroin drought'', Addiction, 99 875-884 (2004) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2004.00741.x
Citations Scopus - 34Web of Science - 31
Co-authors Terry Lewin, Amanda Baker, Frances Kaylambkin
2003 Bennett-Levy J, Lee N, Travers K, Pohlman S, Hamernik E, 'Cognitive therapy from the inside: Enhancing therapist skills through practising what we preach', Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 31 143-158 (2003)

Experiential training and personal therapy have rich traditions in various therapies as strategies to enhance self-awareness and therapist skills. However, personal experiential w... [more]

Experiential training and personal therapy have rich traditions in various therapies as strategies to enhance self-awareness and therapist skills. However, personal experiential work has not traditionally been part of cognitive therapy (CT) training. The purpose of the present study is to map the impact of personal experiential work on CT skills in a group of CT practitioners. Fourteen cognitive therapists undertook training courses utilizing a structured approach to self-practice of CT techniques, known as self-practice/self-reflection (SP/ SR). Six therapists from one training group engaged in "co-therapy" sessions with a partner, while eight therapists from another training group practised CT techniques on their own. Both groups engaged in regular written reflections about their experience. Follow-up 1-5 months after the courses identified six areas of self-reported skill enhancement: Refinement of specific CT skills; Enriched communication of the conceptual framework of CT; Increased attention to the therapeutic relationship; Empathic attunement; Therapist self-reflection; and Therapeutic flexibility. The results suggested that SP/SR enhances the "professional artistry" of therapists, a finding consistent with literature suggesting that reflection is a key process in the development of therapist expertise. It is concluded that SP/SR represents a promising training strategy for cognitive therapists.

DOI 10.1017/S1352465803002029
Citations Scopus - 73
Show 1 more journal article

Conference (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Pohlman S, Anderson C, Baker A, Halpin S, McCarter K, Hides L, ' I Kind of Just Missed Feeling Normal an Exploration of Alcohol Use in Young People with Severe Mental Illness', Berlin (2019)
Co-authors Sean Halpin, Amanda Baker, Kristen Mccarter
2008 Pohlman S, Lee N, Baker A, Ferris J, Kay-Lambkin F, 'Metacognitions among methamphetamine users in a randomised trial of motivational interviewing and cognitive behaviour therapy', Sydney Australia (2008)
Co-authors Frances Kaylambkin, Amanda Baker

Creative Work (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Kelly M, Pohlman S, Marlin S, Shaw G, Shadbolt J, Freeman E, et al., Brain @ Watt Space, Watt Space Gallery, Newcastle, Australia (2019)
Co-authors Jane Shadbolt, Helen English, Emily Freeman, Michelle Kelly, Kristen Pammer, Stuart Marlin

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 1
Total funding $57,500

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20191 grants / $57,500

Interdisciplinary student-led intensive stuttering treatment program for adults$57,500

This program aims to investigate the outcomes of a student-led intensive speech therapy training program for adults who stutter that also involves cognitive behaviour therapy delivered by psychology students.

Funding body: NSW Ministry of Health

Funding body NSW Ministry of Health
Project Team

Associate Professor Sally Hewat, Doctor Tanya Hanstock, Doctor Rachael Unicomb, Ms Yasmina Nasstasia, Mrs Sonja Pohlman, Doctor Sally Hunt

Scheme Research Funds
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210

Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
Australia 5
United Kingdom 1


Coronavirus: it’s tempting to drink your worries away but there are healthier ways to manage stress and keep your drinking in check

March 30, 2020

Stress and boredom might see us drinking more alcohol at home in the coming weeks and months. But there are alternatives.

Mrs Sonja Pohlman


Psychology Clinical Placement Supervisor
School of Psychological Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Contact Details

Phone (02) 40553017


Room W-127
Building Behavioural Sciences
Location Callaghan and Ourimbah
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308