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Mirjana Askovic is a psychologist and BCIA qualified neurofeedback practitioner who uses an integrated, brain-based approach to psychotherapy. Mirjana trained in developmental psychology and neuropsychological diagnostics at postgraduate level at the University of elgrade. In 2000 before migrating to Australia, Mirjana developed a nationally endorsed remedial visual and fine motor skills program for pre-school children in Serbia. Since 2000 she has been working with adult and child refugee trauma survivors at STARTTS. In 2007 Mirjana was given the responsibility of establishing STARTTS’ Neurofeedback Clinic to help people with chronic, complex PTSD. She is currently the Biofeedback/Neurofeedback Program Team Leader and among other duties she is involved in several research studies examining the role of abnormal brain activity in refugee trauma symptoms. Mirjana is a regular national and international conference presenter and is the author of multiple publications on integration of neurofeedback with psychotherapy. Program Team Leader and among other duties she is involved in several research studies examining the role of abnormal brain activity in refugee trauma symptoms. Mirjana is a regular national and international conference presenter and is the author of multiple publications on integration of neurofeedback with psychotherapy.
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Anna James Watters, PhD
Anna Watters completed her Honours Degree in Psychology at UNSW. She is currently completing her PhD at the Brain Dynamics Centre, Sydney Medical School on emotion markers of risk in depression. Her research interests centre on neuroscience, emotion and individual differences. Anna’s long term research goal is to contribute to an understanding of the relationship between physiology and psychological processes as applied to healthy development and the design of new, integrated interventions for psychopathology. Anna is currently employed at STARTTS as a Research Officer for Neurofeedback Program.
043 – Preliminary Investigation of the Effectiveness of Neurofeedback in Improving the Treatment Outcomes for Adult Refugees with High Levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptomatology
Paper Session 2, #1 - Preliminary Investigation of the Effectiveness of Neurofeedback in Improving the Treatment Outcomes for Adult Refugees with High Levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptomatology
A pilot study was performed to assess the effectiveness of Neurofeedback as an adjunct to the treatment of traumatised refugee clients with high levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptomatology (PTSS). The data was collected on 12 clients who were referred to the neurofeedback program to investigate if Neurofeedback can enhance the outcomes of their trauma counselling. Neurofeedback training focused on helping clients improve self-regulatory capacity through the operant conditioning of their brain activity. The clients were taught to enhance alpha and sensory motor brain wave rhythms that are experienced as calm but attentive states. Post training changes in EEG/ERP activity, subjective rating scales and cognitive performance were assessed and compared to the results collected at the baseline. The results of this pilot study indicated significant reduction in PTSS and improvement in cognitive functioning. Positive changes in bioelectrical patterns were also indicated. The observed improvements in cognitive functioning are consistent with remediation of a deficit in top-down control over emotional pathways, as one of the mechanisms involved in maintaining PTSS. This study contributes to establishing Neurofeedback as a valuable therapy to integrate with existing evidence based treatment modalities for PTSS. Analysis in a larger, controlled sample is warranted.