S42A: SYMPOSIUM You Can Effectively Treat Developmental Trauma – Start Here

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By December 7, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Roger Gurr, Cathy Kezelman, Mirjana Askovic, Jillian Harrington

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: recovery, trauma, clinical

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: SYMPOSIUM: You Can Effectively Treat Developmental Trauma - Start Here!

The speakers will between them provide evidence for the importance for all clinicians to be trauma aware and capable of assessing individual and family trauma therapy needs, and to participate in training to improve their therapy skills. It is recognised that treating developmental trauma can be challenging, and many therapists feel they lack the skills to be successful. Therapists need good neuroscience understanding of the effects of trauma, training in techniques of assessment, learning how to establish good engagement and safety in the therapeutic relationship - your most important tool. Learn how to re-regulate the nervous system, and then use psychological therapies for specific trauma symptoms and develop a healing trauma narrative for recovery. Therapists also need to receive good ongoing supervision and personal support.

A/Prof Roger Gurr, Clinical Director at the Early Psychosis Youth Service, provided by Uniting in Western Sydney will give a brief introduction and chair the session, which allows significant time for discussion.
By the end of the seminar you will feel comfortable to improve your skills and to get the supports you need, in order to feel a great sense of achievement as you see improvements in functionality and recovery in the people you care about!

1. What works in developmental trauma, and how can mental health clinicians gain skills and knowledge in those approaches?

The evidence base for a range of approaches including EMDR, Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and newer approaches including EEG neurofeedback and Heart Rate Variability training will be explored, with case examples. Participants will be given a sense of the foundational skills and therapist qualities central to any effective therapy, as well as ideas for further training, professional development and supervision in areas that will benefit their clients.

Jillian Harrington is a Clinical Psychologist with a practice in Sydney. Jillian has a special interest in working with survivors of developmental trauma, and also provides clinical supervision and training to other clinicians in this space. Jillian is a Director of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, the Blue Knot Foundation, and is the Chair of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network Allied Health Clinical Council, as well as the Health Policy Chair of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists.

2. There are a wealth of therapeutic modalities, which are drawn upon in clinical work with clients with experiences of complex trauma. But what are the core principles which underpin the work?

This presentation will explore the core principles of working with developmental trauma. They will be drawn from Blue Knot’s 2019 Clinical Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma. These guidelines integrate the insights of lived and living experience, clinical expertise, cutting edge neuroscience within a reflective psychotherapeutic frame. They consider the complexities of developmental trauma and their effects on the existence of those impacted, while supporting possibilities for healing within the many pathways people navigate towards recovery.

Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM is President and Executive Director of Blue Knot Foundation, Deputy Chair of the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse, a medical practitioner and has a lived experience of complex trauma. Under her stewardship Blue Knot Foundation has grown from a peer support organisation to a national centre of excellence combining a prominent consumer voice with that of researchers, academics and clinicians advocating for socio-political trauma-informed change and informed responsiveness to complex trauma.

She is co-author of multiple seminal Blue Knot Foundation documents, including the 2019 Clinical Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma.

3. Treating trauma-affected clients do not seem to respond well to any of the available psychotherapy approaches.

Inspired by the successful use of neurofeedback with other psychological problems, STARTTS began to investigate the applicability of Neurofeedback for its client group in 2003. After more than 19 years of using Neurofeedback within the STARTTS bio-psycho-social model of care, we’ve developed a clinical and training program that integrates psychological and neurophysiological assessment and offers several other types of neuromodulation techniques to enhance treatment outcomes for neurofeedback clients. We will share with you the rationale for using Neurofeedback and our experiences building the neurofeedback clinical and training program.

Mirjana Askovic is a senior psychologist, BCIA-A certified QEEG Diplomate, and neurofeedback practitioner who uses an integrated, neuroscience-based approach to psychotherapy. Since 2001 she has been a clinician at the NSW Services for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). Mirjana is Director for the Australian Neurofeedback Institute (ANFI). Mirjana is a Ph.D. candidate in the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney. Her research is focused on examining the mechanisms and efficacy of neurofeedback in reducing symptoms of PTSD in traumatised refugees. For her contribution to the field of applied neuroscience in Australia, Mirjana was awarded the ANSA Fellowship in 2017.

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