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Free Clinical Presentations and Webinars


Upcoming events 2018

The 2018 program is currently being planned and will be announced shortly.

Previous events 2017

Impact of Trauma on Refugee Children’s Social and Educational School Competences: Research, Clinical Implications and Treatment

Held on 14 March 2017
Recorded lectures published at


Professor Richard Clark
Emeritus Prof of Psychology, Flinders Univ
Read bio and abstract


Sejla Murdoch
Neurofeedback Counsellor, Psychologist, STARTTS
Read bio and abstract

Evening outline

Early life is crucial to brain growth and the related neural connectivities underpinning the normal accommodation and assimilation of experience.  Trauma severely impacts this process, affecting both brain development and the related emergence of cognitive, affective and social capacities. In this clinical evening professor Richard Clark and STARTTS’ Senior Psychologist, Sejla Murdoch, will provide an account of  the impact of trauma on neuronal, network and systems development in the brain and its  impact on factors such as attachment, self-concept and self-regulatory development, feelings and salience processing, on the development of attention, learning and memory skills and on social interest and engagement. It will also explore how this might relate  to the education and social prowess of refugee children. The presentation will examine the benefit of neurotherapeutic approaches to rehabilitation and recovery of traumatised individuals. This will be illustrated with case studies.

Mind-Body Integrative Approaches in the Treatment of Torture and Refugee Trauma Survivors

Held on 23 May 2017
Recorded lectures published at


Michael de Manincor
Counselling Psychologist, Director of The Yoga Institute
Read bio and abstract


Danielle Begg
Yoga Instructor, Co-Founder of the Refugee Yoga Project
Read bio and abstract

Clinical evening outline

It is widely recognised that mind-body integrative approaches may be more effective in helping traumatised clients understand, identify and manage their body sensations within the window of tolerance. For many refugee trauma clients it may be more tolerable and culturally acceptable to utilise these approaches. This Clinical Master Class Evening will bring together two Yoga practitioners who will share with us their expertise of using yoga as a part of mind-body integrative approaches.  Michael de Manincor, the Director of The Yoga Institute, will explore the research related to yoga as a mind-body intervention for mental health, and consider possibilities for developing an evidence-based intervention approach. This includes a consideration of the way that yoga is or could be taught for different individuals and groups, including survivors of torture or refugee trauma.  Daniella Begg, an accredited Yoga practitioner, will further explore how to use Yoga in the treatment of torture and trauma survivors, illustrating it with a group intervention utilised at STARTTS.

Utilising Behaviour Activation in the Treatment of Torture and Refugee Trauma Survivors

Held on 19 July 2017
Recorded lectures published at


Dr Simon Rosenbaum
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow,
School of Psychiatry, UNSW
Read bio and abstract


Manuel Morantes and David Perez
Clinical Psychologist, Team Leader, STARTTS
Behaviour Activation Project Officer, STARTTS
Read bios and abstract

Engaging refugee trauma clients in healthy living practices is crucial to providing a solid foundation for brain health to support therapeutic interventions to further heal the mind and body, and hence regain a sense of control over body sensations, thoughts and feelings. Interventions targeting physical activity have repeatedly been shown to be efficacious in the augmentative treatment of a range of mental disorders. PTSD is associated with high rates of somatic comorbidities including metabolic syndrome contributing to an excess mortality rate due to preventable cardiovascular diseases. In this presentation, Dr Simon Rosenbaum will provide an overview of the available literature regarding physical activity and PTSD, with specific reference to the first published clinical trial of exercise for severe PTSD conducted in Sydney, as well as implications for clinical practice and future research. Based on the available evidence, there is reason to be optimistic that physical activity interventions delivered by physical therapists and exercise physiologists add a feasible and scalable component to the treatment of PTSD.  David Pérez Garcia, a behavioural activation project officer, and Manuel Francisco, a clinical psychologist, will explore how to integrate ongoing one on one exercise-based interventions with traditional counselling, illustrating this by a case presentation of a male Syrian refugee.

Cultural Variations in the Development and Maintenance of PTSD and its Neural Substrates in Refugee Trauma Treatment

Held on 2 August 2017
Recorded lectures published at


Dr Belinda Liddell
Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program, UNSW
Read bio and abstract


Shaheen Pordily
Neurofeedback Counsellor
Psychologist, STARTTS
Read bio

It has long been established that culture is a powerful environmental determinant of human behaviour. Advances in cultural neuroscience are now showing that culture also shapes brain function, including perception, attention, cognitive and emotional systems. One crucial culture factor is self-representation – that is, variations in levels of individualism (which dominate in Western based cultures like Australia) and collectivism (which are prevalent in many non-Western cultural groups). Variations in self-representation may be a central organising framework for information processing in the brain. Self-representation has been shown to alter the neural processes underlying fear responses, attentional biases to threat, autobiographical processing, self-referential processing, and attachment and interpersonal processing. In this clinical evening Dr Belinda Liddell will outline a new conceptual model suggesting that culture may be an important modulator of the neural processes underpinning PTSD. She will also discuss implications of this work for understanding PTSD presentations in people with a refugee background. Dr Liddell’s presentation will be followed by a case study presented by Shaheen Pordily, a registered psychologist and Neurofeedback Counsellor. Shaheen will explore how culture shapes and impacts various aspects of the self via a case study of a 19 year old girl from Afghanistan.

Complementary Role of Psychotherapy and Body Work in Treating Torture and Refugee Trauma Survivors

Held on 8 November 2017


Bruce Stark
Ortho-Bionomy Practitioner and Trainer, Sydney
Read bio and abstract


Hugh Churchward
Somatic Psychotherapist, Orthobionomy Practitioner, STARTTS
Read bio and abstract

Clinical Master Class Outline

Experiencing trauma can have a significant effect on our bodies and our minds; in fact trauma disrupts our body’s natural equilibrium, freezing us in a state of hyperarousal and fear. Recent scientific advances indicate that trauma reshapes both body and brain, compromising the sufferer’s capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. Traumatised clients tend to dissociate traumatic memory from feelings, as well as accompanying physiological sensations. Thus emotional trauma gets ‘stuck’ in the body, often somatised and expressed in the form of chronic pain. In this clinical evening Bruce Stark will explore the emerging confirmation of the role of bodywork in treating trauma survivors and its complementary relationship with psychotherapy. He will also highlight the complementary role of psychotherapy and body work in treating trauma survivors. Hugh Churchward will illustrate this with a case study of a client’s journey towards body awareness and the ability to self-regulate. He will further explore various methodologies and approaches that were utilised in this process.

About the program

STARTTS’ Clinical Master Class Evenings are held five times per year and aim to provide an opportunity for clinicians working with refugees to extend their understanding of refugee trauma by inviting expert speakers to present on interesting and practical topics. These presentations are followed by a case study presentation by an experienced STARTTS staff member and a panel discussion.

These events are free and open to anyone who is interested and are particularly suitable to those working in clinical and related settings. They are held at STARTTS’ Carramar office from 6-8pm. Light refreshments are provided. If you can’t make it to Carramar, there is the option of watching the event live over the internet (see below for more details).

The clinical master class evening program began in 2005. Read more about our previous events.

Free live webinar

If you can’t make it to Carramar, then you can save on time and petrol by watching the free live webinar of these events from your own computer. You will be able to participate in the panel discussion by sending in your typed questions which are answered live. Just go to and click on ‘Upcoming Live Webinars’ in the left hand navigation bar. No need to register. You should view one of their free sample videos before the day to ensure your computer settings are correct.

Recorded lectures

These events are recorded by Psychevisual and are available for viewing on the internet at a later date for a fee. Please see the Psychevisual website

STARTTS – 152-168 The Horsley Drive Carramar NSW

Time: 6-8pm

On-site parking is available. Drive into Mitchell St at the cross-road with The Horsley Drive. Turn into the driveway on the right between Fairfield Community Health Centre and the Ambulance Station. Follow the signs to STARTTS.

The Carramar site is approximately 10 minutes walk from Carramar station and 15 minutes from Fairfield station. Alternatively, take the 904 or 905 bus from Fairfield station.