Mirjana Askovic is a senior psychologist and 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 currently Neurofeedback Program Coordinator at STARTTS and a Director for the Australian Neurofeedback Institute (ANFI). Neurofeedback Program was established in 2007 to help clients with chronic, complex PTSD learn to regulate their physiological states to support their emotional, cognitive, and social rehabilitation. Recently, Mirjana was given a task to lead the Australian Neurofeedback Institute as part of STARTTS program that specialises in provision of neurofeedback training and mentoring. Mirjana is a PhD candidate with the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney. Her research is focused on the examination of the mechanisms and efficacy of neurofeedback in reducing symptoms of PTSD in traumatised refugees. Mirjana is a regular national and international conference presenter and trainer and is the author of multiple publications on the integration of neurofeedback in working with trauma survivors. For her contribution to the field of applied neuroscience in Australia, Mirjana was awarded ANSA Fellowship in 2017.
Abstract – Clinical Master Class – 25 November 2020
Long walk to health: Working with the survivors of refugee trauma with a history of early childhood abuse
The neuroscience of trauma clearly indicates that the brain formed in response to survival threats early in life, develops differently from the brain of those who had a healthy upbringing. Recent findings indicate this causes major disruptions in the formation of the main brain networks, leading to long-term emotional, cognitive and psychological difficulties. For those exposed to war and persecution later in life, these brain patterns that were formed early in life get further reinforced, leading to severe and debilitating mental health and physical difficulties.
In this presentation Mirjana Askovic will discuss a neuroscience informed therapeutic approach to working with people from refugee backgrounds affected by both developmental and refugee trauma. Interplay between neuromodulation and psychological techniques will be described through a case study of an adult client with a history of early childhood trauma and the exposure to war, persecution and refugee experiences. Looking through the lens of neuroscience, Mirjana will describe the client’s healing journey that started with learning how to regulate affect and lower arousal driven by fear, before embarking on a journey of healing the wounds inflicted through interpersonal trauma.