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Free Clinical Master Classes and Webinars

Refugee Trauma and Addictive Behaviours: Treating Clients Consuming Drugs and Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

31 March 2021 | 6.30-8pm | Zoom online

Prof Katherine Mills
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use
Bio

Mirjana Askovic
Psychologist/ Neurofeedback Coordinator
STARTTS
Bio

Event outline

Refugee survivors of torture and trauma have usually experienced cumulative and intense traumas as well as multiple losses in the course of dislocation, migration and resettlement. It follows that refugees can have complex presentations including complex PTSD and prolonged and complicated grief. A sizable group have a comorbid disorder, with the most common comorbidities being depression, anxiety, alcohol addiction, and substance abuse. The presence of comorbidities in the context of PTSD creates significant challenges for clinicians, not least due to the reliance on mood altering substances to manage the effects of trauma and loss. In this Clinical Master Class, Professor Katherine Mills will talk about improving our understanding of the relationship between mental and substance use disorders. In particular, Prof Mills will focus on the co-occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use. Mirjana Askovic, the coordinator of Neurofeedback team and the director of Australian Neurofeedback (NF) Institute, will illustrate STARTTS’ work with a case study of one of her clients utilising NF as a part of an integrative approach to the treatment of trauma, addictive behaviour and substance abuse.

Online via Zoom – REGISTER

Previous Clinical Master Classes 2020

Treating Developmental Trauma in Adult Survivors of Torture and Refugee Trauma

Held on 25 November 2020

A/Prof Loyola McLean
Psychiatrist/Psychotherapist
University of Sydney, Private Practice
Bio and abstract

Mirjana Askovic
Psychologist/ Neurofeedback Coordinator
STARTTS
Bio and abstract

Event outline

Early childhood trauma such as chronic maltreatment, abuse, neglect or other harsh adversity can have adverse effects lasting into adulthood. In our clinical work, we might see adults with complex presentations such as difficulty in developing relationships, trusting others, complex PTSD and ongoing difficulties with daily living. Clients from refugee backgrounds may have been exposed to developmental trauma prior to their refugee trauma because of a traumatic developmental environment, including where a caregiver is the cause of distress or when the caregiver cannot emotionally contain a child responding to overwhelming stress or trauma. Moreover, a sizable group of clients are exposed to developmental trauma as a direct consequence of refugee experiences, such as the loss of significant attachment figures including both parents, inability of the parents to provide basic needs and emotional containment to child due to their own trauma. In this Clinical Master Class, Associate Professor Dr Loyola McLean will bring her clinical expertise to the topic of developmental trauma; its presentation and treatment in adult survivors. Mirjana Askovic, STARTTS’ Neurofeedback Coordinator and a psychologist, will demonstrate STARTTS’ work on this complex topic with a case study.

Treating Complex PTSD with Psychotic Features due to Torture and Refugee Trauma

Held on 23 September 2020

Professor Zachary Steel
Professorial Chair
St John of God Hospital
Bio and abstract

Joshua Hall
Psychologist/ Trainer
STARTTS
Bio and abstract

Event outline

Refugee survivors of torture and trauma who have experienced cumulative, intense traumatic experiences and multiple losses may have complex presentations including complex PTSD with psychotic features. The presence of psychosis in the context of PTSD has been identified amongst our clients, creating challenges for clinicians in treating such clients. In this Clinical Master Class, Professor Zachary Steel will give an overview of complex PTSD with psychotic features, including strategies for containing, managing clients and appropriate referral. Joshua Hall, a Clinical Psychologist, will illustrate STARTTS’ work with a case study of one of his clients.

Providing Holistic Support to Torture and Refugee Trauma Survivors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Best Practice Examples from Australia and Europe

Held on 22 July 2020

Anette Carnemalm
Psychologist, Head of Operations
Swedish Red Cross
Abstract and bio

Lina Ishu
Youth Team Leader
STARTTS NSW
Abstract and bio

Rudy Gonzalez
Psychologist, General Manager Practice Development and Learning, VFST Victoria
Abstract and bio

Event outline

This Clinical Master Class will explore how three torture and trauma rehabilitation services from Australia and Europe quickly adapted from face-to-face to remote services, to be able to respond to the unique challenges faced by survivors of torture and refugee trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These impacts of COVID-19 have been specifically colossal for vulnerable groups of our society such as refugees. In addition to the day to day impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, refuges are faced with additional challenges such as having resettlement put on hold, to delays in the progress of their applications, as well as triggers of their previous trauma and multiple losses. These challenges have intensified existing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression, grief reactions, and have also created further panic, anxiety and fear regarding Covid-19 pandemic. It has been also a challenge for organisations who provide support and rehabilitation services for refugees, as most have been forced to quickly adjust providing face-to-face services to providing interventions using remote technology.

The presentations by three highly competent national and international speakers will be followed by a Q&A panel discussion with active participation from the audience.

Prolonged Grief Among Refugees: From Research to Clinical Implications and Treatment

Held on 10 June 2020

Professor Richard Bryant
Scientia Professor of Psychology
University of NSW
Bio

Nooria Mehraby
Clinician Trainer, Master of Counselling
STARTTS
Bio and abstract

Event outline

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss. Refugees generally experience multiple losses in their lives, making grief a defining characteristic of clients from refugee backgrounds. Refugee experiences can rupture the bonds of love and connectedness to family, friends, and community, thus breaking the survivors’ sense of trust, security and justice both at individual and collective levels. Those bereaved may be at risk for prolonged grief, their resiliency impeded by the severity of the event and the perceived maltreatment of human beings as well as cultural bereavement and multiplicity of settlement problems. In this Clinical Master Class Professor Richard Bryant will give an overview of recent research on prolonged grief amongst refugees, the clinical implications and treatment. Nooria Mehraby, a senior clinician and STARTTS clinician trainer, with over 30 years experiences in working with refugees, including 25 years of work at STARTTS, will illustrate STARTTS’ work with a case study of a Syrian refugee client.

Managing Chronic Pain with Torture and Trauma Survivors

Held on 13 May 2020

A/Prof Anthony Richardson
Psychiatrist, St Vincents Hospital
Bio and abstract

Hugh Churchward
Orthobionomist, STARTTS
Bio and abstract

Event outline

Refugee survivors of torture and trauma often present with chronic pain and general body discomfort in the form of headaches, body aches and pains, and muscle tension, without a medical diagnosis or apparent physical cause. In addition, clients from refugee backgrounds can suffer from a range of physical conditions as a result of injuries sustained from torture and other types of violence. Contemporary research in trauma highlights that body focused interventions such as relaxation training, physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture can be extremely helpful in treating trauma survivors. In this Clinical Master Class Associate Professor Tony Richardson will talk about managing chronic pain with trauma survivors, while Hugh Churchward, an experienced and highly skilled STARTTS physiotherapist, will demonstrate STARTTS’ work with a case study of one his clients.

These lectures were recorded and can be viewed later for a fee at Owl Talks Lectures

STARTTS’ Clinical Master Classes 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 live webcast via Zoom.

These events are recorded by Owl Talks (formerly Psychevisual) and are available for viewing on the internet at a later date for a fee. Please see the Owl Talks website https://lectures.owltalks.org/.

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