Brisbane Harmony Centre is a Covid-safe business which complies with the Queensland Government’s ‘Workers in a healthcare setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction’ as a part of our workplace health and safety obligations. We aim to maintain a safe and healthy clinic for staff, clients and the wider community.
How to be a Neuro-Affirming Trauma Therapist. With Mandy Hansen.
Mandy Hansen led us through a discussion around Neuroaffirming Therapy. This was a lively discussion that provided up to date research, and was centred on the lived-experience of Autistic individuals. We dove into topics such as Double Empathy, Autistic Burnout, the Neurodiversity movement and our own internalised ableism and discussed how we can improve our practices to meet the needs of our Neurodivergent clients. Thank you so much for coming and participating so enthusiastically!
Racism: the Forgotten Trauma. With Katherine Thornley, Psychologist (Phos Psychology).
Katherine led a fascinating, thought-provoking conversation about the impacts of racism as an ongoing, and sadly, inescapable trauma for many members of our community. She asked participants to use our imaginations, and engage in the narratives and lived experiences of others to explore and formulate the influence of racism on communities and individuals. She offered some welcome suggestions for professional development beyond text books and trainings created by dominant cultural groups, and invited us to consider art as a form of professional development to support the art of therapy. What a great presentation, thank you Katherine! Folks, keep an eye out for more from Phos Psychology.
Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder: Through the looking glass. With Dr Megan Broughton, Clinical Neuropsychologist & Clinical Psychologist (private practice).
We were delighted to have Megan come and share her expertise with functional neurological disorders, and enjoyed another lively discussion with lots of participant input. We learned about important treatment considerations for clients presenting with functional neurological symptoms, and thought hard together about the mechanisms and formulations of these conditions. Thank you Megan for enlightening us!
Recognising and Managing Resistance – a Wellbeing Strategy for Therapists and Clients. With Catherine Hynes and Ainsley Salsbury
Catherine oriented the group to literature on resistance from therapists experienced in treating dissociative disorders, including Richard Kluft, Colin Ross and Kathy Steele, and Ainsley illuminated the problem with clinical vignettes and a thought provoking fable about responsibility between people. It was great to have an opportunity to consider the nuances of resistance in both those seeking and offering treatment, and to consider how to overcome resistance on both sides to keep therapies moving and improve wellbeing for all.
Responsibility and Compassion in Therapy. A round table discussion.
Catherine Hynes (Brisbane Harmony Centre) kicked the discussion off by outlining how this dilemma has presented challenges with clients with structural dissociation.
Lyndon Barei (True North Psychology and DBT Brisbane) shared some insights from DBT about the dialectical nature of these two concepts, and the importance of validation in treatment.
Rosanna Tremewan (Willow Psychology Services) identified the challenge of very understandable avoidance of difficult materials in therapy, and reflected on how this can present obstacles to change.
Robin Fraser (Blue Flame Wellness) covered a psychodynamic perspective on this challenge, and noted that in psychdynamic models, therapists are encouraged to enact both the role of the compassionate mother and the responsibility encouraging father in order to avoid splitting defences in clients, underscoring the importance of keeping a balance between both perspectives.
Chelsea Leach (You-Foric Psychology) shared some insights from her forensic work about the importance of creating a compassionate space in order for responsibility to be taken on by clients, and she shared some positive methods of working from restorative justice interventions in which responsibility and compassion have contributed to healing of both offenders and their victims.
Brenton Harris (Narthanya Psychology) shared his perspective using ACT, and includes some provocative questions, asking how you can have responsibility without compassion, and vice versa, and wondering where the limits of our responsibility lie over our emotional responses to our experiences.
It was such a pleasure to be able to host an in-house event in person, albeit with masks on, again- our first since Covid started. We welcomed some new faces in the audience, which is always a pleasure as we welcome all mental health practitioners with an interest in trauma informed care to join network. We had a lively and stimulating discussion over a glass of wine and snacks. The presenters definitely provoked thought on this dilemma, and there were many harmonies present in the different approaches. Overall, I believe we can conclude that therapy progresses clients’ aims best when there is an active collaboration between the hand that offers compassionate support, and the hand that encourages responsibility.
Ainsley Salsbury: EMDR Dilemmas – Reflections from one EMDR Therapist’s Experience of Being Called to the Stand.
Ainsley walked us through her experience of how psychology and the law intersect, often in ways which are stressful, unwanted and complex. The law’s view of EMDR is particularly fraught and complex when our clients may seek to prosecute traumas which represent criminal abuses against them. It appears there are no clear or certain answers about how to navigate this murky and confronting labyrinth of dilemmas. Ainsley shared her experience, and her considerable preparation for a court appearance, and her hard work and thoughtful exploration of these complexities is sure to embolden and inform us to face this series of challenges bravely and wisely.
Dr Bianca Sebben: Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy.
Emerging evidence from a variety of clinical trials across the United States, Europe and Israel is highlighting the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics in the treatment of various mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression. This Harmonious Discussion will discuss the current research both in Australia and overseas, and application of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, with a particular focus on MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD, and psilocybin-assisted therapy in the treatment of addiction, depression and disorders of control.
Dr Bianca Sebben is a psychologist with a particular interest in working with trauma and dissociative disorders. Bianca completed her PhD in Indigenous Psychology in Mexico, where she became interested in the application of plant medicines in the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions.
Dr Sarah Schubert: Preparation – science and techniques to create integrative memory processing capacity with complex trauma presentations.
Sarah put together a fascinating, stimulating online event for us from Perth. She presented her informed and well researched thoughts on how to prepare people with attachment trauma for EMDR reprocessing. She dazzled us with a powerful method she’s developed, drawing on neuroscience, polyvagal theory, structural dissociation, and EMDR, that assists clients to befriend their parts and integrate them into a cooperative collaboration. As always, Sarah brought us a thought provoking and highly valuable presentation in her warm and encouraging style.
Dr Sarah Schubert is a Clinical Psychologist who sees children, adolescents, adults, and families. Sarah entered private practice 5 years ago. Prior to this she worked with complex mental health issues in Community treatment settings. Sarah is published in the area of trauma therapy and ADHD. Her PhD was in the area of EMDR for the treatment of PTSD. She has won national and international awards for her research of EMDR and PTSD. Sarah is an accredited EMDR trainer.
Dr Sarah Swannell: A closer look at dissociative experiences in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
We were delighted by our first post-Covid in-person event at the Red Brick Hotel in Annerley. Sarah presented research of her own and from others looking into the fascinating issue of how dissociative symptoms are address, or not, in treatments for borderline personality disorder. This is what a scientist-practitioner looks like:
Sarah’s presentation was fascinating, and like all great research, brought up more questions than it answered, and the discussion afterwards was really thought provoking. We look forward to learning more about this and seeing some of this research incorporated into clinical practice. Thank you Sarah!
Dr Sarah Schubert: Trauma-focused therapy: The role and paradox of stabilisation and attachment.
Again modified by the global pandemic, which made our group room too small to host an in-person crowd, and left Sarah in Western Australia due to border closures, we hosted an online Harmonious Discussion with 20 participants.
Sarah put together a thought-provoking presentation about the role of attachment in stabilisation that will have many of the participants working more somatically and socially from here on. She gave a most straightforward explanation of polyvagal theory, and tied our work in EMDR Therapy solidly to social neuroscience, and challenged us all to think a little differently about the importance of connection with others during the early phases of therapy. She also tantalised us with an offer to present part 2 – a more practical take, later this year. Thanks to Sarah for such a great talk, we are looking forward to part 2, and thanks to all who attended!