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A case study of a refugee client with PTSD and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Mirjana Askovic

Refugees fleeing war or torture are exposed to increased risk of traumatic brain injury from exposure to blunt force (beatings) and penetrations (bullets, shrapnel) injuries, to concussive effects (bomb blasts). Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) complicates the psychological treatment and rehabilitation of trauma survivors demanding a multi-modal, brain-based approach to therapy. One such approach uses EEG to identify abnormal patterns of brain activity that might correlate with specific cognitive or emotional problems.

In this, EEG can complement cognitive and psychological testing and the clinical interview, to deepen our understanding of the client’s presenting symptoms, help us choose the appropriate treatment modality, and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. To illustrate this, the case study of a 50 year old Burundian client with a history of brain trauma and PTSD will be presented. In this case, neurofeedback therapy was used to teach the client to regulate his brain activity and ultimately improve his sleep and cognitive functioning.

Clinical Master Class Evening
23rd July 2014

Mirjana Askovic
Mirjana  Askovic
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Mirjana Askovic

Mirjana Askovic is a psychologist and BCIA qualified neurofeedback practitioner who uses an integrated, brain-based approach to psychotherapy. Mirjana trained in developmental psychology and neuropsychological diagnostics at postgraduate level at the University of Belgrade, and developed a nationally endorsed program remediating visual and fine-motor skills in pre-school children, before escaping Serbia with her family and emigrating to Australia in 2000. Since then she has been working with adult and child refugee trauma survivors at STARTTS in south-western Sydney. In 2007, Mirjana was given the responsibility of establishing the STARTTS Neurofeedback Clinic to help people with chronic, complex PTSD learn to regulate their physiological state in support of their emotional, cognitive, and social rehabilitation. She is also involved in a research study examining the role of abnormal brain activity in refugee trauma symptoms.

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