Mirjana Askovic is a senior psychologist with 30 years of clinical experience in mental health. She is also a certified Neurofeedback Practitioner and Mentor as well as a QEEG Diplomate.
Mirjana has been a clinician at the NSW Services for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) since 2001. While working with severely traumatised clients, Mirjana recognised the need for interventions that could directly address the impact of trauma on the nervous system. She consequently introduced Neurofeedback and Peripheral Biofeedback to STARTTS in 2003 and pioneered the application of Neurofeedback and Heart Rate Biofeedback in working with refugees affected by torture and trauma. Mirjana was also involved in the development of the Applied Neuroscience Society of Australasia and the APS Neurofeedback and Psychology Interest Group.
In 2007 Mirjana was given the responsibility to establish STARTTS’ Neurofeedback Clinic to help clients with chronic, complex PTSD learn to regulate their physiological states to support their emotional, cognitive, and social rehabilitation. Since 2007, this small clinic has developed into an internationally recognised Neurofeedback Centre for the treatment of refugee related trauma. Mirjana is currently coordinating Neurofeedback Program at STARTTS. Under Mirjana’s leadership the Australian Neurofeedback Institute (ANFI) was launched in early 2019 as an activity of STARTTS’ Neurofeedback Program.
Mirjana is a Ph.D. Candidate with the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney. Her interest is in developing a tighter link between scientific research and clinical practices to advance the field of trauma treatment. Her current research is focused on the examination of the mechanisms and efficacy of Neurofeedback in reducing symptoms of PTSD in traumatised refugees. She is a regular national and international conference presenter and trainer as well as the author of multiple publications on the integration of Neurofeedback and Psychotherapy in working with trauma survivors.
For her contribution to the field of Applied Neuroscience in Australia, Mirjana was awarded ANSA Fellowship in 2017.
Sejla Murdoch is senior psychologist with 20 years of clinical experience in work with trauma. During her initial employment at STARTTS Sejla worked in the early intervention program where she had an opportunity to use a range of therapeutic techniques with her clients and later as the clinician trainer where she was providing a professional development training to a range of health and allied health services. Sejla also gain her experience in organising seminars and clinical master classes at STARTTS. As part of this role Sejla also provided clinical supervision and was managing the student clinic at STARTTS for clinical and intern psychologist’ placements. Since 2007 together with Mirjana Askovic, Sejla assisted in development of the Neurofeedback (NF) Clinic at STARTTS, the first clinic in the world to provide such treatment to refugees’ survivors of torture and trauma. Sejla has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to Biofeedback (Heart Rate Variability) and NF in work with trauma. Sejla’s role in the NF Clinic initially was to provide supervision and mentoring to the NF staff at STARTTS. Currently Sejla is Senior Team Leader of the STARTTS’ Neurofeedback Program. Her passion is to ensure that all the children have an access to new techniques and new treatments. As such Sejla’s goal is to assist in development of the children’s clinic that will endeavour to combine NF with other neuromodulation techniques such as auditory training in order to achieve the best outcomes for the children and their families. Sejla is an accredited BCIA-A Neurofeedback Mentor and since 2012 she had a privilege to learn to interpret EEGs under the supervision of Jay Gungkelman, qEEG diplomat. She is currently in her Master’s degree course at the Brain and Mind Science Institute that promotes interdisciplinary research, encouraging investigation into disease in areas of the brain and mind.
Larisa Zilenkov is a Psychologist and Psychology Board-Approved Supervisor with AHPRA. She has over 10 years of clinical experience in providing psychological intervention to people who experienced traumatic events, specifically, refugees and asylum seekers. Throughout her education and professional experience she has acquired and developed a high level of skills relevant to the psychological assessment process, as well as the application of various psychological intervention strategies.
Larisa’s approach is client-centred and integrative. She strives to incorporate neuromodulation techniques with psychotherapeutic approaches, as well as expressive and body-centred therapeutic practices.
Larisa is inspired by existential philosophy and psychotherapy, and she believes in the human capacity for overcoming personal suffering, and the tendency to strive towards finding meaning and purpose, and reconnect with inner wisdom.
Joanne Haldane is a Forensic Psychologist and Psychology Board-Approved Supervisor with AHPRA. She completed her education at Birkbeck University of London, and post graduate training at the University of New South Wales. Joanne can assess, diagnose and implement treatment plans for a range of clients in a variety of health care settings.
Joanne has provided psychological reports for court purposes that include IQ, neuropsychological, memory, personality, mental illness, trauma, drug and alcohol, and violence risk assessment.
Joanne has worked for STARTTS in delivering clinical services since 2015, and has experience working with asylum seekers and newly arrived refugees with severe torture and trauma histories.
Prior to this, Joanne worked in a maximum-secure psychiatric hospital with adult and adolescent patients in contact with the NSW criminal justice system.
As a Neurofeedback counsellor at STARTTS, Joanne combines neuromodulation with trauma informed and culturally appropriate psychological treatment. Joanne is interested in the positive and lasting effects of neuromodulation in helping to calm the brain and integrate the nervous system within clinical practice. Joanne is interested in the areas of Neurofeedback, EMDR, Developmental trauma, Post traumatic growth, and Existentialism.
Demiana Willing is an AHPRA Registered Psychologist. She completed her Bachelor of Psychology degree at the University of Western Sydney in 2010 and obtained her Postgraduate Diploma of Applied Psychology at Macquarie University in 2012.
Demiana has been working with children and adolescents in the field of trauma since 2011. Demiana worked at the Child Protection Counselling Service, providing counselling to children and adolescents who have experienced developmental trauma, and were involved with Family and Community Services (FACS).
Demiana has worked at STARTTS in various roles since 2014. As a child and adolescent counsellor she was working with children, adolescents and families who experienced war related trauma, and human rights violations. Within this role, Demiana has also facilitated therapeutic groups within the schooling environment.
As a child and adolescent Neurofeedback counsellor at STARTTS, Demiana combines her knowledge of child development, attachment, and the brain in her therapeutic approach and psychological treatment.
She employs a variety of therapeutic modalities, these include Cognitive Behaviour therapy, Bio-feedback and Neurofeedback therapy, Sand Tray Therapy, Play and Art Therapy, Attachment Therapy, Strength approach Therapy, Schema Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Mindfulness techniques.
Demiana’s passion lies with combining Neurofeedback with psychological interventions, to assist children and adolescents in their path to healing and recovery from trauma.
Ivana Dragicevic completed a Bachelor of Psychology (First Class Honours) in 2011 at Macquarie University. Her further interest in this field led her to complete a Master in Cognitive Science (MSc) at the University of Vienna. The degree offered her the opportunity to study the mind from a multi-disciplinary perspective. She was involved in a study piloting TMS for the treatment of depression, and enrolled in subjects such as neuroanatomy, computer science, artificial intelligence and philosophy. These wide-ranging subjects allowed for a unique perspective into the functioning of the mind.
Since returning to Australia, Ivana has been involved in the neurofeedback field both in conducting qEEG assessments and using neurofeedback in a clinical setting to treat various disorders including: PTSD, depression, anxiety, ASD and ADHD. Ivana is a registered psychologist and BCIA-A applicant.
She is passionate about working with individuals experiencing emotional dysregulation issues and using biofeedback in combination with psychodynamic, body-focused and cognitive therapy. Ivana is also more broadly interested in incorporating mindfulness and yoga into maintaining both body and brain well-being. She is a certified 200-Hr yoga teacher.
Darius Rountree-Harrison is ANFI EEG analysis responsible for EEG/QEEG reports and consultations.
He studied neuroscience at the University of Sydney, psychology at Monash University and learned to analyse QEEG under the supervision of Jay Gunkelman and Mirjana Askovic. He is currently undertaking his QEEG diplomat certification and is a psychology doctorate candidate, looking at HRV biomarkers for PTSD. This work stems from Darius’ interest in stress responses, homeostatic processes and neuronal function.
During his time at ANFI, Darius has delivered training in HRV, mentored psychologists and students to analyse QEEG/HRV data and has been involved with clinical PTSD research. He routinely uses winEEG, Neuroguide, LORETA, Kubios, Thought Technology, EEGer Spectrum, Heart Math and many other software and biofeedback systems for analysis, clinical intervention and training.
Darius’ greatest strength lies in his ability to integrate a wide range of neuropsychophysiological research and practices, with presenting symptoms, individual EEG and HRV data to set integrated treatment plans. His clinical insights have aided the recovery of hundreds of clients of all ages and psychopathologies. He is currently employed at STARTTS as an EEG Analyst.
Sevilay is a registered psychologist trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Trauma based CBT, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She has worked in the various clinical and corporate settings to conduct psychological assessments and provide treatment for clients with different disorders including: PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, OCPD and BPD. In her clinical practice she has seen clients of diverse ethnic backgrounds and from different age groups. Sevilay has a passion for working holistically and collaboratively with her clients and is interested in developing as a clinician in the areas of Neurofeedback and EMDR.
Dr. Watters is a Research Officer at STARTTS working within the Neurofeedback Clinic. She is implementing a randomised controlled trial of use of neurofeedback for treating posttraumatic stress disorder in refugees. This is in line with the clinic’s aim to develop neurofeedback therapy and establish a high-quality evidence base for its use.
Dr. Watters completed her PhD at the University of Sydney, using both EEG and fMRI to identify aberrations in cognitive and emotion processing that might provide markers of familial risk for depression. She developed her interest in applying EEG and fMRI to understand social emotion processing associated with psychiatric disorders during a two-year postdoctoral Fellowship at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania focusing on youth at high-risk for schizophrenia. She currently holds a postdoctoral research affiliation with the University of Sydney’s Western Clinical School for her ongoing work in identifying markers of emotion dysregulation secondary to trauma and experimental investigations of neurofeedback.
Dr. Watters completed her Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at the University of New South Wales. She has held general registration as a Psychologist under AHPRA since 2013 with expertise in cognitive and behavioural interventions for affective disorders and insomnia, in neurofeedback techniques and neurocognitive assessment.
ANFI Support and Development Services
David Parker is ANFI’s program engineer and provisional psychologist, responsible for the ongoing development of the ANFI website and new technologies. In addition, David conducts qEEG assessments, neurofeedback and counselling and provides technical support for research projects.
David worked in the Information Technology Industry for more than 20 years, as a Programmer, Analyst, Solutions Architect and Project Manager for his own business. Industries that David supported include Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Finance, Medical, Warehousing, Distribution and Marketing. In 2012 David decided to change direction and he commenced a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), while volunteering at STARTTS as their program engineer. David has now finished his studies and is working as a provisional psychologist, while continuing to support ANFI’s ongoing technology requirements.
David is passionate about improving marker-based assessment tools that can be used to confirm diagnostic hypotheses. His desire is to make available the ability to upload de-identified client EEG’s and other assessment data into a database, which would automatically search for matching groups and report on their most common diagnosis and successful treatments. David is currently working on research that will support early stages of this process.
Mark Whitfield has over 30 years’ experience consulting and executing business strategies across a broad array of service orientated industries. Mark has previously held numerous CEO and General Management positions for companies such as IBM, 3D Networks, Memorex Telex and BioSOlar. Currently living down south in beautiful Jervis Bay, Mark is now semi-retired however continues to provide valued services to ANFI in a support and advisory capacity.
Our special thanks go to David Parker, Mark Whitfield, and Fatouma Toure who have been an invaluable resource to ANFI and without whom this website would not be possible. Thank you!