A new research study, using neurofeedback as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is showing promising results in reducing symptoms and improving rates of remission. The study, conducted by the Atlas Institute, the University of Ottawa, Western University and the University of Geneva, is adding significantly to evidence that neurofeedback is on par with gold-standard treatments for PTSD.
Join us and a panel of experts and people with lived experience to learn more about what neurofeedback is and how it heals parts of the brain that are impacted in the aftermath of trauma, and that contribute to PTSD symptoms.
Our panel of experts and people with lived experience will discuss:
- What neurofeedback is and how it can be used to treat PTSD
- Why it is particularly useful for treating complex disorders like PTSD
- How neurofeedback works to heal altered brain activity in the aftermath of trauma
- The ways this flexible treatment method can be incorporated into therapeutic treatment plans
Dr. Andrew Nicolson, Director of Clinical Research at the Atlas Institute, will share findings from his current research, and will co-facilitate a discussion with a person of lived experience, and a panel of experts. Participants will be invited to ask questions and share insights.
Andrew Nicholson, PhD, BSc
Dr. Andrew Nicholson is the Director of Clinical Research at the Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families as well as an Assistant Professor within the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. As a scientist at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Mental Health Research, he also holds the Atlas Institute Chair of Minority Stress and Trauma Research. Dr. Nicholson completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Western University, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, with Dr. Ruth Lanius. He then went on to complete two postdoctoral fellowships at the Homewood Research Institute (HRI), Canada, and at the University of Vienna, Austria/the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Nicholson’s research program is largely focused on better understanding the neural correlates of trauma and stress-related disorders, including PTSD. Additionally, his research aims to elucidate the neural underpinnings of minority stress/trauma exposure from an intersectional perspective (using neuroimaging modalities), in order to better understand the neurobiological basis of mental health burdens that disproportionally affect marginalized communities.
Sebern Fisher, M.A.
Sebern F. Fisher, M.A., is a psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner who specializes in the aftermath of neglect and abuse in early childhood. She focuses on training the traumatized brain to learn its own regulation, which it can learn at any age. She trains professionals nationally and internationally on neurofeedback and on the need to integrate neurofeedback with psychotherapy. Her book, Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain, has helped her readers understand how the traumatized brain can give rise to explosive feelings, irrational thinking and destructive behaviour. When the brain learns its own regulation, its owner can engage meaningfully in psychotherapy and in life.
Ruth Lanius, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Ruth A. Lanius is a Psychiatry Professor and Harris-Woodman Chair at Western University of Canada, where she is the director of the Clinical Research Program for PTSD. She has over 25 years of clinical and research experience with trauma-related disorders, and established the Traumatic Stress Service at London Health Sciences Centre, a program that specializes in the treatment of psychological trauma. Dr. Lanius has received numerous research and teaching awards, including the Banting Award for Military Health Research. She has published over 150 research articles and book chapters focusing on brain adaptations to psychological trauma and novel adjunct treatments for PTSD. She regularly lectures on the topic of psychological trauma both nationally and internationally. She has co-authored The Effects of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic and Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment. Dr. Lanius is a passionate clinician scientist who endeavours to understand the first-person experience of traumatized individuals throughout treatment and how it relates to brain functioning.
Tomas Ros, PhD
Dr. Tomas Ros completed his PhD in 2010 under the supervision of Prof. John Gruzelier, exploring the impact of EEG neurofeedback on mechanisms of long-term brain plasticity. During the last 10 years, he has researched the potential of neurofeedback as a novel treatment for psychiatric disorders, namely, for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (in collaboration with Prof. Ruth Lanius at Western University) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (in collaboration with Prof. Nader Perroud at University of Geneva).
Daniel Pelletier, CAF Veteran
Daniel joined the Canadian Armed Forces in January 1973 where he spent his career as an infantryman. Over the 25 years in which he served 22 were in the Canadian Armed Forces and three years as a reservist with the Voltigeurs de Québec. He was a member of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion of the R22R as well as the 1st CDO, Airborne Regiment. Missions and assignments Daniel participated in were Cyprus 1975 and 1986, Montreal Olympics 1976, Jungle Warfare Training Australia 1976, landing maneuver Norway 1978, Germany 1979-83, Combat Arms School 1983, Airborne Regiment 1984-88, in charge of security for the ARMEX 85 International Exhibition in Ottawa, and Croatia in 1993-94. He retired as Master Warrant Officer in 1995 however he has remained active in military life acting as a FAC recruiting officer in Quebec 2001 and was the first OSISS peer support coordinator in Quebec 2002-2004.
A member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Daniel has also taken Royal Canadian Legion Service Officer Training, Mental Health First Aid Training and served as an advisor to the research team Office of One Health & Wellness, Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan where he participated in research with veterans and their families as well as the contribution of service dogs. He is the co-author of a manuscript submitted to the Journal of Military, Veteran and Family and member of the lived experience cadre at the Atlas Institute for Veterans and their Families. He is involved with the Canadian Foundation for Animal Assisted Support and Services (cf4aass) and promoter for a project of Veteran handymen, who volunteer to help veterans with problems that require minor repairs to their homes.
The Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families is hosting a series of two-part virtual conversations with women Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). These conversations aim to better understand the experiences and the mental health and well-being of women Veterans. The goal of these conversations is to inform the development of a research project with and for women Veterans.
The first conversations will take place virtually during the week of September 20, with various days and times available. The second follow-up series of conversations will take place virtually during the week of November 15, with various days and times available.
Registration will be open from July 27, 2022 to August 26, 2022.
There is a total of 25 spots available with five people in each session. These spots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. There is also an option to provide your comments in writing or as an audio or video recording if you do not wish to participate in the live virtual conversations.
This event has ended.
For the first time as the Atlas Institute, we joined the CIMVHR Forum 2022 to introduce the following topics:
- Presenter: Jean-Michel Mercier, MSc, Senior Research Partnerships Associate
- Date/Time: Tuesday, 18 October 2022, 12:20 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.
- Session: 3B05
- Summary: During Canada’s time in Afghanistan, Afghan-Canadian citizens were recruited to work as Language and Cultural Advisors (LCAs). These LCAs accompanied members of the Canadian Armed Forces outside the wire assisting with translation and teaching local culture and customs to the soldiers. Guided by an advisory committee, this ongoing qualitative study aims to identify the current mental health status of Language and Cultural Advisors who served with the CAF in Afghanistan, their perception of their experience and transition back to civilian life, and the types of support they perceive they would have needed upon their return. This presentation shared the preliminary results of the study, as well as described the process of working with an advisory group from the inception of the study.
- Presenter: Sara Rodrigues, Ph.D., Director, Applied Research
- Date/time: Tuesday, 18 October 2022, 4:50 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.
- Session: 5E02
- Summary: This presentation drew on the results of a study of the lived experiences of potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) and their impacts for 38 public safety personnel. Our findings demonstrate that for PSP, PMIEs arise during the performance of role-specific duties, within or because of the organizational culture or climate, and as a result of inadequacies in the broader health care and social welfare systems. This presentation highlighted specific types of events that PSP describe as PMIEs, and the impact that these events have in terms of personal and professional values, as well as mental health and well-being.
- Presenter: Ashlee Mulligan, MSc, Director, Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement
- Summary: The Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families, Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are collaborating as part of the Glossary 3.0 Senior Authors’ Team. This diverse, multi-institutional pan-Canadian group of academics and clinicians is working to develop Version 3.0 of the PTSD Glossary of Terms, which will be published in an upcoming special issue of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada (HPCDP). The purpose of the Glossary of Terms is to improve the accessibility of language related to mental health and mental health conditions for all Canadians and to work towards a universal set of terms for clinicians, scientists, policymakers, people with lived experience and the general public.
- Presenter: Gabrielle Dupuis, MSc, Director, Research Partnerships
- Summary: Peer support, or support between individuals with a similar lived or living experience, has been utilized for many years in various populations, including Veterans, Serving Members, and their Families. However, ambiguity still exists regarding the categorization of these activities and how they can be used to improve the well-being of individuals. This scoping review aims to describe the nature of peer support activities for Veterans, Serving Members, and their Families in the literature, and align their outcomes within the seven domains of the Veterans Affairs Canada well-being framework.
- Presenter: Cath Virelli, MHSc, Senior Knowledge Mobilization Specialist
- Summary: Evidence from the United States suggests that stigmatizing language in news stories about Veterans’ mental health may significantly influence public perceptions of Veterans. In turn, this can have negative impacts on Veterans’ and Veteran Families’ quality of life post-service. Problematically, the literature lacks guidance for journalists covering Veterans’ mental health and related concerns, such as suicide, particularly in the Canadian context. To begin to address this gap, the Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families collaborated with Dr. Robert Whitley of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute to develop a set of guidelines that may help journalists ensure news stories about Veterans’ mental health and related concerns are balanced, trauma-informed and recovery-oriented.
The Atlas Institute hosted an information booth to meet with military, Veteran and Family, researcher and service provider communities and to highlight some of our projects.
Learn about our pre-CIMVHR session and post-CIMVHR workshop, which took place on October 16 and 19, 2022, covering topics important to Veterans, their Families, and those who provide support services:
Pre-CIMVHR Session: Research and lived experience interactive panel discussion
The Pre-CIMVHR Research and Lived Experience Interactive Panel Discussion offered a space to promote understanding of research and empower Veterans and Families in research. Veterans and Veteran Families were invited to enter into an in-person dialogue with researchers to discuss research methods and life cycle, priorities, facilitators and barriers in research, and Veterans and Families’ needs in research.
Registration is closed.
Enhancing Veteran and Veteran Family engagement in research: Reflections from an interactive panel discussion
- Cultural awareness and building trust
- Developing studies with the engagement of people with lived experience in mind
- The future of engagement
- Final takeaways
Lived Expertise Lead, Veterans – Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families
Post-CIMVHR Workshop: Advancing the vision for a transformed mental health system for Veterans and their Families
This workshop featured a panel presentation sharing the results and implications of a collaboration between the Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families and Phoenix Australia to develop a new vision and implementation approach for Veteran and Veteran Family mental health systems globally. The session also facilitated dialogue among participants to identify stakeholders’ perspectives and resource needs in the implementation of a transformed model of care to improve the well-being of Veterans and their Families in the Canadian context.
Registration is closed.
Post-CIMVHR Workshop: Advancing the vision for a transformed mental health system for Veterans and their Families
Both sessions were held:
Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel,
1919 Upper Water St.,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3J5