Speakers 2017


Georgie Oldfield MCSP

SIRPA Founder

Georgie Oldfield MCSP is a leading physiotherapist, author, speaker and chronic pain specialist, who promotes a pioneering approach to resolving chronic pain through her work with SIRPA and her clinics in London and Yorkshire.

Georgie is the founder of SIRPA (Stress Illness Recovery Practitioners Association), an organisation dedicated to promoting the concept that chronic pain is often due to learned nerve pathways, rather than any physical ‘abnormality’ found, hence full recovery is possible.

In 2010 Georgie developed the first course worldwide which enables health professionals to learn how to integrate the SIRPA approach and the concept on which it is based into their own work. As well as her clinical work, in 2011 Georgie produced the ‘SIRPA online Recovery Programme’, therefore enabling people wherever they are to follow their own individualised recovery journey, with or without additional support and guidance.

Georgie also gives talks and writes widely about her work and in 2014 published her first book, ‘Chronic Pain: your key to recovery’. This conference is the second conference Georgie has organised and presented, following SIRPA’s hugely successful inaugural conference in April 2015.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Science Journalist and Public Speaker

Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning science journalist and public speaker, whose work explores the intersection between neuroscience, immunology, and the deepest inner workings of the human heart.

Her most recent book, Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal (Atria Books / Simon & Schuster, 2015), examines the relationship between childhood adversity and adult physical health, and guides readers facing chronic illness toward healing and transformation.

Her other works include The Last Best Cure (Hudson Street Press / Penguin, 2013), in which she chronicles her year-long journey to unlock the restorative powers of the brain; The Autoimmune Epidemic (Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 2008, 2009), an investigation into the reasons behind today’s rising rates of autoimmune disease; and Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? (Perseus, 2003). Nakazawa lectures nationwide.

Howard Schubiner MD

Paediatrics and Internal Medicine

Howard Schubiner MD is board certified in paediatrics and internal medicine, and is the Director of the Mind Body Medicine Center at Providence Hospital in Southfield, MI. He is also a Clinical Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Michigan State University.

He has authored more than sixty publications in scientific journals and books, and has given more than 250 lectures to scientific audiences regionally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Schubiner has consulted for the American Medical Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Mental Health. He is a senior teacher of mindfulness meditation and is currently conducting NIH-sponsored research on fibromyalgia.

His book ‘Unlearn Your Pain’ contains a comprehensive guide to healing mind body disorders. Dr. Schubiner published ‘Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression’ in 2014 and is on the Board of Directors of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA). He has been included on the list of the Best Doctors in America since 2003. He lives in the Detroit area with his wife of thirty-four years and has two adult children.

David Clarke MD

President of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association

David Clarke MD is President of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association. He is also Assistant Director at the Center for Ethics and is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology Emeritus, both situated at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Dr Clarke is a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University. He is board-certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine and practiced Gastroenterology in Portland from 1984 to 2009, where he has successfully cared for over 7000 patients with unexplained symptoms or chronic functional syndromes. He has received numerous awards for patient care and is a member of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, the American Psychosomatic Society and the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association.

He has been a Visiting Professor at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, and at Oxford University, England. Dr Clarke has lectured extensively on Psychophysiologic Disorders across the U.S. and Europe and has appeared on over 100 television and radio broadcasts

David Hanscom MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon

David A Hanscom MD is an orthopaedic surgeon who has been performing complex spine surgery since 1986. In this time, he has amassed significant expertise in treating both adult and paediatric patients with a wide range of spinal conditions, including deformities, fractures, tumours and infections. Currently working for Swedish Neuroscience Specialists in Seattle, Dr Hanscom practices as part of a team to optimise nutrition, mental approach, medications, physical conditioning, and overall health.

He also spends a large part of his practice devoted to helping patients who have suffered multiple failed spinal surgeries. Through his observations, Dr Hanscom learned that the central nervous system is the key player in the development of chronic pain and that most spine surgeries should never be performed.

Combined with his own personal experience of chronic pain recovery, Dr Hanscom developed his own five-step recovery programme and a new treatment paradigm was born, which is explained in his book, Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain. His goal for patients is not just to live with pain or manage it, it is to be pain free, which he has now helped become a reality for hundreds of his patients.

Dr Angela Cooper

Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University

Dr Angela Cooper is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada and a Chartered Clinical Psychologist specializing in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). She has completed 4 years of post-doctoral ISTDP training with Dr Patricia Coughlin and 2 years of advanced supervision with Dr Allan Abbass specializing in medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). This comprehensive training has significantly deepened her therapeutic knowledge, enabling her to assess and treat a diverse range of mental health difficulties and psychopathology.

Dr Cooper currently works at the Centre for Emotions and Health and is undertaking a three-year pilot project to provide consultation, assessment, treatment, teaching and research using ISTDP to address the unconscious emotional processes that are believed to underlie many physical and somatic difficulties such as chronic pain, chest pain, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal issues, headache, migraine, memory difficulties, muscle weakness and other mind body problems. These difficulties are often co-morbid with anxiety, depression, personality issues and/or trauma. The aim of the project is to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of this approach as applied in a primary care setting. This includes evaluating the direct therapeutic outcomes with patients, as well as the impact of teaching and training on physicians and other health care professionals.

Dr Christos Christophy


Dr Christos Christophy is a London born psychotherapist with an academic background in psychology, neuroscience and biotechnology.

Personal experience inspired him to recently complete a doctoral research project into chronic pain at The New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, founded by Prof. Emmy van Deurzen. Using an in-depth qualitative methodology, the research had two main aims; to increase understanding of chronic pain and to apply this understanding clinically to recovery.

His clinical time as a psychotherapist is divided between private practice and St Mungo’s, which is the largest homelessness charity in London. He has worked there since 1994 and delivers specialist mental health services to clients with enduring mental health and/or substance misuse issues and provides clinical supervision to staff teams. The theoretic basis of his approach is derived from psychoanalysis and existential phenomenology.

Matt Kinal MSc MCSP

Specialist Pain Physiotherapist

Matt Kinal MSc MCSP is a Specialist Pain Physiotherapist and an accredited SIRPA Practitioner. He originally began his career working in professional sport before acquiring an interest in pain physiology and complex pain conditions. He has an MSc in Pain science and a particular interest in the physiological impacts of stress and how this affects pain. He has been a SIRPA practitioner since training with Georgie in 2012.

In 2013 Matt set up the Bristol Pain Relief Centre, a service that provides treatment for people with long-term pain in Bristol and the South west of England. Working alongside a Clinical Psychologist the service combines the SIRPA approach with neurophysiological education and psychological therapy to help people in their recovery from pain. Matt also regularly teaches the physiological effects of stress to physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals.

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