Dr Koa Whittingham

Senior Research Fellow

Child Health Research Centre
Faculty of Medicine
koawhittingham@uq.edu.au
+61 7 3069 7346

Overview

I a senior research fellow at the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre within the School of Medicine and an honorary research rellow at the School of Psychology. My research spans three key areas: (1) parenting and parenting intervention, (2) contextual cognitive beahvioural therapies including acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness and compassion, and (3) neurodevelopmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and prematurity. I am especially passionate about the application of contextual cognitive beahvioural therapies to parenting. I am the author of a self-help book suporting women through the transition to motherhood called Becoming Mum. I work in partnership with the not-for-profit organistion Possums, developing and testing innovative and interdiscplinary solutions to post birth care.

Research Interests

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
    Particularly the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to enhance parenting, the parent-child relationship or parental adjustment
  • Mindfulness
    Particularly the use of mindfulness to enhance parenting, the parent-child relationship or parental adjustment
  • Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
    Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury, infants at risk of neurodevelopmental disability including due to prematurity
  • Parenting
    Parenting, parent-child relationships, parenting interventions, the transition to parenthood, parent-infant sleep

Research Impacts

Through my ongoing parternship with the not-for-profit organisation Possums, our innovative interdisciplinary solutions to post birth care are rapidly applied in clinical practice within the Possums Clinic in Brisbane (www.possumsonline.com). Possums's services include outreach in the form of skype consultations, online groups and resources (the Possums Sleep Film). Possums is also provides health professional training in our new approaches.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science with Honour Class C1, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • We are currently developing and piloting an online, translatable by design parenting course grounded in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. We are developing the online course (PARENT101x Parenting with Purpose) using the EdX platform with the vision that it will one day be released as a MOOC (massive open online course). We are initially piloting the course with families of children with cerebral palsy (2-6yo) in a randomised controlled trial. however, PARENT101x is being developed to be suitable for all parents. There are opportunities for RHD students within the current project and in testing PARENT101x with other groups in the future. This is an excellent opportunity for students with a keen intrest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and parenting.

  • Working together with the not-for-profit organstion Possums and a wider research team, I am building contextual behavioural science (including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) into a new and interdisplinary approach to postnatal care. We are currently collecting data on the experiences of mothers and babies who access Possums services including face to face and individual consultations, group sessions and the Possums Sleep Film. We are also collecting data on the experiences of health professionals, trained in the new Possums approach. Notably, we have developed a novel approach to parent-infant sleep. There are opportunities for RHD students to become invovled in analysing aspects of the data currently under collection, and to undertake novel research ideas on the Possums approach including studying our new approach to parent-infant sleep. We would also be delighted to hear from potential RHD students with innovative new ideas in the field of postnatal care.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • We are currently developing and piloting an online, translatable by design parenting course grounded in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. We are developing the online course (PARENT101x Parenting with Purpose) using the EdX platform with the vision that it will one day be released as a MOOC (massive open online course). We are initially piloting the course with families of children with cerebral palsy (2-6yo) in a randomised controlled trial. however, PARENT101x is being developed to be suitable for all parents. There are opportunities for RHD students within the current project and in testing PARENT101x with other groups in the future. This is an excellent opportunity for students with a keen intrest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and parenting.

  • Working together with the not-for-profit organstion Possums and a wider research team, I am building contextual behavioural science (including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) into a new and interdisplinary approach to postnatal care. We are currently collecting data on the experiences of mothers and babies who access Possums services including face to face and individual consultations, group sessions and the Possums Sleep Film. We are also collecting data on the experiences of health professionals, trained in the new Possums approach. Notably, we have developed a novel approach to parent-infant sleep. There are opportunities for RHD students to become invovled in analysing aspects of the data currently under collection, and to undertake novel research ideas on the Possums approach including studying our new approach to parent-infant sleep. We would also be delighted to hear from potential RHD students with innovative new ideas in the field of postnatal care.