This year, 4 BFSA members were able to make the long journey from South Africa to Phoenix to attend and partake in the opportunity of information sharing and fellowship with like-minded individuals in the field of Neuro and Biofeedback. Karlien Balt was given the opportunity to present her preliminary findings of her research project on the “Effects of ISF training on QEEG and ANS function in anxiety and related diseases”. The excitement of sharing her findings, as well as the value that it held to be able to connect with mentors who could guide her with further research, is of immense value.
“Being a part of ISNR is so much bigger than member benefits and coming to the conference.
Having the opportunity to present my research and get feedback and discuss the results and relevance was so rewarding. Getting input from individuals who are permanently in this research field, like Dr. Andre Keizer and Dr. Dirk de Ridder, was so valuable and will help us create more significant research projects in future.
The highlight was, of course, having the opportunity to present with Mark Smith. It was absolutely nerve wrecking and the highest high all at the same time.” – Karlien Balt
The Biofeedback Association of South Africa is still in its infancy but is growing year by year. In order for growth, one needs constant feeding of the correct nutrients and an environment that stimulates this growth. One aspect of learning is being aware of the new developments and using these advancements in order to enhance clinical understanding and relevance to the clients we see in South Africa. The role that community and connectedness play for us is of utmost importance. We acknowledge the vital role of networking and how each of us who have, over time, built relationships with other clinicians in the field see the benefit of the shared knowledge. There is a different quality to learning when it is face to face and in real time. The fact that we were able to be with such well-respected colleagues in the field and attend their teachings in person, and not just via webinars, was very inspiring.
“Workshops and discussions were brilliant. Witnessing our ISNR speaker, Karlien Balt, as the first ever South African presenting at ISNR was emotional, but it also created a sense of amazement. Whilst we have still so much to learn, South Africa is out there, in spite of all our challenges, rubbing shoulders with the best there is. So many opportunities for growth as SA becomes more prominent in the NFT field. I am so grateful to BFSA (especially Karlien, McGill and Louise) for making this happen.” – Marina v.d. Ryst
The richness of the program that caters for beginners as well as seasoned clinicians who want to stay abreast with the newest frontiers of the field, all had the opportunity to grow, connect and network. The diversity in the program left us with a sense of renewed vigour and excitement to come and apply this knowledge and impart it to others in our country.
A sense of being part of the ISNR body, not just as members but also as volunteers at the conference, created a way for us to connect and serve the community.
“Apart from all the information in the brilliant lectures, the South African attendees were no longer an unknown group. People took time to chat to us and to get to know us and make us feel part of the greater whole. Their willingness to help us out with discounts and to share their knowledge with us in an effort to assist us to grow in our understanding of NFB was a humbling and exhilarating experience. It was as if, for the first time, we really became part of the greater whole. My advice is – start saving fellow members – you won’t regret the experience!” – McGill Scott
We have come away from ISNR with the knowledge of the responsibility of coming back to SA and sharing and inspiring others to attend conferences. We will be gathering our BFSA members in June 2019 and we will compile a program of teachings and practical sessions to impart knowledge and information to them as best as we can. During our interaction with clinicians and exhibitors, we initiated communication to work on ways of collaborating and setting up online learning opportunities for our SA members. We are working on ways to access more affordable online learning opportunities that exist already.
The take home is to connect with clinicians worldwide and to build bridges to become more a part of the greater community and, in that way, share information and experience. It is inspiring to bring back the new developments in technology that have been tried and tested and to become part of the research that is taking place in the field in order to show the efficacy of the modalities. In this way, we can all grow our understanding of how to best to serve our clients in their path of healing and the development of resilience.