I am Dr Haley Peckham, neuroscientist, nurse, psychotherapist (in training) and a person who has used mental health services. I am an independent writer, speaker and scholar specialising in neuroplasticity: how experiences such as relational psychotherapy and complex trauma shape brains for better and and worse. Neuroplasticity offers a new perspective on the understanding and treatment of mental health issues. My unique perspective means I can speak to the suffering of those of us who have histories of complex trauma or who have mental health issues, as well as explain in a straightforward, understandable manner the many elegant and intricate neuroplastic mechanisms that exist in our brains to help us adapt the best we can to the experiences we have in our lives.
I completed my PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2016 where I researched an activity dependent mechanism of neuroplasticity. I am also a registered mental health nurse and a clinical educator and consumer academic at the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing at the University of Melbourne.
I am passionate about bringing an understanding of neuroplasticity to the field of mental health where I believe it will change the prevailing medical paradigm of diagnosis and pathology. The new paradigm of neuroplasticity is one where we fully appreciate that early experiences of relational trauma (including chronic invalidation, neglect and abuse) in infancy and childhood, biologically shape the brain and all neural systems defensively, to anticipate similar experiences. If we want to change what we anticipate in the world we may have to seek out reparative experiences, to give our brains and neural systems some new data to adapt to, and to anticipate a new future from.