School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
I am interested in examining the practical psychotherapeutic benefits of a yoga practice, as well as biological mechanisms of its effect, with a particular focus on yoga’s comprehensive ability to fight stress. In my current research I am seeking to elucidate the mechanism through which the practice of yoga exerts both psychological and biological benefits. This falls under the broad field of Psychoneuroimmunology, where the relationship between a person’s psychological state, their nervous and immune systems, is examined. In addition, I am examining the effect of a yoga practice on epigenetic, genetic and gene expression factors.
Investigation in this area is important as the practice of yoga is becoming increasingly more mainstream. Previous research has suggested yoga is efficacious in improving psychological well-being and enhancing immune function, in addition to increasing strength, flexibility and balance, yet the field has been plagued by methodological problems, such as a lack of control groups. Further scientific investigation of the benefits of yoga as a form of mindfulness psychotherapy are needed to develop a strong body of evidence supporting the practical application of yoga as an effective contemporary psychotherapy in clinical psychology.
Date Position Institution name 2017 Clinical Lecturer The University of Adelaide 2016 Psychologist SA Health
Date Institution name Country Title 2016 The University of Adelaide Australia DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY/MASTER OF PSYCHOLOGY (CLINICAL) CANDIDATE 2011 The University of Adelaide Australia BACHELOR OF HEALTH SCIENCES, FIRST CLASS HONOURS 2010 The University of Adelaide Australia GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES 2008 The University of Victoria Canada BACHELOR OF ARTS, MAJOR IN PHILOSOPHY/MINOR IN COMPARATIVE RELIGION
Date Title Institution name Country — Psychologist (clinical psychology registrar) Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) —
Year Citation 2017 Harkess, K., Delfabbro, P., Mortimer, J., Cohen-Woods, S., & Hannaford, Z. (2017). Brief Report on the Psychophysiological Effects of a Yoga Intervention for Chronic Stress: Preliminary Findings. Journal of Psychophysiology, 31(1), 38-48.
DOI Scopus5 WoS5
2016 Harkess, K., Ryan, J., Delfabbro, P., & Cohen-Woods, S. (2016). Preliminary indications of the effect of a brief yoga intervention on markers of inflammation and DNA methylation in chronically stressed women.. Transl Psychiatry, 6(11), 1-9.
DOI Scopus9 WoS11 Europe PMC5
2016 Harkess, K., Delfabbro, P., & Cohen-Woods, S. (2016). The longitudinal mental health benefits of a yoga intervention in women experiencing chronic stress: A clinical trial. Cogent Psychology, 3(1), 17 pages.
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