Kaitlin Harkess

Ms Kaitlin Harkess

HDR Student

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.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2017 Clinical Lecturer The University of Adelaide
    2016 Psychologist SA Health
  • Education

    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
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    Psychologist (clinical psychology registrar) Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Research Interests


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