Tackling compulsive behaviours with a playground for the brain: building BrainPark

BrainPark® - where science meets technology, treatment, lifestyle and art – in one space.

Monash University’s newly opened BrainPark will transform the way compulsive behaviours are experienced, diagnosed and treated with a new therapeutic approach combining lifestyle and technology-based interventions.

Australians have some of the highest rates of addiction and compulsive disorders in the world, yet most don’t seek treatment, and those who do typically relapse.

Part of the problem with conventional treatments is they don’t utlise the latest knowledge in brain sciences to address the brain systems that drive the behaviour, focussing more on the substance or behaviour itself – such as alcohol, smoking or gambling.

Monash University’s BrainPark is the first purpose-built research facility in the world to take alternative approaches to treating compulsive behaviours like OCD and addiction.

BrainPark will focus on modifying the underlying neurological, psychological and environmental drivers of compulsive behaviours.

BrainPark’s research programs will develop accessible lifestyle and technology-based interventions across five key activities, each chosen for their strong therapeutic potential and accessibility:

  • Therapeutic virtual reality
  • Physical exercise
  • Meditation
  • Brain stimulation
  • Cognitive training

BrainPark’s world-leading scientists and health professionals together with the facility’s co-location with state-of-the-art Monash Biomedical Imaging facilities will enable seamless integration of brain science and imaging to determine how these interventions change the brain, and for whom they are most effective.

BrainPark Director, Professor Murat Yücel, said the facility will bring transformational changes to how addictions and compulsive disorders are experienced, diagnosed and treated.

“We’ll use neuroscience to create healthy habits, brains and lifestyles, with a focus very much on empowerment and wellness, not just illness."

“These integrated interventions are expected to break the cycle of addiction and compulsive disorders and fast-track psychological outcomes in a way that has never been possible before.”

BrainPark is a result of the philanthropic investment of the David Winston Turner Endowment Fund, and the support of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences and Monash Biomedical Imaging.

Read more about the David Winston Turner Research Clinic on Monash Lens