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Obituary: Brian Costello

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See the press release below, for some of the basics on this obituary.

I got to know Brain Costello in the early 1990's through the Brain/Mind forum on compuserve, founded by Thom Hartmann. Brian was an incredibly energetic Australian force of nature, inspired by and passionately working on new ideas and approaches to biofeedback, usually with his southern California colleague, Russ Cassell. It was very common to get an email blast from Brian, overflowing with new ideas, copied to dozens, all over the world, giving credit and kudos to many.

Brian, with Russ Cassell, developed one of the first biofeedback normative databases, aimed at using psychophysiological response patterns in response to images to predict occupational interest. This was one of many unique and creative projects he took to fruition, making them not only work, but working with schools and government in Australia.

I fondly remember walking along the beach in Key West with Brian, back around 1995 or '96, where he'd come to present on his work at my winter brain meeting. He was a man with a brilliant mind and a big heart. May he rest in peace-- and for him, that would only come with juggling a whole lot of projects in heaven.

UNIONDALE, NY, February 12, 2010 /Cambridge Who's Who/ -- Many contemporary scientists can lay claim to have made a truly international impact on their profession, but few have done so through as much adversity as Dr. Brian Costello. To those who knew him, Dr. Costello, who passed away in his native Australia last weekend, was not so much a pioneer of neuropsychology as he was a paragon of resilience; through battles with esophageal cancer, compression fractures and triple bypass surgery, he emerged to play an integral role in developments at the Cassel Research Centre. Determined to overcome every obstacle in his path, he forged ahead with his studies in computerized biofeedback and left behind him an indelible legacy as an educator, psychologist and researcher.

A close associate of Dr. Russell Cassel, Dr. Costello shared the esteemed psychology professor's desire to enable patients to gain agency over their natural physical processes. In a partnership that spanned four decades, the two researchers collaborated on more than 100 scholarly articles. These included: a field report and analysis entitled "Drug abuse and prevention in Hong Kong and the new territories of China," in Radar Research Establishment Journal in 1976; "Supportive collaborative psychotherapy for M.S. patients: Recent advances in NY and South Australia," presented at a convention of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 1980; "Assessing progress of two therapy sessions using Budzynski relaxation," in Journal of Instructional Psychology in 1988; "Computerized biofeedback -- An interface in medical psychology," an abstract from proceedings of the International Congress of Applied Psychology; "Neural dissonance profile guided imagery and biofeedback that serves as a focus for change," in the 1990 Australian Journal of Education; and "Integrative medicine - Non Invasive electrolysis post intensive chemotherapy for Cysplatin & Doxorubicin; Hand & Foot Syndrome neuropathology," published by the Cassel Research Centre in 2000.

Critical illness and the need for self-rejuvenation influenced Dr. Costello's last work, which incorporated contemporary approaches to applied stress reduction and pain control through the application of cutting-edge treatment and rehabilitation techniques that included parapsychology, biofeedback monitoring, guided imagery and non-hypnosis. Philosophically, he aligned himself with the idea that mankind's greatest enemy is man himself, a belief that underscored much of his studies in self-healing and rejuvenation. He averred, "...Pain itself may be the greatest teacher of attitudinal change, potentially replacing fear and greed stressors as unenviable motivators." It was through this specialized point of view that he was able to treat himself and others, stating, "Hopefully these new integrative approaches... may be controlled optimally by sharp psychophysiological techniques in individualized programs."

Lauded by colleagues in Australia and abroad, Dr. Costello was appointed chairman of the American Board of Psychological Specialties in 1999 and became a life fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners. Other professional affiliations included the American Psychotherapy Association, where he was a diplomate in neuropsychology, psychological impairment evaluation and rehabilitation, and the International Council of Integrative Medicine, which he served as chairman. As a national faculty and Australian distance learning coordinator for the United States Sports Academy, he was sought after for his expertise in augmented rehabilitation techniques.

Dr. Costello received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1982 from International College in Los Angeles after completing a post-graduate fellowship at the College of Preceptors (now the College of Teachers) in London. His thesis, "The Psychology of Special Education," earned him a distinction as a fellow of the College of Preceptors (FCP).

A member of Cambridge Who's Who since 2004, Dr. Costello was recently honored in its "Top 101 Industry Experts" book.

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One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them. I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in (more...)

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