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Tyson Sawchuk


Paediatric Clinical Psychologist

(403) 955-7967

Alberta Children's Hospital
C1-462, 2888 Shaganappi Trail, NW
Calgary, AB T3B 6A8


Research Interests and Projects:

Tyson's current research interests tie in closely with the clinical practice he performs in Pediatric Neurosciences at Alberta Children's Hospital (ACH). Specifically these are functional neurological
(conversion) disorders in children and behavioral treatments for pediatric migraine/post-traumatic headache. His primary research and clinical interest lies in psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) in children.

Inpatient and outpatient referrals received by Neurosciences for psychological assessment and treatment of PNES and conversion disorders at ACH are common and frequent. They most often present as complex and highly involved cases requiring the input of multiple disciplines during diagnosis (e.g. neurologist, psychologist and/or psychiatrist, nursing & diagnostic imaging staff). Though many will resolve spontaneously following patient education there are also a persistent number of patients who will require ongoing care and follow-up with a mental health professional. While many recent advances have been made in the understanding of conversion disorder through scholarly investigation (most notably around fMRI and CT studies of patients with conversion disorder), very little is known or established around psychological characteristics of these patients, despite the fact conversion disorders are, by their nature & categorization, mental disorders. While there is a lack of "gold standard" of care around conversion disorder, there is an even greater paucity of understanding around diagnosis, management and care in cases of pediatric conversion disorder. Tyson's current work focuses on personality characteristics of children and youth who present with conversion symptoms and their treatment.

Current projects include the development of diagnostic and care pathways for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) within the newly developed Children's Comprehensive Epilepsy Centre at ACH. He is also co-author of a book chapter pertaining to development of care models for children and adults with PNES, to be published in late 2016. He currently serves on the PNES pediatric task force of the American Epilepsy Society, dedicated to improving care and quality of life in children with PNES. Tyson is the discipline lead for biofeedback at ACH, where he has developed novel psychophysiology and cognitive behavioral interventions for assessing and treating persistent headache in children and youth.

Research Activities: 

Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures (PNES) in childhood

Other Area(s) of Research: 

Behavioural treatments for pediatric migraine & post-traumatic headache


Recent Publications (Updated May 2016)

  • M.Sc. (Master of Science)