Dr Brenda Bentley
BA, MPA, MA, PhD

Senior Lecturer

About me

I am a registered clinical counsellor who has worked in palliative care settings in the US and Australia since 2009.  My research focuses on improving care for people diagnosed with life-limiting conditions, and improving mental health and well-being at the end of life.  I have specific expertise in working with people who have motor neurone disease, and in an end-of-life psychotherapy called Dignity Therapy.  My specialist expertise in Dignity Therapy includes the facilitation of training workshops and providing supervision for Dignity Therapists and others working with dying people and their families.

My current research explores the feasibility of an online psychotherapy for palliative care patients in Australia.  I am also involved in a project which is evaluating optimal ways to provide community nursing services for neurological patients in Western Australia.

 

Teaching area

I coordinate, teach and tutor for the 6 credit point foundation unit for all postgraduate courses, CSL 582 Principles of Counselling 1.  This unit is offered on South Street in Semester 1, and in Mandurah in Semester 2.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (UK), and a founding Fellow of Murdoch’s Learning Excellence Academy (LEAD).

Teaching and Learning Research and Scholarship

2017, Co-Presenter, “Leading the Way: developing an advanced programme for leadership in learning and teaching.” WA Teaching and Learning Forum 2017, Curtin University, Western Australia.

2016, Presenter, “Incorporating peer- assessment and self-assessment into the foundation unit for postgraduate counselling courses.” Rapid Fire Presentation, The Conversation: Learning and Teaching Showcase, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia

2016, Co-Investigator, “Leading the Way:  Developing an advanced programme for leadership in learning and teaching scholarship.”  $6,000 WAND small grant

Awards and grants

Grants

2016, Co-investigator, “Developing a best practice community nursing model for neurological care for metropolitan Perth, Western Australia” $270,000 Neurological Council of WA

2015, Chief Investigator, “Delivery of dignity therapy using e-health: A feasibility study.” $15,000 Murdoch University Small Grant

2012-2014, Lead Investigator,The end of life experience of people with MND compared to those with cancer:  Family carers’ perspectives” $19,770 CaPCREU small grant

Awards

2015 Nina Buscombe Award

2013 Nina Buscombe Award

 

Events and speaking engagements

Media

“Impact of dignity therapy on MND family carers,” Curtin FM, 5 May 2014

“The end of life experience of people with MND,” Health Professional Radio, 29 April 2014

“Impact of dignity therapy on MND family carers,” Health Professional Radio, 29 April 2014

“Finding the meaning of life,” West Australian, Health Section, p. 3, 16 October 2013

“A dignified approach,” Health at Curtin, Vol. 5, p. 25, 2012

Conference Presentations 

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M. & Breen, L. (2017 July). “Counselling People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.” 5th Worldwide Nursing Conference, Singapore

Bentley, B. (2017 April)Storytelling at the end of life: Narratives of people facing death.” ADEC 39th Annual Conference, Portland, OR, USA

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M. & Breen, L. (2017 April) “Providing psychosocial care to people with severe physical symptoms.”  ADEC 39th Annual Conference, Portland, OR, USA

Bentley L., & Bentley, B. (2016 November) “Advanced care planning in California: Organisational and consumer experiences using the POLST.” Palliative Care WA State Conference 2016

Bentley B., (2016 November) “Good Grief! Towards evidence-informed practice and practice-informed research” Invited panel member at pre-conference symposium, Palliative Care WA State Conference 2016.

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., Breen, L., Kane, R. & Moorin, R. (2015 November) Delivery of dignity therapy using e-health: A feasibility study, Oral Presentation, WA Psycho-oncology Research Symposium, Perth, Australia

Bentley, B. (2015 September) Dignity Therapy: a brief psychotherapy for dying patients and their families. Oral Presentation, Oral History Australia National Biennial Conference, Perth, Australia

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M. & Breen, L. (2015 February) Dignity therapy for people with motor neurone disease, Oral Presentation, Australasian Society for Behavioural Health and Medicine, Annual Scientific Meeting, Perth, Australia

Bentley, B, O’Connor, M. & Edis, R. (2014 December) The end of life experiences of people with motor neurone disease compared to people with cancer: Family carers perspectives, Oral Presentation, Allied Professional Forum, Intl ALS/MND Symposium,   Brussels, Belgium

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., & Breen, L. (2013 December) Dignity Therapy: A psychotherapeutic intervention to enhance the end of life experience for people with Motor Neurone Disease and their family carers. Platform presentation, International ALS/MND Symposium, Milan, Italy

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., & Edis, R. (2013 December) The end of life experience of people with MND compared to those with cancer: Family carers’ perspectives. Poster presentation, International ALS/MND Symposium, Milan, Italy

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., & Edis, R. (2013 November) The end-of-life experience of people with MND compared to those with cancer: Family carers’ perspectives, Poster
Presentation, MND Australia Research Meeting, Sydney, Australia

Bentley, B., Aoun, S., O’Connor, M., Breen, L. & Chochinov HM (2013 October) Dignity
Therapy: a brief psychotherapy for dying 
patients and their families. “How to” session, Australian Psychological Society Annual Conference, Cairns, Australia

Bentley, B., Aoun, S., O’Connor, M., Breen, L. & Chochinov HM (2013 September) Dignity Therapy: a brief psychotherapy for dying  patients and their families. Workshop
session, Australian Palliative Care Conference, Canberra, Australia

Bentley, B., Aoun, S., O’Connor, M., Breen, L. & Chochinov HM  (2012 October) Workshop on dignity therapy’s ability to enhance the end of life; case examples from the dignity therapy/motor neurone disease study, WA Palliative Care Conf, Perth, Australia.

Bentley, B., Aoun, S., O’Connor, M., Breen, L. & Chochinov HM  (2012 September) Dignity therapy’s ability  to effect change in patients and family: preliminary results from the Dignity Therapy/Motor Neurone  Disease study. Australian Psychological Society Annual Conference, Perth, Australia.

Bentley, B., Aoun, S., O’Connor, M., Breen, L. & Chochinov HM  (2012 September) Dignity therapy’s ability to enhance the end of life for people with MND and their families; preliminary results from the dignity therapy/motor neurone disease study, National MND Conference, Adelaide, Australia.

Professional and community service

Workshops for Professionals

I have been invited to help organise and present at several continuing education/professional development workshops on dignity therapy and end-of-life care for people with motor neurone disease.  These opportunities have helped to solidify my reputation as an expert in my field, and to connect and network with other professionals.   

  • 2017, Curriculum developer and facilitator, 2017 Australian Dignity Therapy Training Workshop, 2 ½ day training short course, Murdoch University
  • 2016, Workshop Facilitator, Dignity therapy: From research to practice, PACFA West PD Day –From Research to Practice, Perth, Australia
  • 2013, Facilitator of a “How to” session, Dignity therapy: a brief psychotherapy to benefit dying patients and their families, Australian Psychological Society Annual Conference, Cairns, Australia.
  • 2013, Workshop Facilitator, Dignity therapy: a brief psychotherapy to benefit dying patients and their families, Australian Palliative Care Conference, Canberra, Australia.
  • 2013, Co-facilitator, A Palliative Approach to Caring for People with MND, Cancer Council, Perth, WA
  • 2012, Facilitator of workshop session, Workshop on dignity therapy’s ability to enhance the end of life for people; case examples from the dignity therapy/motor neurone disease study, WA Palliative Care Conference, Perth, Australia.
  • 2012, Co-facilitator, Dignity Therapy Training Workshop with Harvey Chochinov, WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care, Perth, WA
  • 2012, Co-facilitator, MND Care Workshop for Regional Providers, MND Association of WA, Bunbury, WA

Community Engagement

I have been an invited speaker at many community meetings, including:

  • 2018, Invited Presenter, Glyde-In Community Services, North Fremantle, WA
  • 2016, Panel Presenter, WAAMH Careers Evening, Perth, WA
  • 2016, Presenter, Forum on Developing a Best Practice Community Nurse Model for Neurological Care for Metropolitan Perth
  • 2015, Presenter, Nurse Education Forum, Neurological Council of WA
  • 2014, Presenter, Member Meeting, Oral History Association of WA
  • 2013, Presenter, Member Meeting, WA Psycho-oncology Journal Club
  • 2012, Presenter, Member Meeting, San Francisco Network for End-of Life Care
  • 2012, Presenter, MND Workshop-Bunbury, MND Association of WA
  • 2012, Presenter, Carers Lunch, MND Association of WA

Doctoral and masters supervisions

  • Current PhD Supervision for Kathy McCoy:  “Evaluating a generic neurological service model to meet the needs of the neurological community of Western Australia.”
  • Current Masters HDR Supervision for Chelsey Phillips: “Counterbalancing quality-of-life and end-of-life perceptions of older individuals in Western Australia.”

Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., Shaw, J. & Breen, L. (2017) “A Narrative Review of Dignity Therapy Research.”  Australian Psychologist, 52(5), 354-362.

Peranovich, T., & Bentley, B. (2016) “Men and menstruation: a qualitative exploration of beliefs, attitudes and experiences.” Sex Roles, 1-12  doi 10.1007/s11199-016-0701-3

Bentley, B. & O’Connor, M.  (2016) “The end of life experiences of people with motor neurone disease: Family carers’ perspectives.” Journal of Palliative Medicine 19(8) 857-862

Bentley, B. & M. O’Connor (2015) “Conducting research interviews with bereaved family carers: When do we ask?” Journal of Palliative Medicine 18(3) 241-245

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., Kane, R.,& Breen, L.J. (2014) “Feasibility, acceptability, and potential effectiveness of dignity therapy for people with motor neurone disease.” PLoS ONE 9(5)

Bentley, B., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J. & Kane, R. (2014) “Feasibility, acceptability, and potential effectiveness of dignity therapy for family carers of people with motor neurone  disease.” BMC Palliative Care 13:12

Aoun, S, Bentley, B., Funk, L., Toye, C., Grande, G., Stajduhar, K. (2013) “A 10-year literature review of family caregiving for motor neurone disease: moving from caregiver burden studies to palliative care interventions,” Palliative Medicine, 27(5): 437-446

Bentley, B., Aoun., S., O’Connor, M.,Breen, L. & Chochinov, HM (2012) “Is dignity therapy feasible to enhance the end of life experience for people with motor neurone disease and their family carers?” BMC Palliative Care, 11(1):18

 

Refereed Conference Proceedings, Full Paper

1.  Bentley, B., O’Connor, M. & Breen, L. (2017 July). “Counselling People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.” In Annual International Conference Proceedings. Paper presented at 5th Worldwide Nursing Conference, pp. 286-292.  Singapore: Global Science and Technology Forum.  doi:10.5176/2315-4330_WNC17.131

Non-refereed Publications

Bentley, B., (2012) “It Takes the Time that it Takes” Journal of Palliative Medicine 15:8, p 949-50