Dr Margaret Sealey
BPsych(Hons), PhD

Lecturer

About me

I am a counsellor who has worked with vulnerable populations in health settings (palliative care and oncology in particular) for 20 years. With a previous background as a registered nurse, I undertook postgraduate studies in Counselling (University of Notre Dame Fremantle), and graduated with a B Psych (Hons) at Murdoch University, before entering the Master in Counselling Psychology PhD combined program at Curtin University. My PhD research was ‘Developing a bereavement risk assessment model for palliative care in Western Australia: An action research study.’ I also work part-time as a counsellor with Alzheimer’s Australia WA.

Teaching area

I am a lecturer in the Discipline of Counselling. I coordinate and teach the following units: CSL566 (Case conceptualization & assessment in counselling); CSL581 (Experiential learning in group counselling); and CSL583 (Counselling adults).

Research areas

My ongoing research interests centre on dementia, particularly in relation to carer counselling needs and the efficacy of counselling. I am interested in the psychological, social and spiritual impact of life-limiting illness on both patients and their family carers, particularly in relation to coping with end-of-life and bereavement. Grief, loss and bereavement care is an area that requires a great deal more research. The impact to health professionals who care for these vulnerable populations is also of interest in terms of burnout and compassion fatigue, and ways in which these can be minimized and lead to improved health and occupational outcomes. Social attitudes to death dying, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide is also an area of interest and is in need of more research.

Current projects

My PhD study used action research methodology to work collaboratively with palliative care stakeholders to develop a bereavement risk assessment model for clinical use in palliative care. Following a scoping review of the literature to identify existing grief measures, I developed a new brief grief measure suitable for multidisciplinary team member use. This was piloted at three palliative care services in WA and shows promise for use in risk assessment.

Events and speaking engagements

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M .  (2015 September)  Platform presentation, “Bereavement risk assessment in palliative care: The development of a brief grief measure to screen for carers who may be at risk of complex grief.” 13th Australian Palliative Care Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M.   (2015 August) Platform presentation “Bereavement: Why identify those at risk of prolonged/complicated grief?” Royal Perth Hospital Annual Palliative Care Study Day, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M. (2015 July) Platform presentation:  “Developing a bereavement risk assessment model for palliative care in Western Australia: An action research study.” Curtin University Denis Glencross Student Seminar, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M. & Humphries, G. (2015, April) Poster presentation “Transition from home to residential care for people living with dementia: A pilot study.” 30th Annual International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International (Care, Cure and the dementia experience- A global challenge) Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M. (2015, April) Poster presentation “Ambiguous loss: Challenging the worldview of people living with dementia.”  30th Annual International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International (Care, Cure and the dementia experience- A global challenge) Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M. (2015 February)  Platform symposium presentation: “Beyond Life-limiting Illness: Bereavement risk assessment in palliative care.” Australasian Society of Behavioural Health & Medicine, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., Aoun, S.M., O’Connor, M., & Breen, L.J. (2014, November) Platform presentation: “Developing a bereavement risk assessment model for palliative care” Curtin University School of Nursing & Midwifery Research Week, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M. (2014, October) Poster presentation “Existing measures in the changing landscape of grief” Palliative Care WA State Conference, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M. (2014, September) Platform presentation “Bereavement risk assessment in palliative care” Western Australian Psycho-Oncology Group (WACOG) Research Symposium, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M.  (2014 June) Platform presentation (Best abstract award) “Bereavement risk assessment in palliative care: Existing measures in the changing landscape of grief.” 10th International Conference on Grief & Bereavement in Contemporary Society (East Meets West: Expanding frontiers and diversity) Hong Kong, China.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M.  (2014 March) Platform presentation “Bereavement risk assessment: Where theory meets practice.” Australian Centre for Grief & Bereavement Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M.  (2013 August) “Developing a bereavement risk assessment model for palliative care in Western Australia: An action research study.” Curtin University Denis Glencross Student Seminar, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Breen, L.J., Aoun, S.M. (2012 October) Platform presentation “Thinking outside the box on bereavement risk assessment: A review of instruments and proposal of bereavement framework.” Palliative Care WA State Conference, Perth, Australia.

Sealey, M. (2010).“Euthanasia and MND: A case study” Motor Neurone Disease Association Australia conference, Sydney.  Platform presentation: July 2010.

Sealey, M. (2009).“Non-malignant palliative care.”  Palliative Care Australia Conference 2009 combined with 10th Asia Pacific Palliative Care Network and 9th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference, Perth.  Platform presentation: Pre-conference Masterclass: September 2009.

Sealey, M. (2009). “Providing care and advocacy to clients when it is against the law: euthanasia and MND.”  Palliative Care Australia Conference 2009 combined with 10th Asia Pacific Palliative Care Network and 9th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference, Perth. Poster presentation: September 2009.

 

 

Professional and community service

I have regularly volunteered with Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDAWA) to provide complementary therapies for patients and carers.

I have also participated as a member of the executive committee for Palliative Care WA.

Publications

Sealey, M., Breen, L.J., O’Connor, M., & Aoun, S. M. (2015). A scoping review of bereavement risk assessment measures: Implications for palliative care. Palliative Medicine, 29(7), 577-589. doi: 10.1177/0269216315576262

Sealey, M., O’Connor, M., Aoun, S.M., & Breen, L.J.(2015). Exploring barriers to  assessment of bereavement risk in palliative care: perspectives of key stakeholders. BMC Palliative Care, 14(49), 1-12. doi: 10.1186/s12904-015-0046-7