Sean Cowlishaw


Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Sean is an Associate Professor in the Monash School of Psychological Sciences, and an Impact Fellow with the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health. He is also a member of the Scholarly Leaders Groups of the Community of Scholars network of the Safer Families Centre for Research Excellence at the University of Melbourne. 

Sean has previously held positions with the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne (2017-23), and in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol in the UK (2014-17). 

He has primary research expertise across areas of trauma and adversity, violence, and addictive behaviours. Sean has developed a broad portfolio of translational work that has been based on strong relationships with policy makers and research end users, as well as funding derived from philanthropic organisations and government departments, such as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and Victorian Department of Health, in addition to Category 1 funding from the NHMRC and ARC.

He has led Australian-first projects addressing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) use and exposure in military and veteran populations, and is the lead author on the special section on victim-survivors of IPV in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Complex PTSD. 

Sean has also lead projects involving the design and implementation of outcome monitoring systems in trauma-focussed mental health services for veterans and police officers, as well as mental health and wellbeing surveys for first responders and other trauma exposed populations.

He has worked extensively in the area of disaster mental health, across quantitative and qualitative projects following major bushfires, earthquakes, and co-occurring disasters (including the pandemic), and in relation to early mental health intervention approaches in disaster contexts.

His work in the area of addictive behaviours has focused primarily on gambling problems and harms, and has addressed topics including links with trauma, indiviudal and service-level intervention approaches, and public health responses including risks associated with activities of the commercial gambling industry. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, PhD, Emergency service volunteering and family life: Integrating models of work-family conflict and stress crossover in the volunteer emergency services. , La Trobe University


Award Date: 22 Oct 2009

Psychology, Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Swinburne University of Technology


Psychology, Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)


External positions

Senior Research Fellow - Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne


Research Fellow, University of Bristol


Lecturer, Lancaster University


Research area keywords

  • Trauma
  • Family Violence
  • Veterans and military health
  • Addiction
  • Gambling
  • Disaster
  • Emergency services

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or