Belinda Siesmaa (nee Coulston) joined Canterbury Christ Church Universities Psychology Department in October 2016 as a Senior Lecturer. Belinda is a Chartered Forensic Psychologist in the UK (BPS and HCPC) and Registered Psychologist in Australia (AHPRA). Belinda is also a BPS Registered Supervisor for Forensic Psychologists in Training and a Committee Member for the DFP BPS Training Committee. For the past 14 years, Belinda has worked within applied clinical/forensic and academic environments.
Belinda commenced her psychology training in Melbourne, Australia, and was awarded a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) and Graduate Diploma of Psychology from Deakin University before working in community mental health. Following this, Belinda specialised in forensic psychology, where she has worked with varying offending populations in both community and prison settings. During this time Belinda completed her Masters of Criminology (Forensic Psychology) at Melbourne University.
Throughout her career, Belinda has contributed to the development and implementation of a variety of offending behaviour programs across probation, prison, community and mental health services, as well as being involved in the set up and implementation of a prison based therapeutic community in addition to delivering training in these areas. Belinda moved to England in 2007 to work with high risk personality disorder offenders in both prison and community settings, followed by working as a Senior Psychologist in a community DBT service. During her time in England, Belinda was also an honorary lecturer at a number of different English Universities.
In 2015, Belinda returned to work in Australia where she was a private contractor for the Victoria Police and Prison services, alongside being a therapist for a specialist Dialectical Behaviour Therapy service and Community Mental Health Service. In addition, Belinda also lectured at Monash University. In October 2016, Belinda returned to the UK and obtained her current job at CCCU.
Research and knowledge exchange
Belinda is currently researching the role of criminal narratives, schema modes and criminal thinking styles in relation to offending behaviour and psychiatric diagnosis.
Belinda’s other research interests include:
- Personality Disorder
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
- Female Offenders
- Domestic violence
- Schema therapy
- Criminal narratives
- Investigative Psychology and
- Criminality (e.g. offending behaviour, risk assessments, rehabilitation)
Teaching and subject expertise
Belinda’s skill sets include: Clinical Assessment and Case formulation, Forensic Risk Assessment (HCR-20, VRS, VRS:SO, PCL-R, Static-2000, RM2000(S/V/C)), Schema Informed Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Personality Disorder and assessments (SCID-II and IPDE), Mental Health (Axis I and Axis II disorders), Offending Behaviour (violent, sexual and general offending) alongside providing a range of group therapies.
Belinda is currently in the process of a developing an MSc Forensic and Investigative Psychology, alongside being the Module Convenor for the BSc Psychology third year Applied Psychology module and Co-convenor for the second year Forensic and Investigative Psychology, alongside contributing to the MSc Conversion course and being a research supervisor and personal tutor.
Siesmaa, B. (2014, 2015, & 2016). Guest Lecture: Careers in Forensic Psychology. Goldsmiths University, New Cross, England.
Russell, S., & Coulston, B. (April, 2014). Poster: The Experiences of Forensic Males in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (Forensic Version): A Qualitative Exploratory Study. 11th National Conference Research in Forensic Mental Health Services. Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. London, England.
Bruce, M., & Coulston, B (February, 2014). Symposium:A New Pathway for Community Forensic Personality Disorder Services (3 papers). 15th Annual Conference-British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder (BIGSPD). Lincoln, England.
Kerr, R., Bruce, M., Sonigra, K., Russell, S., Coulston, B., Brennan, F. (February, 2013) Symposium: Engaging non-engagers: transforming the landscape of "treatment" for violent offenders'. 14th Annual Conference - British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder (BIGSPD). Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Siesmaa, B. (April, 2012). Presentation: The Schema Modes and Criminal Thinking Styles of Mentally Disordered Offenders. European Association of Psychology and Law (April, 2012). Nicosia, Cyprus.
Spruin, E. & Siesmaa, B. (April, 2012) Presentation: Deconstructing the personal narrative through offending behaviour and interpersonal style. In: The Annual Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL). Nicosia, Cyprus.
Siesmaa, B. (March, 2012). Guest Lecture: Introduction to Forensic Risk Assessment. The University of Huddersfield. England.
Siesmaa, B., & Spruin, E. (June 2011). Presentation: Unlocking the minds of offenders: Deconstructing offenders through understanding their personal narrative. The Stockholm Criminology Symposium. Stockholm, Sweden.
Publications and research outputs
Spruin. E., & Siesmaa, B. (2017). The Emotional Experience of Mentally Disordered Offenders: An Exploratory Study Using Smallest Space Analysis (SSA). Journal of Forensic Psychology: Research and Practice.
Russell, S. & Siesmaa, B. (2017). The Experience of Forensic Males in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. A qualitative exploratory study. Journal of Forensic Practice, 19, 1, 47-58.
Spruin, E., & Siesmaa.B. (2016). The Criminal Experience of Mentally Disordered Offenders (Chapter 2). In L Sher & J. Merrick, Crime and Criminal Behaviour. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Harvey, J. & Coulston, B. (2015). Mental Health and the Criminal Justice Setting: the role of the applied psychologist (Chapter 2). In Jones, P. Interventions in Criminal Justice. Pavilion Publishing and Media.
Spruin, E., Canter, D., Youngs, D., & Coulston, B. (2014). Criminal Narratives of Mentally Disordered Offenders: An exploratory study. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 14, 438-455.
Bruce, M., Crowley, S., Jeffcote, N. & Coulston, B. (2014). Community DSPD Pilot Services in South London: Rates of Reconviction and impact of supported housing on reducing recidivism. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 24, 129-140.