Dr Kirsten van Kessel

Senior Lecturer

Phone: 921 9999 ext. 7691

Email: kvankess@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
AUT University
North Shore Campus, Rm AR219
90 Akoranga Drive
Northcote, Auckland
New Zealand

Postal Address:
AUT University
AUT North Shore Campus
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand


PhD (Auckland University)
Post Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Massey University)
Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology (Auckland University)
MA (Auckland University)
BA (Auckland University)

Memberships and Affiliations:

Registered Psychologist in the Clinical Psychologist Scope of Practice (New Zealand)
Member of New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists
Member of Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapies
Member of American Psychological Association


Kirsten is a clinical psychologist with 25 years of clinical experience and supervision in a range of settings. These have included adult community and in-patient mental health services, physical health settings, alcohol and drug services, a specialist cognitive behaviour therapy service and private practice.  Kirsten joined AUT University as staff member in 2012. Prior to that, she worked in the Psychology Department and the Department of Psychological Medicine at Auckland University. Kirsten has particular expertise and interest in cognitive behaviour therapy and its application to mental and physical health problems.

Teaching Areas:

Psychological Theory and Practice (Honours)
Psychological Assessment and Diagnosis (Masters)

Research Areas:

Clinical intervention trials
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Mental health
Physical health

Research Summary:

My research programme has predominantly focused on health psychology and intervention trials, with a particular interest in cognitive behaviour therapy and more recently technology based interventions. My doctoral dissertation was a randomised controlled trial to assess the efficacy of cognitive behaviour therapy for people with multiple sclerosis fatigue. I was the Principal Investigator on a New Zealand pilot study of a web based interactive self-management programme for the treatment of multiple sclerosis fatigue, and am the project lead of an international team  that developed a mobile application for the same target group.

My other research interests include the implementation and evaluation of sensory modulation interventions in mental health settings, the development and evaluation of eHealth interventions, and the integration of technology into clinical practice. My research supervision has included honours, masters and doctoral research projects involving both quantitative and qualitative data analysis.


van Kessel, Babbage, Reay, Miner-Williams & Kersten (2017). Mobile Phone Technology Use by People Experiencing Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue: Survey Methodology. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth,; 5(2):e6 DOI: 10.2196/mhealth.6192

Watson and van Kessel (2016). Cancer Survivors’ Experiences and Explanations of Post-Cancer Fatigue: An Analysis of Online Blogs. Cancer Nursing Journal. DOI 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000460

van Kessel K, Krägeloh C, Babbage, D (2016). eTherapy and Psychological Practice. In W. Waitoki, J.Feather, N. Robertson & J Rucklidge J (Eds). Professional Practice of Psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand (3rd edition).

van Kessel K., Wouldes, T., Moss-Morris, R. (2015). A New Zealand pilot randomised controlled trial of a web based interactive self-management programme (MS Invigor8) with and without email support for the treatment of multiple sclerosis fatigue. Clinical Rehabilitation, 1-9, DOI 10.1177/0269215515584800

D’Silva, S. & van Kessel, K. (2014).An Evaluation of the Quality and Content of Web Sites on Cancer Related Fatigue, Journal of Consumer Health On the Internet, 18:4, 313-336, DOI: 10.1080/15398285.2014.952997

Wills C., & van Kessel K. (2014). Causal Beliefs of People Who Identify as Having Borderline Personality Disorder: An Analysis of ‘Self-Narrative’ Blogs on the Internet (2014). Journal of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists, 24(1), 35-43.

Wilson, M., Sutton D, van Kessel K, Vanderpyl J (2013). Optimizing arousal to manage aggression: A pilot study of sensory modulation.
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, published online Feb 2013.

van Kessel, K., Myers, E., Stanley, S., & Reed, P.W. (2012). Trends in child and adolescent discharges at a New Zealand psychiatric inpatient unit between 1998 and 2007. New Zealand Medical Journal, 125 (1355), 55-61.

van Kessel, K., Milne, D., Hunt, K., & Reed, P.W. (2012). Understanding inpatient violence in a New Zealand child and adolescent psychiatric setting. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 21, 320-329.

Moss-Morris, R., McCrone, P., Yardley, L., van Kessel, K., Wills, G., Dennison, L. (2012). A pilot randomised controlled trial of an Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy self-management programme (MS Invigor8) for multiple sclerosis fatigue. Behaviour Research and Therapy 50 (2012), pp. 415-421.

Knoop, H., van Kessel, K. and Moss-Morris, R. (2012) Which cognitions and behaviours mediate the positive effect of cognitive behaviour therapy on fatigue in patients with Multiple Sclerosis? Psychological Medicine, 42 (1), 205-214, 2012.

Moss-Morris, R, Witt, E. & van Kessel, K. Multiple sclerosis. In S. Ayres, A. Baum, C. McManus, S. Newman, K. Wallston, J. Weinman, & R. West (Eds.), 2007. Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health, and Medicine (2nd Edition). Cambridge University Press.

van Kessel K., Moss-Morris, R., Willoughby, E., Chalder, T., Johnson, M.H., Robinson, E. (2008). A randomized controlled trial of cognitive behaviour therapy for multiple sclerosis fatigue. Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 70, 205-213.

van Kessel K., Moss-Morris, R. (2006). Understanding multiple sclerosis fatigue: A synthesis of biological and psychological factors. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 61 (5), 583-585.

Stenhouse, L. & van Kessel, K. (2002). Cognitive Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: An integrative approach to the conceptualisation of Borderline personality disorder. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 31 (2).

van Kessel, K., Lambie, I. & Stewart, M. (2002). The impact of brief planned admissions on inpatient mental health utilization for people with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 31(2).