Hello and introduction

As a new member to the University, I will be contributing to the Forensic Psychology Master. I have been in Groningen now for approximately 5 months and I love it here. I am enjoying the Dutch culture and I love the fact that everywhere is not that far away by bike. I must say though it was a daunting experience at first, as I had not realized how fast everyone rides – but I am getting the hang of it now.

Originally I come from Manchester (so I have a funny northern accent) but I obtained my PhD in forensic psychology from the University of Nottingham. I travelled quite a lot around the UK as a result of my work placements. Prior to moving to Groningen, I was working for two years as a psychologist with children who had various issues such as they had suffered sexual abuse, physical abuse, or emotional abuse. Many of them presented with anti-social and criminal behaviours as a result. I was responsible for conducting risk assessments with these children, completing case formulations and I also provided therapy with these children. It really was an excellent experience. Many of the children I will always remember, as my work with them reminds me of why I chose this specific career. I hoped to make a difference to people’s lives and to prevent early on individuals going on to engage in offending behaviour.

“Prior to moving to Groningen, I was working for two years as a psychologist with children who had various issues … Many of the children I will always remember”

In addition to the experience above, I previously also worked in a male prison with sex offenders and violent offenders. I was involved in conducting sex offender treatment group work and also violent offender treatment programmes. I found this very interesting but at the same time challenging at times as a result of some of the offenders’ cognitive distortions and also the dynamic of being a female therapist working within a male prison.

My other experience includes working in a female prison as I worked with women who had been diagnosed with a dangerous and severe personality disorder. I was trained in various risk assessments. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the women and I could really empathize with the fact that I was a woman and it was simply life choices which had led them to be where they were.

“my experience has been very much grounded in working with victims of domestic violence”

In addition to my experience in prisons, I worked in a hospital for learning disabled offenders and a hospital for mentally disordered offenders. I was able to see how different client groups require different treatment and assessment according to their needs.

Finally, my experience has been very much grounded in working with victims of domestic violence. I previously worked with women who had been experiencing domestic abuse. I came across many powerful women who were very inspiring in their stories and as a result I decided to focus my research in this area for my PhD. Specifically I researched victims’ reasons for staying and leaving their partners and on victims’ experiences and perceptions of disclosing to the health care service. I found this research very rewarding and I was inspired by many of the victims’ bravery. This has fuelled my desire to continue conducting research within this area.

“I hope to be able to contribute to the Master in Forensic Psychology program by helping the students provide a link between the theory of forensic psychology and the practice”

In my new role at the University, I hope to be able to contribute to the Master in Forensic Psychology program by helping the students provide a link between the theory of forensic psychology and the practice. I hope that my clinical experience will be valuable to the students here and I aim to help them in terms of reflecting on clinical skills and why they are important. I would like to use practical examples from my own practice and to share about my experience of working in forensic settings within the UK. At the same time, I hope to learn more about how forensic psychologists operate in the Netherlands and to learn more about the processes here so that I may develop myself personally gaining international experience.

If I can help with anything or if anything I have mentioned people have questions about, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to talk over coffee to discuss a topic or experience.

Everyone I have met so far has been so welcoming so I just want to personally Thank You all for welcoming me to the department and for being so warm. I am looking forward to working with you all and contributing to the department as well.

Note: Image by isobrown, licenced under CC BY 2.0

Dr Rebecca Heron is a Forensic Psychologist who gained her PhD at the University of Nottingham. Rebecca is now a teacher in the Forensic Psychology Master program who hopes to apply her practical experience to the students she works with.


Rebecca has extensive experience working with offenders and victims in the United Kingdom, with a background of working in prisons, mental hospitals and in the community. Rebecca’s research interests are concerned with victims of domestic violence; her PhD research was specialised in this area.


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