Dr Marthinus Bekker

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) The Australian National University, Master of Science (Distinction), Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, University of Otago


I am a Clinical Psychologist and Research Fellow with a range of experience in both clinical work and research across a range of clinical, university, and private settings. Clinically, I currently work in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and I have worked in roles ranging from Pediatric and Child Adolescent & Family services, through to Inpatient and Forensic services. I am passionate about Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). My most recent research has focused on CBT with Children and Adolescents, Building resilience, and alternative delivery formats such as group and intensive delivery.

Research | Current

Cure Kids Parenting App Studies - The primary aim of this research program is to develop digital self-help programs for parents through mobile apps, to help them adopt positive parenting practices known to impact positively on children’s behavioural and emotional development. The focus is on preschool and early school-age children. 

The Play Kindly program is part of this research. It is a gamified animated app designed by a group of Pacific researchers and creative minds, to help parents respond appropriately and effectively to common problem behaviours in children. The interface is designed to appeal to Pacific peoples, a population group with a higher risk of behavioural problems in childhood and later life. It is the first app of its kind in New Zealand targeting a contemporary Pacific audience and using gamification to teach parenting strategies. It is an interactive, cross platform mobile game. It uses real life scenarios and teaches evidenced based behavioural strategies.

Areas of expertise

Clinical Psychology

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists MNZCCP

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Mairs, R. A., Bekker, M. J., Patolo, T., Hopkins, S. A., Cowley-Malcolm, E. T., Perese, L. M., ... Merry, S. N. (2020). Gamifying Parenting Education Using an App Developed for Pacific and Other New Zealand Families (Play Kindly): Qualitative Study. JMIR serious games, 8 (2)10.2196/15647
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sarah Hopkins, Sally Merry, Gerhard Sundborn
  • Slykerman, R. F., Budd, C., Thompson, J. M. D., Bekker, M., Buckley, J., Wall, C., ... Waldie, K. E. (2020). Physical Activity, Sleep, Body Mass Index, and Associated Risk of Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Childhood. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 41 (3), 187-194. 10.1097/dbp.0000000000000754
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Thompson, Rebecca Slykerman, Jude Buckley, Clare Wall, Ed Mitchell, Rinki Murphy, Karen Waldie
  • Bekker, M. J., Griffiths, K. M., & Barrett, P. M. (2017). Improving accessibility of cognitive behavioural therapy for children and adolescents: Review of evidence and future directions. Clinical Psychologist, 21 (3), 157-164. 10.1111/cp.12099
  • Bekker, M. J., Cumming, T. D., Osborne, N. K. P., Bruining, A. M., McClean, J. I., & Leland, L. S. (2010). Encouraging electricity savings in a university residential hall through a combination of feedback, visual prompts, and incentives. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 43 (2), 327-331. 10.1901/jaba.2010.43-327

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 3, Room 3003
New Zealand