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Staff Profile

Dr Gary Shepherd

Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Mental Health, Research Lead, Departmental REF Impact Case Study Co-Lead

A staff profile photo of Dr Gary Shepherd

Dip. Therapeutic Couns; MBA (Hull), MRes (Hull), PhD (Hull), FHEA

After studying for an MBA and then an MRes at Hull University I undertook a PhD in Management at the Hull University Business School. At the same time as my PhD study I also began counsellor training in the field of Transactional Analysis. After graduation I began working as a counsellor within the charity sector and developed and ran a novel male-focused anger management intervention. My research focus is on male suicide prevention and how male centric community groups can reduce suicide rates through challenging hegemonic masculinity.


I teach on the undergraduate Counselling and Mental Health programme where I have module lead responsibilities. The modules I teach include the Introduction to Reading, Writing and Research, Research Methods, Independent Research Project, Dissertation, Introduction to Professional Practice, Developing Professional Practice, Professional Identity and Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioural Approaches.

In my role I supervise a number of PhD students and from June to September I run a summer school programme where undergraduate, postgraduate and teaching colleagues have the opportunity to undertake a research project leading to academic publication. 


Currently I am Principal Investigator on an Institute of Social Justice funded £10,000 Communities Research Grant project. This research entitled ‘The Men’s suicide prevention impact and evaluation project’ explores the effectiveness of an online and offline support group catering for hegemonic men. This is a co-designed participatory research project which aims to identify best practice and inform the future development and growth of a male suicide prevention charity.

Publications and Conferences


Shepherd, G. (2023) Humanistic Person-Centred Set Facilitation. Action Learning: Research and Practice. (Accepted)

Shepherd, G., Astbury, E., Cooper, A., Dobrzynska, W,. Murphy, H,. Whitley, A. (2023) The challenges preventing men from seeking counselling or psychotherapy, Mental Health & Prevention, Vol. 31,

Shepherd, G. (2020) ‘Normally I'd get really agitated, but I just laughed!’: What do participants reflect upon on a Transactional Analysis/Mindfulness based anger management programme? British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 48 (4). pp. 537-551. 

Shepherd G,. Cant, M. (2020) Difficult to change? The differences between successful and not-so-successful participation on anger management groups. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 20 (2). pp. 214-223. 

Shepherd, G. (2019) An anger management programme as an action learning set. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 16 (3). pp. 256-265. 

Shepherd, G. (2017) ‘From where I'm looking it just seems like two people have missed the boat…’: Understanding set behaviour from a socioanalytic perspective. Educational Action Research, 26 (5). pp. 682-696. 

Shepherd, G. (2016) Developing Deep Group Reflection within a Critical Reflection Action Learning (CRAL) Set. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 13 (3). pp. 252-262. 

Shepherd, G. (2016) How a small family run business adopted Critical Reflection Action Learning using hand drawn images to initiate organisational change. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 13 (1). pp. 69-78.

Conference Presentations

Shepherd, G. (2023) How can set effectiveness be improved by incorporating Person-Centred theory? In: 8th International Action Learning Conference, 17-19th April 2023, York St John University.

Shepherd, G. (2019) Do therapists ever get lonely? In: Alone Together Symposium, 10th-12th April 2019, York St John University.