I live in a small house in Pacific Palisades, just north of Santa Monica. My wife, Debra and I get to walk along the bluffs overlooking the ocean every day, and the beauty of it continually astonishes us. It also connects me with my childhood growing up on the Jersey shore.
Prior to becoming a professor, I worked in the entertainment industry, primarily writing children’s animation screenplays (most notably, for the show, “Doug.”). I also have an M.S. in Film and studied theater acting and directing in New York City. In addition to my work as a professor, I am a clinician in private practice in West Los Angeles, where I specialize in working with couples, and women and men on relationship issues and mood disorders.
My current passion is playing the electric guitar (a Strat, if you are into guitars), which I took up in 2010 on a whim, and have remained committed to, since. My other interests are eating foods from different countries, eating foods in different countries, and driving with my wife to places to we’ve never been before.
I teach couples counseling; the class in basic counseling skills; theories of counseling; and beginning and advanced practicum. The core of my teaching philosophy is that I see myself also as a student, continually engaged in the process of studying and reflecting on the field of counseling. I believe being a counselor is a life-long journey of honest self-reflection and growth. I also believe there are no right answers or right ways of doing things in the field of counseling; that just because I am a teacher, I do not have a hold on truth when it comes to dealing with human beings.
Early in my career, my primary interest was in the study of counseling men, and my research was in the areas of men and depression and the relationship of male development to emotional well-being. While I still write on these subjects, my research has recently become more focused on engaging men in couples counseling. Males are notoriously ambivalent about coming for couples work, for good reason; talking about feelings, examining the intricacies of relationships, and admitting the need for help are all contrary to traditional definitions of masculinity. Yet, I have found men yearn for connection with the same intensity as women, and, when the counselor values men’s strengths and empathizes with their struggles, men will participate with the same level of commitment as their partners.
I am delighted to be a co-director (with department colleagues Rebekah Smart and Matt Englar-Carlson) of the Center for Boys and Men: Research and Outreach. The Center facilitates the production of new research, aggregates current work, and disseminates information on helping boys and men to the mental health community in Southern California via trainings and conferences.
Shepard, D.S., & Harway, M. (2012). Engaging men in couples therapy. New York: Routledge.
Kottler, J.A., & Shepard, D.S. (2011). Introduction to counseling: Voices from the field (7h ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Robertson, J.M., & Shepard, D.S. (2008). The psychological development of boys. In M.S. Kiselica, M. Englar-Carlson, & A. M. Horne (Eds.) Counseling troubled boys (pp. 3-30). New York: Routledge.
Shepard, D.S., & Brew, L. (2005). Teaching theories of couples counseling: The use of popular movies. The Family Journal, 13, 406-415.
Englar-Carlson, M., & Shepard, D.S. (co-authors) (2005). Engaging men in couples counseling: Strategies for overcoming ambivalence and inexpressiveness. The Family Journal, 13, 383-391.
Shepard, D.S. (2004). Male development: The journey towards disconnection. In. D. Comstock (Ed.) Diversity in development: Critical contexts that shape our lives and relationships. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.
Kottler, J.E., Shepard, D.S., & Montgomery, M. (2004). Acquisitive desire: Assessment and treatment. In T. Kasser & A.D. Kanner (Eds.), Psychology and consumer culture: The struggle for a good life in a materialistic world. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Shepard, D.S. (2002). Using screenwriting techniques to create realistic and ethical role plays. Counselor Education and Supervision, 42, 145-158
Shepard, D.S. (2002). A negative state of mind: Patterns of depressive symptoms among men with high gender role conflict. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 3, 3-8.
Shepard. D.S. (2002), Sometimes life really does suck . In J.Kottler (Ed.) Counselors Finding Their Way. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association