PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS AND SPECIALITIES
I am a clinical and a forensic psychologist. I started out in clinical psychology in 1974. Before then, I worked (from 1970) as a research psychologist in a hospital for patients with brain damage. I have also held part-time teaching and lecturing posts at universities and am now an Honorary Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. In 2001 I qualified in forensic psychology and worked half-time as a consultant and eventually lead psychologist for over 10 years in a medium secure hospital. I am now retired.
My professional work involved the following areas of knowledge and expertise:
- Assessment and therapy for people with mental health and other psychological problems, including people who are compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act.
- Hypnosis (theory, research, clinical practice and forensic and legal issues). I have lectured and taught extensively in this field and published many papers over the past 42 years and several books. For details of these books click here.
- The preparation of expert witness reports on defendants (pre-trial and pre-sentence) for the criminal courts.
- The preparation of expert witness reports for the civil courts, mainly personal injury cases. I have considerable experience in the psychological effects of road traffic accidents.
I have undertaken Humanist UK's training in religious pastoral care and am a volunteer in the chaplaincies at a university, a psychiatric inpatients' unit, and a day centre for people with life-limiting illnesses. I am able to give presentations on humanism to other groups. I have also undertaken the Schools Speaker training course with Humanists UK and give talks and lessons on humanism to religious education classes in schools.
In 1997 some colleagues and I set up the Association for Skeptical Enquiry and I continue to be its main organiser. ASKE is a society for people from all walks of life who wish to promote rational thinking and enquiry, particularly concerning unusual phenomena, and who are opposed to the proliferation and misuse of irrational and unscientific ideas and practices. I am editor of ASKE's quarterly magazine The Skeptical Intelligencer. To find out more about ASKE, visit our website at http://www.aske-skeptics.org.uk/. If you share our ideas and concerns why not join for just £10 a year?
I am co-founder and one of the organisers of Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub. This group holds monthly meetings at which an invited speaker gives a presentation on his or her area of expertise of skeptical interest
I enjoy giving talks to schools and other institutions and groups on my work and on skepticism, one common theme being 'Science and the Paranormal'.
Let me Help you Create your own Personal Philosophy
I manage a website that aims to help people develop their own personal philosophy by thinking about the big meaning-of-life questions, such as how the world, including human life, came about; what is our ultimate destiny; whether there's a purpose to it all; what being 'a good person' means to you; what makes the world 'a good place'; and so on. The website is called 'My Personal Philosophy' because it's all about what you yourself think and believe, although this may be based on existing religious and philosophical teachings. It is hoped that it will help you remain aware of and committed to those ideals and principles which are important to you, especially when meeting the ups and downs of everyday life, conflicts, uncertainty, moral and ethical challenges, and so on. I welcome comments, suggestions for improvements, and ideas for taking this further.