Dr Matthew John Shepherd

DClinPsy, PGCertHSc, BSW, BA (Hons)

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Lecturer in Social Work » Counselling, Human Services and Social Work

Organisational units


He pepeha

Ki te taha o toku matua
Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Mokau te awa
Ko Pukearuhe te Marae
Ko Ngāti Tama toku hapu

Matt has worked with children, young people and their whānau in a number of settings. This has included a residential setting (Glenburn Centre) where Matt was responsible for the therapeutic treatment of children with behavioural difficulties. Matt has worked as a Family Therapist both at the Leslie Centre (Presbyterian Support) and Youth Horizons Trust on the Functional Family Therapy Team. Matt has worked as a Paediatric Social Worker at Starship Children’s Hospital where he provided counselling and social work to families of children that were diagnosed with Cancer. He then worked for the Consult Liaison Team (child psychiatry team) at Starship Children’s Hosptial, where he provided assessment and treatment for children, adolescents and whānau. Matt specialised in oncology, respiratory, and endocrine conditions and developed specialty skills in the area of biofeedback. Most recently Matt was working at the Kari centre a child and adolescent mental health service with the ADHB.  While completing his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Matt worked as a Research Fellow for the Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine at The University of Auckland.

Matt currently works clinicaly with the team at Rainbow House where he specialises in working with young people and their famililies who experience difficulties with Aspergers.  He also sees private clients, to make an appointment please email him directly.

Matt has contributed a relaxation audio file for use on a Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences website called CALM (Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind), www.calm.auckland.ac.nz and for use on the NZ Ministry of Health website www.depression.org.nz.

Research | Current

Matt’s thesis was an investigation into the design, applicability and effectiveness of a computerised CBT programme for Māori adolescents experiencing moderate depression. He was a part of a team, led by Associate Professor Sally Merry that developed a computerised CBT programme for the treatment of mild to moderate depression experienced by adolescents. Publication of results is expected in 2012.

Find out more about SPARX www.sparx.org.nz

Matt is currently a co-investigator for a cell phone depression prevention programme for adolescents called Memo. This is run in conjunction with the Clinical Trials Research Unit where a RCT has been conducted to evaluate Memo and was funded by The Health Research Council. Publication of results is expected in 2012.

Teaching | Current

  • Mental health
  • Psychology and Social work practice skills
  • Current guest lecturer for the Goodfellow Unit, School of Population Health - lectures on CBT, working with Māori whānau and relaxation techniques for children and adolescents.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Clinical Psychologist (Registered) New Zealand Psychologist Board

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Cheek, C., Bridgman, H., Fleming, T., Cummings, E., Ellis, L., Lucassen, M. F. G., ... Skinner, T. (2014). Views of young people in rural Australia on SPARX, a fantasy world developed for New Zealand youth with depression. JMIR Serious Games, 2 (1).10.2196/games.3183
  • Lucassen, M. F. G., Hatcher, S., Stasiak, K., Fleming, T., Shepherd, M., & Merry, S. N. (2013). The views of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth regarding computerised self-help for depression: An exploratory study. Advances in Mental Health, 4023-4054. 10.5172/jamh.2013.4023
  • Merry, S. N., Stasiak, K., Shepherd, M., Frampton, C., Fleming, T., & Lucassen, M. F. (2012). The effectiveness of SPARX, a computerised self help intervention for adolescents seeking help for depression: randomised controlled non-inferiority trial. BMJ, 344,
  • Whittaker, R. A., Merry, S., Stasiak, K., McDowell, H., Doherty, I., Shepherd, M., ... Rodgers, A. (2012). MEMO—A Mobile Phone Depression Prevention Intervention for Adolescents: Development Process and Postprogram Findings on Acceptability From a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14 (1).10.2196/jmir.1857
  • Shepherd, M. J. (2011). An investigation into the design, applicability and evaluation of a computerised cognitive behavioural therapy programme-SPARX for Māori young people experiencing mild to moderate depression The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/9900

Contact details

Primary location

Level 4, Room 6EN-405
Auckland 1023
New Zealand