Profile for Ryan McKelley

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Specialty area(s)

Clinical/counseling psychology; men and masculinities; health psychology (stress, resilience; biofeedback; sleep); behavior modification; group counseling

Brief biography

Ryan A. McKelley, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist, Professor of Clinical/Counseling Psychology, and Program Coordinator for the Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Minor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He earned a B.S. in Organizational Communication from Northwestern University, and a M.A. in Educational Psychology and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He regularly teaches courses on health psychology, behavior modification, abnormal psychology, group counseling, and men and masculinities. He has taught summer sessions abroad in England, Ireland, Spain, China, and Costa Rica. He previously served as the Chair and Associate Chair of the Psychology Department.

Dr. McKelley has co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, mostly in the area of men and masculinities. Specific research and presentation topics include men’s emotions, help-seeking, alternative treatment models, non-traditional work and family roles, fatherhood, men and depression, marketing mental health, and the placebo effect in biofeedback.

In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. McKelley has provided clinical services in a community mental health center, three university counseling centers, and a pain clinic. He currently provides contract clinical services in individual and group therapy, and clinical supervision. He’s been a weekly discussant on the internet radio show and iTunes podcast The Secret Lives of Men, and is Past-President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities, a division of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. McKelley has been interviewed extensively in the area of men’s mental health and changing gender roles. In the last few years, he has been quoted in outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, Upworthy, Vox Media, and local papers in U.S. and Australian cities. He has also appeared on several radio stations such as National Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ABC Radio News, has a TEDx talk on social connection and masculinity, interview on masculinity and culture on the Here We Are science podcast, La Crosse Thinkers podcast, and the ManKind Project, and teach-in presentations on rape culture and toxic masculinity.

Current courses at UWL

Fall 2021:

FYS 100: The Psychology of Addictive Technology
PSY 204: Abnormal Psychology
PSY 315: Behavior Modification


Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology (The University of Texas at Austin)
M.A. in Educational Psychology (The University of Texas at Austin)
B.S. in Organizational Communication & Leadership (Northwestern University)
Licensed Psychologist (WI #2924-57)
Health Service Psychologist (#53741)

Teaching history

First Year Seminar (FYS) 100: Irresistible--The Psychology of Addictive Technology
NEU 490: Capstone Seminar in Neuroscience
PSY 100: General Psychology
PSY 204/304: Abnormal Psychology
PSY 212: Lifespan Development
PSY 315/401: Behavior Modification
PSY 319: Men & Masculinities
PSY 334: Health Psychology
PSY 404: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy
PSY 489: Honors Seminar in Psychology
PSY 495: Senior Seminar in Psychology (Cult of Self: The Death of Self-Esteem, the Rebirth of Self-Control, and the Birth of Self-Compassion)
PSY 773: Advanced Counseling & Therapy Methods
UWL 100: First Year Seminar

Professional history

Professor, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Independent Contractor, Lyra Health

Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Psychology Intern, The University of Iowa’s University Counseling Service, Iowa City, IA

Psychometrist, Austin Behavioral Clinic, Austin, TX

Instructor, The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, Austin, TX

Certified Personal Trainer, Private Practice & The University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Recreational Sports, Austin, TX

Instructional Design & Development Lead; Human Performance Consultant, Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), Denver, CO & Chicago, IL

Instructor, Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Leadership Program, Evanston, IL

Research Analyst, VIA International, LLC., Chicago, IL

Research Assistant, Intercon Research Associates, Ltd., Lincolnwood, IL

Research and publishing

Book/Encyclopedia Chapters:

McKelley, R. A. (in revision). Stress. In R. Mallo (Ed.). Men’s Health in Primary Care, 1st Edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

McKelley, R. A. (in revision). Fatherhood. In R. Mallo (Ed.). Men’s Health in Primary Care, 1st Edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

McKelley, R. A. (2017). Fathers in Families. In J. Lebow, A. Chambers, & D. Breunlin (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. Switzerland: Spring International Publishing.

McKelley, R. A., & Rochlen, A. B. (2015). Furthering Fathering: What We Know and What We Need to Know. In Y. J. Wong & S. F. Wester (Eds.). APA Handbook of Men and Masculinities. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

McKelley, R. A. (2013). Cracking the steel ball: Making use of metaphor in therapy with men. In A. B. Rochlen & F. Rabinowitz (Eds.). Breaking Barriers in Counseling Men: Insights and Innovations. New Jersey: Routledge Publishing.

McKelley, R. A. (2012). Mental Illness: Biases in Diagnosis. The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

McKelley, R. A. (2011). Social Construction of Masculinity. The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Rochlen, A. R., & McKelley, R. A. (2009). Working therapeutically with stay-at-home fathers. In C. Z. Oren & D. C. Oren (Eds.). Counseling Fathers: Practical, Theoretical, and Cultural Perspectives. New Jersey: Routledge Publishing.

Journal Articles:

McKelley, R. A. (in preparation). Single-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study of Heart-Rate Variability Biofeedback. 

McKelley, R. A. (in review). Measuring Masculinities: The influence of social environment on self-report measures.

Gilmore, G. D., McKelley, R. A., & Anderson, D. (2019). Comprehensive Assessment of the Occupational Health Status of Archaeologists in the United States. Journal of Health, Safety, and Environment, 35(1), 65-84.

Jester, D. J., Rozek, E., & McKelley, R. A. (2019). Heart rate variability biofeedback:  Implications for cognitive and psychiatric effects in older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 1-7. DOI:10.1080/13607863.2018.1432031.

Schoen, E., & McKelley, R. A. (2012). Clinical assessment at college counseling centers: The consultant-on-duty model. Journal of College Counseling, 15, 274-288.

Rochlen, A. R., McKelley, R. A., & Whitaker, T. (2010) The stay-at-home father experience: Reasons for entering the role, stigma perceptions, and workforce re-entry plans. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 11 (4), 279-285.

McKelley, R. A., & Rochlen, A. B. (2010). Conformity to masculine norms and preferences for therapy or executive coaching. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 11(1), 1-14.

Rochlen, A.R., Suizzo M., McKelley, R.A., & Scaringi, V. (2008). “I’m just providing for my family:” A qualitative study of stay-at-home fathers’ views toward their roles, reactions from others, parenting values, and masculine identities. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 9(4), 193-206.

Rochlen, A. R., McKelley, R. A., Suizzo M., & Scaringi, V. (2008). Predictors of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being, and life satisfaction among an internet sample of stay-at-home fathers. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 9(1), 17-28.

McKelley, R. A. (2007). Men’s resistance to seeking help: Using Individual Psychology to understand counseling-reluctant men. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 63(1).

McKelley, R. A., & Rochlen, A. B. (2007). The practice of coaching: Exploring alternatives to therapy for counseling-resistant men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 8(1), 53-65.

Rochlen, A. B., McKelley, R. A., & Pituch, K. A. (2006). A preliminary exploration of the Real Men. Real Depression campaign. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 7(1), 1-13.

McKelley, R. A., McNamee, A., & Patton, E. (2005). The CIO: Driving Competitive Advantage One Byte at a Time. Texas Magazine.

Contributed to Lanigan, E. (1999).  Shift happens . . . Making the Connection – On and Off Line.  In Vivo: The Business and Medicine Report, 13(9), 62-70. 

Editorships & Peer-Journal Reviewing:

Ad Hoc Reviewer for Men & Masculinities (Spring 2017 – Present)
Ad Hoc Reviewer for Social Semiotics (Fall 2016)
Ad Hoc Reviewer for The Journal of Men’s Studies (Spring 2016 – Present)
Ad Hoc Reviewer for The Journal of Family Studies (Spring 2015 – Present)
Ad Hoc Reviewer for Gender & Society (Summer 2014 – Present)
Ad Hoc Reviewer for Psychology of Men & Masculinity (Summer 2011 – Present)



Ryan McKelley, Psychology, was interviewed by Brandon Clifton of The ManKind Podcast on June 15. Dr. McKelley discusses the all-too-common phrase "Toxic Masculinity" to give a deeper understanding as to how the use of this phrase is potentially causing more harm than good.

Submitted on: June 28



Richard Breaux, Ethnic & Racial Studies; Willem Vanroosenbeek, Pride Center; and Ryan McKelley, Psychology; presented "Race and Ethnicity; Gender and Sexuality; Abilities and Mental Health (respectively)" at the Onalaska School District's Equity Day on Friday, Feb. 12 online.

Submitted on: Feb. 12



Ryan McKelley, Psychology, was interviewed by Margot Lester of Phillips Lifeline on June 6. Dr. McKelley discusses how masculine norms influence emotional stress for male caregivers, and strategies for managing it.

Submitted on: July 11, 2020



Ryan McKelley, Psychology, presented "Developing a Mutually-Beneficial Mindfulness Approach to Enhancing the Health & Well-Being of Adolescents" at 2020 Adolescent Health Symposium on Feb. 6 in Madison, WI. McKelley delivered a keynote address and follow-up workshop to help health education professionals learn about mindfulness and self-compassion in their work with adolescents.

Submitted on: Feb. 7, 2020



Ryan McKelley, Psychology, presented "Managing Academic Stress with Mindfulness" at Onalaska High School on Jan. 10 in Onalaska, WI. McKelley taught four 10th grade health classes about mindfulness-based stress reduction and students got to use heart-rate variability biofeedback software to play a driving simulator powered by the relaxation response.

Submitted on: Jan. 23, 2020