Billy is a cisgender queer man. He works as a Gestalt psychotherapist and supervisor, and has a particular interest in groups and in embodied ways of working in psychotherapy. He is a faculty member of the Gestalt Institute of Ireland and a guest faculty member at various Gestalt training institutes. He is a certified trainer of Ruella Frank’s Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy at the Center for Somatic Studies, New York City. He is currently researching its application to psychotherapy and clinical supervision groups.
Billy has published several papers, book chapters and action research articles on homophobia, working with gay men, ecology in psychotherapy, group-work, embodied ways of knowing, and spirituality. He has co-authored Introduction to Gestalt (Sage, 2013), a book for psychotherapists, counsellors and those who work in the helping professions. He regularly speaks and offers workshops at international conferences.
He is a board member of the international Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (AAGT) and co-chair of its Gender & Sexual Diversity special interest group.
Bernárd has an interdisciplinary doctorate in counselling psychology and theology from Fordham University and New York Theological Seminary. For fifteen successive years he was Theological Consultant to the Board of Directors of Dignity New York – an organization for Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered and Bisexual Catholics and their friends – and founded the AIDS/HIV Ministry of Dignity New York in 1982, which continues its work to the present day.
Bernárd is a social and LGBTQI activist since the early 1980s, and continues to work in the areas of social justice and oppression. For over ten years he was a member of the Mayor of New York's voluntary Task Force on HIV/AIDS, and was the only Roman Catholic priest to testify before the City Council for the successful passage of Civil Rights legislation for the LGBT community in 1986. He continued his work with HIV/AIDS in London until 2011.
He has been profiled numerous times in broadcast media – including Channel 4, BBC HARDtalk, BBC Radio 4, Sky News – for his work in the areas of social justice and oppression. He has published two books: A Priest on Trial (Bloomsbury, 1993), and If It Wasn't Love, Sex, Death and God (Circle Books, 2012), and numerous chapters in LGBT publications.
He was a trustee and chair of Camden LGBT Forum and the first representative of the Irish LGBT community to City Hall for the London Saint Patrick's Day Parade until end of 2016.