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     Derrick Shirley, M.Sc.

Counsellor, Speaker

& Author   

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“One of the best love stories since the Notebook.”



“Forget comfort zones – Derrick has pushed the boundaries for all of us in his book, The 400 Pound Male Stripper. Everyone needs to read his transformation process; it will change how you look at your life.”

–Dr. Kevin White, M.D., 5-time award winning author of Breaking Thru the Fibro Fog: Scientific Proof Fibromyalgia is Real




Are you ready to take a remarkable leap forward in your life? Derrick Shirley’s stories and teachings on personal transformation, his words, and his honesty are beautiful, raw and visceral. When you read this book, you will know without a doubt what it means to embrace the freedom and beauty of human imperfection.

HARMONY COUNSELLING AND CONSULTING © 2007-2014 | All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information in this site is for informational purposes only . The reader assumes full responsibility for his/her own actions in regards to any material contained in this site, on any links and in any recommended reading materials. No portion of this website or its pages may be copied, modified, or reproduced without expressed written consent from Derrick Shirley of Harmony Counselling and Consulting.


A true story of personal transformation.

Please allow 4-12 days for delivery in Canada and U.S. For bulk orders over 5 books, and overseas orders, please contact Derrick directly.

A Message from the Author...


(from the back cover)

“Derrick Shirley, MSc. puts his life on the line and bares all of his emotions – the good, bad and ugly, in this true story of personal transformation. Childhood violence, emotional eating battles and incredible weight loss; searching for identity in a whirlwind of racism and sex – all leading to the world’s greatest love story. The end has an unbelievable twist even Derrick could have never expected…”



Book Overview


Testimonials and Blog Reviews

“The 400 Pound Male Stripper was a wild ride from start to finish. Packed with ideas, excitement, and creativity, this book is a great guide for those who desire personal change and transformation. Simply brilliant!”

—Dr. Richard Amaral, Psychologist, Director, Toronto Psychotherapy Center and author of Crossing The Line.

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“Derrick has brought down the house with The 400 Pound Male Stripper! It was romantic, suspenseful, erotic, tragic –and completely unforgettable. I loved the journal segments!”

—Allison Foskett, MSc, CCC, three-time author, including, How Smart Women Achieve Big Goals

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“Derrick has brilliantly and authentically exposed himself and his teachings in his book, The 400 Pound Male Stripper. His stories were remarkable, raw and real; I couldn’t put it down!”

—Fred Sarkari, Speaker and three-time best-selling author, including, How the Top 5% Think.

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“Derrick has masterfully woven together an intricate roadmap for others to follow who wish to transform their lives. His honesty and charisma jump off the page and marvelously dance on your mind. A spectacular book!”

—Dr. Kevin Alderson, Registered Psychologist, Editor of the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychology and author of nine books including Counseling LGBTI Clients (Sage)

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“This remarkable book is an emotional and conceptual roller-coaster that leaves us wanting more. Derrick puts it all on the page and keeps it real. His voice is vivid and candid, and his insights bring the work to life. Readers feel all the love and all the pain, and most importantly, feel more alive after experiencing this thoughtful narrative.”

—Dr. Darren E. Lund, Professor and four-time, award winning author, including, The Great White North? Exploring Whiteness, Privilege and Identity in Education.

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“Derrick Shirley demonstrates yet again that he is nothing short of inspirational, full of important and creative ideas when it comes to mental health.  A dedicated and talented clinician, a charismatic speaker, he adds ‘gifted writer’ to his list of achievements. This unabashed soul baring account of his own experiences both amuses and sustains.”

—Dr. Michele Fercho, Registered Clinical Psychologist, Director Blakemore, Fercho and Acton (Business Partner)

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“Derrick’s writings are poignant, profound, and a welcomed addition to the literature on the Black experience in Western culture. His stories are riveting and his truthfulness is refreshing. Wonderful work!”

—Dr. Dave Este, Professor, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

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“The 400 Pound Male Stripper is a raw, authentic and hilariously vulnerable look at how one man transformed his life amid an identity crisis, weight battles, and lost love. If you only read one book this year, this is it!"

—Sienna J.L. Geary, Editor

In a wildly candid and entertaining account, Counsellor and Motivational Speaker Derrick Shirley shares  with us his most intimate experiences, life defining moments and the lessons he learned along the way.

An excerpt from the Introduction...

          “As I stood there on the other side of the wall, immobilized yet free to move, I realized I was an official groupie. And my groupie peer group was mostly middle-aged white women.

          "How much will you take for your scarf?" One woman asked me.

           I chuckled out loud, "No, no… I would never sell my scarf."

          "Well it looks really good on you. My girlfriends and I were just talking about you. We thought that any man that would wear a scarf like that is a man that was comfortable in his own skin."

            I accepted the compliment with pride, "Thank you very much." I replied. ‘What a strange and wonderful thing to say to someone,’ I thought to myself.  Not because I was wearing a knitted, baby blue scarf with the Star’s name embroidered in bold, block letters, but because it was not long ago I felt disgust when I looked at my skin.

            As night fell and the anticipation in the crowd grew, you could feel an energy shift. People started cheering and yelling, "Over here! Come over here!" As the crowd buzzed, a wave of goosebumps washed over me. ‘What the hell is happening to me?!’ I pulled up my shirtsleeve and saw an army of hairs standing at attention. I was puzzled by my own excitement.  I knew I was a fan, but I didn't know until then, how big of a fan I really was.

            "There he is! There he is!” someone shouted; the crowd started to frenzy. Hoping to get a better look, women started running to another spot where others had gathered. My body wanted to run with them, sprint actually, but my ego showed up and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, ‘Dude. Seriously. Relax. He's just a man.’ ‘Right,’ I thought, ‘He is just a man.’ I decided not to run over, but walked very briskly.

Score: Ego – 1…Groupie Excitement – 1

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The chapter titles tell a story in and of themselves, including:

  1. The Daddy Under the Bed

  2. The Boy with the Cockroach Tattoo

  3. White Fish, Black Meat

  4. In the Shadow of the Sundress

  5. The 25 Year Itch

        and others...

Through story telling and anecdotes, this book details how Derrick resolved the confusion of a profound identity crisis. It will help readers understand the process he went through to unearth problematic life scripts and how to rewrite them.

You cannot change what you do not know, but what Derrick thought he knew about myself was very little. Throughout the writing process and personal exploration, as a result of the research methods chosen, but not a function of them, Derrick lost almost half of his body weight; (180 pounds) in 18 months.

He will share with you the labels and scripts, thoughts and behaviours, struggles and triumphs that combined to make him who he is. What did it mean to be a father of distance, a closet racist, a stripper, a psychotherapist, a black man, a lover and a best friend?

Throughout the process, Derrick learned to love himself despite deep self-hatred. He learned the monumental power of personal writing; how it shapes our decisions and can breathe new life into dead scripts.

An excerpt from The 400 Pound Male Stripper on “life scripts”...

We live much of our lives according to a script.

Scripts we are unaware of, did not write, but follow nonetheless.

What if you were told that unless you followed a script and played a role a certain way, you could not call yourself an actor? What if you were told unless you were married, you could not consider yourself a whole person? What if you were told you if you did not raise perfect children, you could not call yourself a good mother or father? What if you were told unless you hated someone or some group, you could not follow your preferred religion? As absurd as it all sounds, this is often our stinging reality.

            In asking these questions, we begin to unravel the subtleties and dangers of labelled and scripted living. It goes well beyond a label of “girl” or “boy.” It is doing what we are supposed to do, how it is supposed to be done without ever seriously questioning our actions. All of the supposed to’s are scripts and it is the labels and scripts we have assumed – those assigned to us by others – that are creating inconsistencies, confusion, and conflict in our lives, relationships, communities, and countries.

Scripted living is at the heart of all personal crises and conflicts.”


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