Formerly a senior lecturer in education, John retrained as a counsellor. He qualified in 1997 and since 2000 has specialised in bereavement counselling. For 17 years he worked as a counsellor and trainer at Saint Catherine's Hospice, Scarborough. He completed his PhD in bereavement counselling in 2017 and was invited to be a visiting fellow of York St John University. He is Director of the Bereavement Service at York St John University Counselling and Mental Health Centre, where he conducts research into loss and grief. His first book published by Jessica Kingsley in 2013, is Supporting People through Loss and Grief: An introduction for counsellors and other caring practitioners. His second book for bereaved people, published in 2020, is The Plain Guide to Grief.
John writes for peer reviewed journals, newspapers and popular magazines.