John Alderdice qualified in Medicine at The Queen's University of Belfast in 1978 and worked
from August 1978 to July 1979 as an intern at Lagan Valley Hospital near Belfast. This was followed by a series of training
posts in psychiatry at Belfast City Hospital, Whiteabbey Hospital, Holywell Hospital, the Regional Alcohol and Addiction Service
at Shaftesbury Square Hospital, the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and the Department of Mental Health at The
Queen's University of Belfast. He qualified as a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1982 and during
these later posts he undertook approved Higher Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
On 1 January
1988 was appointed Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy to the Eastern Health and Social Services Board, based at Purdysburn
Hospital and Albertbridge Road Day Hospital. (The first appointment of its kind in Ireland.)
In 1987 he had established and for the next 10 years ran, with his colleague Dr Clare Adams, a Master of Medical
Science in Psychotherapy degree course (MMedSc) through the Faculty of Medicine, at Queen's University, Belfast,
to train psychotherapists for work in Northern Ireland. This course was discontinued in 1998 because of
other commitments, but recommenced in February 2008 as a MSc Degree along with a MSc in Art Psychotherapy, both in conjunction
with and validated by the University of East London.
In November 1990 he had been appointed Honorary Lecturer
(subsequently Senior Lecturer) in Psychotherapy at the School of Medicine at The Queen's University of Belfast, a post
he held until July 1999 and in September 1999 he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of San Marcos, Peru, where
he visited for some years. He established in 1990, the Northern Ireland Institute for Human Relations, modelled on the
Scottish Institute of Human Relations, in order to provide a professional focus for trained psychotherapists.
Founder and first Director of the Institute 1990 – 1994 and subsequently from 2000 has been Patron of NIIHR. In
September 1991 he established a Department of Psychotherapy, funded by the South & East Belfast Community Unit (now incorporated
into Belfast Health and Social Care Trust). This NHS facility was later expanded to provide a Centre for Psychotherapy
in its own substantial free-standing premises where they provided teaching, training and clinical services with a range
of modes of therapy - psychoanalytic, group, cognitive, art, music and drama therapies.
1993 after training in medical management he was appointed Executive Medical Director of the South and East Belfast Health
and Social Services Trust. With over 4,000 staff and an annual budget in excess of £80m, this was at the time
one of Northern Ireland's largest Trusts. He retired from this post in June 1997. He served from 2003
– 2008 on the Board of Guardians of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and in 2006 was appointed Visiting Professor
in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine, at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville VA, and reappointed for a further
three years (to 2010) in September 2007. He chaired a National Reference Group which in 2009 produced National Vocational
Standards for Psychotherapy and chaired a commission for the Royal College of Psychiatrists which in 2010 published a major
report on Suicide and Self-Harm in the United Kingdom.
His work was recognized with various prizes, fellowships and
honorary degrees and he retired from psychiatric practice on 31 March 2010, however he continues his interest in applying
psychoanalytical ideas to large groups and communities in violent conflict, especially through the International Dialogue