John J. Allen 1927-2015

John Allen, who has died aged 87, began his Basic Grade career as the first ever clinical psychologist in Bradford in 1970 and retired 22 years later as Bradford District Clinical Psychologist in charge of 20 qualified clinicians working in various specialities and community settings.

Due to childhood illness, John left school early and worked in clerical jobs, first in his native Scotland and then in London. He returned to education as a mature student with a growing family, obtaining his first degree at Dundee University followed by the Leeds Clinical MSc in 1970. His late start happened to coincide with a revolutionary period in the profession, when British clinical psychologists began to fight to be ‘practitioners’ as well as ‘scientists’, to become independent of psychiatry and medicine and to deploy expertise in all healthcare settings. Always keeping these aims in mind when dealing with medics and managers, John gradually achieved most of them through being persuasive and clear-headed. He used opportunities as they arose and created new ones by networking with local hospitals, GPs, social services and universities, which enabled him to set up clinical psychology services in the main specialities in hospital and community settings.

Even as the head of a large department, based at Lynfield Mount Hospital, John carried a mixed-problem adult caseload with special expertise in obsessional behaviours and trans-sexuality. He used a cognitive-behavioural framework for his formulations and client-focused eclectic interventions. He contributed to medical research as a member of the Pain Clinic based at Bradford Royal Infirmary and taught at both Bradford and Leeds Universities. He was an active member of the British Psychological Society. John was an inspiring head of department, a good leader, helpful and supportive of colleagues and a good teacher.

After retirement from the NHS in 1992, John taught psychology to undergraduates at Trinity and All Saints College (now Leeds Trinity University). He finally retired, aged 70, and enjoyed foreign travel, learning German and meeting up with friends and colleagues, with whom he enjoyed eating out, having a good argument and having a good laugh.

John leaves a daughter, Alexis, two sons, Michael and Barney, and two granddaughters.

Anna Greenwood

Margaret O’Connor

Otley West Yorkshire

Liz Carrington

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