PSI Psychologists: A request for your support in running for PSI Council

Update 27th August 2021: I’m delighted to have just been elected as a Council member of The Psychological Society of Ireland for the 2022-2024 term. Thanks so much to everyone who voted- I look forward to working with you, and my very capable colleagues on Council, to make stuff happen!

Lots of hard but really inspiring and important work to be done, and a real mandate at today’s meeting for an inclusive and representative community of psychologists that practices what we preach.


Dear Colleagues, I hope you’re very well.

As a research psychologist as well as a private practitioner, I’m delighted to have been nominated to run for the upcoming PSI Council election to be held online via zoom on Saturday, 28 August 2021 at 2pm. For those who don’t already know me, I’m a member of the Division of Academics, Teachers and Researchers in Psychology and the Media, Art and Cyberpsychology SIG and I volunteer as Vice-Chairperson of the Psychologists in Private Practice SIG. I’ve included my bio and CV below.

It is my intention, if I’m elected to PSI Council, to help cultivate a greater focus on the needs of all members so that PSI’s strengths and resources can be harnessed in an equitable and representative way. Some of the specific topics that I’m passionate about are:

  • More representation for research psychologists and private practitioners
  • Improved inter-specialism collaboration, particularly between research and practice
  • Advocacy to ensure that those in private practice and academia are catered for in the upcoming CORU statutory registration of Psychology
  • Enhanced support for, and inclusion of, early graduates
  • More inclusive access to training/funding
  • Promoting a modern PSI that draws on, and serves as an example of, best practice in the intersection of psychology and technology- leading to greater public engagement and member accessibility (for example in person and virtual options)
  • Greater supports and ease of access for those with overseas qualifications
  • A streamlining of the accreditation system (currently psychologists have to consider requirements for PSI graduate membership, PSI chartership, PSI Divisional membership, upcoming CORU statutory registration and often more)

I’d be very grateful for your support, in the form of a vote, to help make this possible. In order to vote at the upcoming election, there are 3 steps: register, attend, vote.

1) Register: Visit or to register to attend the upcoming AGM on Saturday, 28 August 2021 at 2pm. Log in and click ‘Book Now’. You’ll be sent an email confirmation which you’ll then need to click on to be sent your zoom link. Note that registration closes this Friday, so best do it sooner.

2) Attend: Just click the link (let PSI know in advance if you don’t get it) to attend on Saturday, 28 August 2021 at 2pm. The election happens towards the start of the meeting in case you need to attend to vote and then rush off.

3) Vote: You’ll be guided as to how to place your vote using your device. I understand that the process will be similar to last year, which was also an online event due to the pandemic. A screen will appear listing the candidate’s names and you then select your first choice. All of the first choices are then totalled and the results will be announced shortly after. Ballot/candidate information can be viewed here:

I’d also be very grateful if you could share this message with other psychologists who are PSI members who might consider offering their support. Feel very welcome to keep in touch and, with your support, I hope to be able to advocate strongly for more representation and inclusion in PSI Council’s next term.

Warm regards,


Dr John Francis Leader—Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Cognitive Scientist 
Phone 01-2649300 or 086-1715080 | Email
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Dr John Francis Leader is a Chartered Member of PSI, Vice-Chairperson of PSI’s Private Practice Group and an Adjunct Research Fellow at University College Dublin’s School of Psychology.

John spends his professional time between training, consultancy and therapeutic work in private practice, and academic research where he focuses on experiential learning and the intersection of psychology and technology.

John works actively in public outreach/communications, serving as a media correspondent (RTÉ, Virgin Media, Newstalk, 98FM), podcast host (#bodymindself) and event facilitator (SFI, UCD, PSI).


Qualifications: John holds a BA Honours Degree in Psychology, Diplomas in Psychology and Psychotherapy, and a PhD in Cognitive Science from University College Dublin.

Psychological community work: John collaborated with colleagues to draft the COVID Back to Work Guidelines for psychologists in private practice, published by PSI. He has liaised with the DublinTown representative association and met with Damien English, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to advocate for Psychology and psychologists in the context of the pandemic. John led the Insurance Assessment Project within PSI SIGPPP, gathering up to date data regarding the status of insurance for those in private practice psychology. John is actively involved in organising events within PSI, and in helping practitioners to adapt technology to support clients/patients in the context of the pandemic (delivering a Practicing Psychology Online training for PSI in November 2020). John has played an active role in supporting research psychologists in advocating for their profession in the context of CORU regulation, and in identifying channels to bring greater public awareness to academic research, as well as to encourage the practical implementation of its findings. John regularly assists psychology students in identifying suitable paths to pursue their research/practice interests, and attends student events (i.e. presenting a student training event at UCD Quinn School of Business, on the UCD Psychological Society’s careers event panel).

Current research: As part of his applied work John builds multimedia installations. His latest piece is an ex-military 1976 Series III Land Rover fitted with a virtual reality system that overlays a graphically-rendered version of the vehicle’s interior. A motion tracker mounted to the steering wheel allows participants to explore learning-relevant worlds whilst using the act of steering as a metaphor for developing control in their own lives. He is a member of the Media & Entertainment Psychology lab at UCD and is currently overseeing a collaboration between UCD Psychology and UCD Computer Science to develop a virtual reality therapy room to facilitate experiential forms of therapy and training remotely. He is also collaborating with staff at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology to study the role of digital intimacy, in the context of the current pandemic.

Public engagement: John’s work particularly emphasises making psychological research and practice open and accessible to those who can benefit from it. To this aim he regularly contributes to discussions about wellbeing and psychology/technology in the media (i.e. RTÉ, Virgin Media, Newstalk, 98FM), facilitates educational events (i.e. The Science of Horror Movies event at Movies@Dundrum funded by Science Foundation Ireland) and conducts organisational training programmes. He is the host of the #bodymindself podcast series.

For a portfolio of research and practice please see and feel welcome to connect on twitter | facebook | instagram | linkedin | itunes | tiktok | soundcloud | spotify | youtube.

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