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These films cover a range of subjects relating to substance misuse, mental health and wider psychology.  I have chosen them for a number of reasons:
  • Some directly recap and support learning from training and lectures 
  • Some examine more challenging ideas presented in training and lectures
  • Some may be useful to share or use with people seeking help
  • Some were selected because the research inspired the design of treatment innovations I have developed  
I hope you enjoy them too. 
Drugs and Alcohol
The Difference Between Dependence and Addiction

A rare and refreshing examination of the differences between dependence and addiction in a simple discussion format.  

Rat Park Experiments

A very good animated film examining the rat park experiments of Prof. Bruce Alexander and what they reveal about the nature of substance misuse problems.   Also relates this research to human studies.  

Spiders on Drugs

Although I have written and lectured extensively on the limits of animal behavioural research in understanding substance misuse, I make an exception in this case. 

Tolerance and Environment

In training I often discuss how overdose is rarely linked to purity or dosage.  This short film recaps these issues and explains the processes whereby tolerance to a drug can fail, causing both cravings and increasing overdose risk.  

European Drug Report 2016: trends and developments in Europe's drug situation

This short film presents the headline topics and issues of the current trends in drug use across Europe. Simple format that provides an at-a-glance update. 

Drug Dependence

This film offers greater detail on the diagnostic criteria of dependence, tolerance and withdrawal from drugs.

The 18th Century Gin Craze

I love the history of drug and alcohol use and what it reveals about current patterns of substance misuse.  This concise film describes our first cultural experience of alcoholism with the emergence of Gin in British society.

The Subjective and Objective Effects of Alcohol

In lectures on substance use I often refer to the differences between subjective and objective effects of drugs.  Recently, Lee Mack's "Duck Quacks Don't Echo" on Sky 1 recreated a famous experiment to test whether the positive mood effects induced by alcohol were merely subjective.  Here students are given fake vodka in a bar.  Watch the experiment to see the results.

Family and Young People
Concerned Others Self-Help Guide: Six Steps

My esteemed colleague Jan Ligon shares his self-help guide for families experiencing a loved ones substance misuse problem.  Six simple but effective strategies to help manage what at times feels unmanageable.  

Love Runs Deep

A short film made by DHI in my home town of Bristol, exploring the experiences of concerned others of problem drug and alcohol users.  It tells their stories and also shows how their lives have been transformed through dedicated services.

The Teenage Brain Explained

This film is a little rapid fire, but it provides a detailed explanation of the critical brain changes that occur during puberty.

Averse Childhood Experience  by Dr Nadine Burke Harris

Doctor Nadine Burke presents research studies on the impact of Averse Childhood Experiences (ACE's) on the long term health outcomes of young people.  It explains the impact of stress on children and young people's brain development and the outcomes  of social interventions in medical practice.

Judith Harris Radio Interview

Judith Harris's books 'The Nurture Assumption' and 'No Two Alike' caused a storm of controversy regarding attachment theory.  Here is a rare interview where she discusses her research on the limited impact parents have on the personality development of their children and what really does shape a child's nature. Read more about Judith's work at http://judithrichharris.info/tna/byjrh.htm

A Tribute to Judith Harris

A short documentary about the ideas and research of Judith Harris.  It provides an overview of her life and work and explains the key ideas behind group socialisation processes.  

Prof. Steven Pinker on Parenting

Prof Steven Pinker provides a short presentation on the role and impact of parenting on children. He examines the research supporting attachment theory and challenges the validity of these studies.

Dr John Gottman on Relationships

Dr John Gottman is the world’s leading researcher on partner relationships and what makes them work or fail.  Based on his extensive clinical studies this film explains his seven principles of successful relationships.  It may assist concerned others whose partners have experienced substance misuse issues to rebuild or repair their relationships.

Mental Health
Trauma and Addiction Disorders 

Another excellent Crash Course film into the nature of PTSD, its causes and consequences.  The film summarizes the nature of trauma memories, influence on the limbic system and PTSD's relationship with addictions in clear, if not slightly rapid, fashion. 

PTSD vs Acute Stress Disorder

Dr Grande explains the differences between PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder symptoms.  He also explores why Acute Stress Disorder exists as a precursor to PTSD,    

Introduction to Dual Diagnosis (Comorbidity)

A short introductory film to some of the key issues and themes in dual diagnosis.  The basic concepts are introduced rather than the detail, but it is a good refresher of some of the themes covered in my training.

Redefining Diagnosis in Psychiatry

The National Institute of Mental Health in the US are conducting a major re-evaluation of diagnostic criteria in mental health.  This fascinating project will re-define diagnosis, bringing it in line with the latest research findings and analysis.  This film explains the new directions and approaches to diagnosis and what they might offer in terms of future directions in treatment. 

Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviours in Youth

Much of my current work in adolescent development focuses on the divergent patterns of drug and alcohol involvement of externalizing and internalizing youth.  This walk through film explains these disorders simply and underlines the importance of these behaviours in subsequent drug and alcohol involvement and treatment.    

Hearing Voices:  What Do People Hear with Auditory Hallucinations?

It can be difficult to understand the internal experience of other people.  This is especially true for those with psychosis who hear voices as a result of auditory hallucinations.  This short film was developed in consultation with people who hear voices to re-create their internal experience and to help educate others to their experience.  It is best to listen to this film with head phones on to get the full effect. 

Personality &  Personality Disorder
Personality Traits:  An Introduction

In training I often discuss the Big Five personality traits, also known as OCEAN.  Here is a brief description of the five traits.

Personality Disorders:  Crash Course

An interesting crash course on personality disorders.  Does not explore the individual diagnosis closely but it is very good on broad themes, like "ego dystonic" conditions.

Sub-Groups of Personality Disorders

This excellent short film by Brian McDaniel describes the key features of personality disorder and sub-types that are described in the DSM.  A very useful reminder and overview.

Dark Core Personality Factors in Psychopaths

Research has revealed the Dark Core elements of psychopaths personality structure.  This short film describes the critical aspects of the "evil" personality type.

Motive- Orientated Therapeutic Relationships

Swiss researcher Ueli Kramer has done some amazing work in understanding how personality disorder patters influence the therapeutic relationship.  He has developed some critical tools in understanding the personality disorder individuals core social patterns and how they influence engagement in the change process.

An Introduction to Psychologically Informed Environments

Ray Middleton and Robin Johnson discuss the underlying principles and ethos of that underpins Psychologically Informed Environments.  

Critical Time Intervention

Daniel Herman presents Critical Time Intervention: An Empirically Supported Model for Preventing Homelessness in High Risk Groups.  This is a time-limited model initially designed to support the long term homeless transition back into community living.  however, it has been  but has been found to be helpful with a wide range of people with complex needs such as prison release and dual diagnosis make similar life transitions.

Housing First Programme

Sam Tsemberis develop the Housing First model in response to dramatic rises in homeless in the US.  This model priorities immediate housing over stepped housing policy.  Here he discusses the origins, outcomes and impacts of Housing First approach.

Specific Treatment Interventions
Solution Focussed Therapy

A very comprehensive lecture on the key themes, questions and application of solution focussed therapy.  

Prof. William Miller on Motivational Interviewing

Prof. William Miller discusses the core philosophy and approach to Motivational Interviewing.  A great summary of the intervention.

Motivational Interviewing Documentary

This extended film includes a discussion with William Miller on Motivational Interviewing in practice.  It also illustrates these discussions points with a number of examples of him working with clients.

Relapse Prevention

A short informative film regarding some key concepts in relapse prevention.

Imagery Rehearsal Therapy

Imagery Rehearsal Therapy is a CBT based approach designed for treating trauma.  This short film explains how people with PTSD who experience nightmares can learn to re-write their dreams.   Research shows that this can reduce 70 per cent of all PTSD symptom and is one of the most widely recommended approaches to addressing trauma.

Dream Based Therapy

In this extended film Dr Barry Krakow explores the emerging science behind dream based therapy work for the treatment of complex mental health disorders.

General Treatment Theory
Stages of Change

The Stages of Change model is widely adopted in the substance misuse field by not fully understood. In this extended lecture, Prof. James Prochaska examines the research behind his Stage model as well as many neglected features of his research.  This includes the strong and weak principles of human change as well as the key mechanisms of change that operate beneath each stage.  As such, it gives deeper insight into the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). 

Dr. Barry Duncan on Real Time Feedback

The use of real time feedback in treatment is the most important development in talking cures over the last sixty years.  It has been shown to increase outcomes threefold and reduce negative cases by 50 per cent.  In this film Dr Barry Duncan outlines the key issues behind real time feedback and its effect on dramatically improving treatment outcomes.   

Dr. Scott Miller on What Works in Psychotherapy  

In this extensive radio interview, Dr Scott Miller explains the background research of treatment outcomes.  He identifies what contributes to client outcomes including modality, structure, clients functioning and alliance factors.

Introduction to Behaviourism  

In this great Crash Course, the history and key concepts of behaviourism are explained in a rapid-fire style.  However, it covers the key ideas really clearly.


Self-efficacy theory is key to understanding social learning theory.  These concepts underpin Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and to a lesser but important degree Motivational Interviewing.  This lecture by Dr Brett D. Jones explains self-efficacy and its relationship to performance and motivation.

Cognitive Dissonance

This short introductory film describes Leon Festinger’s key concept of cognitive dissonance.  This is the experience of conflicting thoughts that lead to psychological distress which forces us to respond in helpful or unhelpful ways.  It underpins similar concepts such as discrepancy in Motivational Interviewing.

General Psychology
Prof. Dan Gilbert:  The Psychological Immune System

Fantastic TED talk by Prof. Dan Gilbert on his ground breaking research into the nature of natural and synthetic happiness and its role in promoting wellbeing.  

The Marshmallow Test

Walter Mischel's pioneering research with children was the inspiration behind the development of my treatment interventions with poor impulse control young people.  In a simple experiment, children could eat a marshmallow now or wait 20 minutes to receive two.  At long term follow-up, the length they delay the impulse to eat the marshmallow predicted their adult life outcomes. Here is some original footage of the experiment.  If you have had a bad day, just watch this short film... 

Prof. Jonathan Haidt on Moral Consiousness and the Political Mind

Prof Jonathan Haidt books 'The Happiness Principle' and 'The Righteous Mind' provide fascinating insight into moral development in children and adults. His work has connected the emotional brain to decision making and moral dispositions. You can map your own moral inclinations for free at www.yourmorals.org or read more at www.yourmorals.org/blog/author/jon/

Prof. Robert Kegan on Understanding Immunity to Change

Prof Robert Kegan's work in developmental psychology is ground breaking and has been a huge influence on my work with young people.  But here he explores practical assessment tools in helping people to understand and overcome immunity to change through discovering the deep commitments made by the emotional brain.  

Dr George Land and Creativity

In what way are 5 year olds smarter than a NASA rocket engineer? Based on large scale research and neurology, Dr George Land explains how we really train ourselves to be uncreative.  This short film looks at how creativity can be improved by unleashing the 5 year old that remains in all of us.

Looking through the lens of 1000 lives: Prof Richie Poulton at TEDxDunedin

Prof Richie Poulton shares some of his insights from the Dunedin longitudinal study, one of the most detailed studies of human health and development ever undertaken. A multidisciplinary, longitudinal study of 1,037 babies born in Dunedin during 1972/73, the Study members have been followed up since birth, at age three, then every two years to age 15, and at ages 18, 21, 26, and 32. 

Pain Management:  The Neuroscience of Mindfulness

Prof Fadel Zedian discusses his amazing research on neuroscience and mindfulness, especially how his studies have reduced pain by 24 per cent through the use of the meditative approach.