All in the Mind

BBC  |  Podcast , ±28 min episodes every 2 weeks, 6 days  | 
All in the Mind examines how we think and behave. It’s presented by psychologist Claudia Hammond. She investigates the latest techniques being used by mental health practitioners, speaks to people with psychological issues and uncovers all the most recent research from the world of the mind. Every year there are 2 series of 8 episodes of All in the Mind, in the spring and autumn. Each programme is 28 minutes long.

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The Brain Prize winners

Our sense of reward motivates us and is essential for survival - influencing the hundreds of decisions we make every day about what feels good and what doesn't. Claudia Hammond meets Ray Dolan, Wolfram Schultz and Peter Dayan, winners of this year's Brain Prize, in front of an audience at London's Royal Institution, to discuss their ground-breaking work on how the brain recognises and processes reward.The trio's discoveries have revolutionised our understanding in how our brain's reward system can motivate us, give us the best chance in life and influence the way we learn. So when the system malfunctions, it can lead to big problems such as obesity, gambling and addiction. But as understanding of this brain system continues to be unravelled Claudia Hammond hears why this happens and what can be done to control it.

Claudia Hammond launches the 2018 All in the Mind Awards

All in the Mind Awards:Claudia Hammond launches the 2018 All in the Mind Awards - a chance for anyone who has received help for a mental health problem, to recognise the people and organisations who have gone above and beyond the call of duty1 in 3 of us will experience problems with our mental health at some time in our lives, and help and support from people around us can make all the difference in how we cope day to day and helping us on the road to recovery. Between now and the end of January 2018 the Radio 4 All in the Mind Awards is seeking listeners' experiences of brilliant mental health care and to recognise the people - the unsung heroes who helped make the difference. The judging panel this year includes Star Wards founder Marion Janner; director of nursing and mental health services Mandy Stevens; Dr Mathijs Lucassen lecturer in mental health ; and Claudia Hammond, psychologist and All In The Mind presenter.There are 3 categories for the awards, the individual, professional or project Individual Award : An individual family member, friend, boss or colleague who offered significant support Professional Award: A mental health professional whose dedication, help and support made a really significant difference to you. This could be a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, nurse, volunteer or other professional Project Award: A mental health project or group you took part in, which made a big difference to your recovery or the way you cope. The winners of the awards will be announced during a ceremony to be held at the Wellcome Collection in London in June 2018Attachment theory:For decades researchers have been interested in how the attachment between parents and their babies might affect how the baby develops into an adult. Elizabeth Meins, Professor of psychology at York University argues that this body of research is now being misinterpreted , leaving parents feeling anxious about whether they're doing the right thingChildren's willpower:The popular image of children is that they have short attention spans and want everything right now. But a new analysis of 50 years of data from the Marshmallow Test - a classic test of self control suggests that children are getting better at delaying gratification. John Protzko of University of California Santa Barbara explains why it's happening. Claudia Hammond's studio guest is fellow judge Mathijs Lucassen , lecturer in mental health at the Open ...

Sibling rivalry, Prisoner of war diaries, Inflammation and depression

Claudia Hammond's guest is Catherine Loveday, Principle lecturer in Psychology at the University of WestminsterIf you have sisters or brothers you probably know all about sibling rivalry. But if you're a parent who despairs over your children squabbling, fear not. Claudia Hammond hears how sibling rivalry can be handled and can have an upside. It's something that should be embraced argues child psychologist Linda Blair, author of a new book Siblings.What insights can diaries and letters from prisoners of war can give us into the imprisoned soldier's minds? We hear from historian Clare Makepeace who has spent years studying the diaries and letters of POWs and Mark McDermott Professor of Health Psychology at the University of East London to discuss the psychological impact the confined experience can have.And new evidence on the link between inflammation in the body and depression. It's the first study ever published showing that inflammation can lead to alterations in how specific new brain cells are formed - a process that leads to depression in a third of patients. As Patricia Zunszain of Kings College London explains, drugs targeting these mechanisms could be the effective antidepressants of the future - drugs which don't tackle mood, but which encourage the creation of new brain cells.

Sleep paralysis; Exploding head syndrome; Robot therapy; Mental health awareness

Claudia Hammond talks to Professor Christopher French from Goldsmiths, University of London about the strange phenomenon of sleep paralysis. As many as 1 in 20 people will experience vivid hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up while also completely unable to move. People also describe a very powerful sense of fear and the feeling of being crushed or that an intruder or something supernatural is there with them. Despite being relatively common, this sleep anomaly is little understood. Even less well known or understood is the frightening experience of 'Exploding Head Syndrome' where someone perceives abrupt and very loud noises when going to sleep or waking up. Also can a robot deliver therapy via your smartphone? Claudia talks to Alison Darcy - Stanford University researcher who's created Woebot - an artificially intelligent chatbot designed to treat depression. Woebot, uses cognitive-behavioural therapy and is available via Facebook messenger. Alison explains how it works and that it's not a replacement for traditional therapy, but it's the first tech based treatment to have been properly scientifically tested and peer reviewed.. Simon Wessley, outgoing president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity MIND discuss mental health awareness campaigns with Claudia. Do they overload already stretched mental health services? Or are they vital to helping people understand their own mental health and are they changing the wider landscape of how these conditions are understood, talked about and de-stigmatised?

Personality change, Roald Dahl's Marvellous Medicine, Insider's Guide, The self-help craze

We tend to assume that once we are adults there are aspects of our personalities that never alter. But a huge new re-analysis of more than 200 studies has found that therapy can change your personality in just a few weeks. The idea of therapy is to make you feel happier, and to help you find a way of resolving your problems. But as Professor Brent Roberts from the University of Illinois reveals, it can also change our personalities in surprising ways.Over 25 years ago as a junior doctor, Tom Solomon soon learnt that a patient on his ward, the children's author Roald Dahl, was fascinated by the brain. Then years later, away from his day job as a neurologist at Liverpool University, he decided to trace the influence of that interest on Dahl's writing. Last year he recounted it in a book which has now been adapted into a stage show for this year's Edinburgh Fringe - Roald Dahl's Marvellous Medicine. He tells Claudia Hammond how Dahl's interest in the brain began with an accident.The final Insiders' Guide to getting the best out of mental health services is probably the most important of all. What to do if you or someone you know is in serious crisis? We hear from Stephen Buckley from Mind, GP Daniel Dietch and Lisa Rodrigues, who's both had mental health difficulties and led services herself.Look in any bookshop at the self-help section, and it appears that a lot of people are trying to change ...

New brain cells and depression; Yoga in prisons; Insiders' Guide; Preferring our own ideas

Neurogenesis is the process where we create new brain cells. Many researchers believe that if someone has depression then neurogenesis is reduced. Could this in some cases even be the cause of depression? It's possible this idea could lead to the discovery of new drugs for depression, drugs which don't tackle mood, but which encourage the creation of new brain cells. Claudia Hammond brought together Timothy Powell, MRC postdoctoral research fellow, and Sandrine Thouret, Head of Neurogenesis and Mental Health, from Kings College London to examine the latest research.The Government has committed to make prisons not just places of detention, but of rehabilitation. Some prisons are hoping that yoga classes could make a difference. Research from Oxford University is beginning to suggest that yoga can help with prisoners' mental health. Claudia Hammond hears from lead researcher and psychologist Amy Bilderbeck, Sam Settle Director of the Prison Phoenix Trust and former prisoner Richard for whom yoga was to become a vital tool during his years as an inmate.This week's Insiders' Guides to mental health asks with all the guidance out there in the public domain, how do you decide what is best for you? We hear from Stephen Buckley from Mind, GP Daniel Dietch and before them Lisa Rodrigues, who's had mental health issues herself and long experience of managing services.Psychologists discovered long ago that most of us think we're better than average at most things - the Lake Wobegon Effect - and that we go round looking for information that ...

Mental health support in the community; Awareness in children; Insiders' Guide

Claudia Hammond has been following some of the first tranche of trainee mental health social workers setting out on the Think Ahead scheme which is getting high-flying graduates into social work. As a 22 year old English graduate Al Toombs was one of the youngest people on the course. It's rare to be able to eavesdrop on actual sessions between mental health professionals of any kind and their clients, but Claudia spent the day with Al in Coventry on visits to clients such as Jo, who's lived with depression for several years whilst juggling a complicated family life.As we grow up we get better at tasks involving thinking. But there is something at which 5 year olds excel and that adults are really not very good at - and that is noticing things. New research by Vladimir Sloutsky, a psychologist at Ohio State University, shows that small children pay more attention to what's going on around them than adults do. It's a skill he thinks we've been underestimating and a finding that holds lessons for the appearances of our primary schools.In this week's Insiders' Guide to getting the best out of mental health services - what should you do if you're not happy with the mental health care you're getting? We hear from Stephen Buckley from Mind, psychiatrist Sri Kalidindi, GP Dr Daniel Dietch and Lisa Rodriguez, who has both experienced mental health problems and run services herself.Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Parent's self stigma and mental health; First impressions; Mental health manifestos; Insiders' Guide

For parents, it can be very hard to watch their child struggle with anxiety. Parents often blame themselves, thinking that it must be their fault that their child feels so worried. What can parents can do about it and how much of a genetic component there is in anxiety? Claudia Hammond meets Professor Cathy Creswell from Reading University who's done extensive practical research helping parents to deal with their child's anxiety, Thalia Eley Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, and Rachel - whose daughter suffers constant anxiety.When we see a photograph of a person we make instant judgements about how trustworthy or competent we think they are. But how reliable are these snap decisions? Claudia meets Professor Alexander Todorov from Princeton University who studies first impressions from faces and has brought his findings together in a new book called Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions.Politicians know people really care about mental health. So what are the different parties promising in their election manifestoes? We set Rachel Schraer from the BBC's political research unit, the task of scrutinising each manifesto and summing it all up for us.The next in our insiders' guide to getting the best out of your mental health services asks if it's a good idea to take a friend or relative along to an appointment with a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist?Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Transient amnesia; Mindfulness in schools; Insiders' Guide; Autism in Somali culture

Claudia Hammond's guest today is Tim Dalgleish a clinical psychologist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge.Transient global amnesia is a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that can't be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or a stroke. Following a letter from a listener who suffered an episode of this curious condition we were intrigued to find out how it is triggered and what's really occurring in the brain. Claudia Hammond spoke with Adam Zeman, Professor of Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology at Exeter University.Is the enthusiasm for mindfulness in schools running ahead of the evidence? The skill of learning to become aware of what's going on around you and in your body and mind at a given moment has been shown to benefit people who've had recurrent episodes of depression. An increasing number of schools are holding mindfulness classes. But when it comes to the research on its benefits in school, the results are mixed. Andre Tomlin started the blog Mental Elf which examines the evidence when it comes to mental health so we got him into the All in the Mind studio to help us examine what difference mindfulness does and doesn't make in school.The latest Insiders Guide to getting the best out of mental health services asks: how do you tell your friends and family that you are having difficulties with your mental health if this is something you've never broached with them before? We hear from Stephen Buckley, Head ...

Mental health support in the community; Insiders' Guide to Mental Health; Confidence

All in the Mind has been following the progress a scheme called Think Ahead, which trains high-flying graduates to become a new generation of mental health social workers. A bit like Teach First, they are taught mostly on the job with a lot of special support. Not everyone in the field supports the idea but there has been no shortage of applicants. One of the first trainees, Charlotte Seymour who used to work in the legal field, is now based in east London where her clients' needs vary - from very practical help with sorting out rent arrears to emotional support when they fear their mental health is deteriorating. She met Emma during a stay in hospital, under section and her mental health is now vastly improved. But a family bereavement has affected her deeply. Despite not eating or sleeping for days she keeps her appointment with Charlotte to discuss how to keep herself safe at this difficult time. In our Insiders' Guide series - if you've been referred to mental health services, what can you expect to happen at that first appointment? Lisa Rodrigues who has had mental health issues herself and has long experience managing mental health services and Sri Kalidindi, a psychiatrist with South London and Maudsley NHS Trust explain what's involved. This includes building up a good rapport and the taking of a full medical history - including traumatic life events and social circumstances. This helps to establish a diagnosis. Making a list might help if ...

The Everyday Effect of Unconscious Bias

We are all guilty of making instant unconscious decisions about other people. Could a greater awareness and a practical approach help to overcome this common hurdle at work?Claudia Hammond hosts a special edition recorded live in front of an audience at the Royal Institution in London to discuss something that happens to all of us - when our minds make snap judgments about other people without us even realising it. It's known as unconscious bias - it doesn't mean bias in any deliberate way. The whole point is that we don't even know it's happening. How does it play out in real life? Claudia Hammond is joined by a panel of experts to discuss what effect the bias in our decision making has on the lives of each and every one of us and what we can do about itTaking part are business psychologist Binna Kandola; Jessica Rowson, from the Institute of Physics who's been examining why more girls don't choose to study physics at school; Emma Chapman, a Royal Astronomical Society fellow; and Louise Archer, Professor of Sociology of Education at King's College London.

Cyber snooping your therapist; Performing anxiety; Insiders' Guide; Bribery and corruption

Whether you're seeing a psychiatrist, a psychologist or another kind of therapist, the tradition has been that the information all goes one way. Professional boundaries tend to be closely guarded, but social media is changing all that. A quick search online might tell you all sorts about a therapist. Should you engage in this kind of cyber snooping and how about the other way round? Claudia Hammond speaks with Louise Chunn, the founder of, an online directory of independent counsellors and psychotherapists and Susanna Hailstone-Walker, a psychotherapist.How can you overcome performance anxiety? For musicians and music students performing in front of audiences and audition panels, the experience can be terrifying. But this is where a digital simulation of the event could help. We visit the Royal College of Music where researchers have designed a concert hall which even includes a nerve-racking waiting area, and grim-faced judges reacting on a screen, to give students a chance to experience what it's like and to try putting the coping skills they've learnt into practice. The next in our insiders' guide to getting the best out of your mental health services asks what can you do if you're worried about the mental health of someone you know, but they don't want to go for help.We tend to think of the descent into corruption as a slippery slope where people do one small thing wrong and then gradually it gets more serious. But psychologists in the Netherlands have discovered that people are more likely ...

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