Dr Simon Adamson

Dr Simon Adamson

Areas of specialty

I work with adults in the following areas:

  • Alcohol and drug addiction
  • Less severe alcohol and drug misuse
  • Behavioural addictions (including gambling, internet and pornography addiction)

Academic Qualifications

BSc Hons (First Class) (University of Canterbury)
MSc (Distinction) (University of Canterbury)
Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology Applied to Criminal Justice (University of Canterbury)
Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology (University of Canterbury)
PhD (University of Otago)

Professional Qualification

I am registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board in the Clinical Scope of Practice

Professional Affiliations

Member of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists (MNZCCP)
Addiction Practitioners Association Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ)
Society for the Study of Addiction
Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Drugs (APSAD)

Experience and current work environments

I hold a joint academic-clinical appointment with the University of Otago and the Canterbury District Health Board. In addition to my private practice I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine and Deputy Director (Research) of the National Addiction Centre, and work as a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Christchurch Methadone Programme. I have practiced Clinical Psychology for 16 years and I have over forty peer-reviewed publications in the area of addiction assessment and treatment.

Approach to the work

Successful treatment starts with a clear assessment of a client’s current circumstances and history. An initial appointment will usually last one and a half to two hours during which time I will ask a range of questions about the area of concern, broader substance use or other potentially addictive behaviours, daily functioning, and personal history. I welcome involvement of family/whanau at this point or at any other times during treatment.

In treating alcohol and drug problems and other addictions, I use a range of techniques that vary – depending on the individual. These may involve enhancing motivation, examining the function of the problem behaviour in order to find alternative ways to meet these needs, or changing the circumstances that are supporting the problem behaviour. I also liaise with GPs or psychiatrists when medication may be useful. Once change has been made, learning to avoid relapse can enhance treatment effectiveness. While I operate from a psychological understanding of addiction, I am comfortable with supporting people who wish to engage with the 12-step model (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous).


My clinic days are Mondays and Thursdays 9am to 6pm. I can usually provide an initial appointment within two weeks of contact.

Articles of interest written for this website

Addictions: Drinking
Drugs and alcohol in your family
Problem gambling
Alcohol and Our Community
Alcohol and Drug Use in Movies
Drinking in Older Adults
The Christchurch Earthquakes and Ongoing Stress
Adolescent Alcohol and Parenting
Keeping a Lid on your Drinking
Compulsive Shopping
Heroin Addiction
Internet Gaming Disorder

Media Presentations

Dr Simon Adamson’s November 2014 keynote address to APSAD in Adelaide on
Controlled Drinking – the Science and the Art.

Contact details

Dr Simon Adamson
The Bealey Centre
110 Bealey Ave
Christchurch 8013
Ph 365-6312
Fax 365-6311