Warren Mansell

Warren Mansell
The University of Manchester · School of Psychological Sciences

About

256
Publications
126,644
Reads
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6,693
Citations
Introduction
Following a PhD at University of Oxford, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, I came to the University of Manchester where I am currently a Reader in Clinical Psychology. The focus of my research is psychological approaches to bipolar disorder, transdiagnostic interventions for mental health problems (e.g. A Transdiagnostic Approach to CBT using Method of Levels Therapy), and Perceptual Control Theory.
Additional affiliations
January 2005 - December 2012
The University of Manchester
January 2005 - present

Publications

Publications (256)
Method
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The D-DACS is an observer-rated coding system developed to code the verbal manifestations of the hypothesised locations of awareness and their duration, occurring within the client in therapy.
Article
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The construct of ‘control’ is virtually ubiquitous in psychology and it links to a comprehensive range of real-world outcomes. Control theory is critically important in this regard since it describes and models the dynamic systems that enable control to occur. Yet, the origins and principles of control theory in psychology are often misunderstood....
Article
The field of psychopathology needs a paradigm shift to revitalise its research methodology and translational practice. We describe Darwin’s transformation of biology and its implications for science and culture, and we infer the implications of an analogous approach to psychopathology. Darwin challenged the assumptions of the biological classificat...
Research Proposal
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The PCTEAM study is designed as a randomised open two parallel group non-inferiority trial comparing TCC and LII with outcomes of depression and anxiety measured at baseline, 6 months and 12 months post baseline. Randomisation will be performed as block randomisation with a 1:1 allocation. A nested qualitative study will be conducted using semi-st...
Preprint
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Consciousness has been conceptualised as a globally available workspace and as information integration, but both approaches appear to lack a role for the intrinsic purposiveness of living organisms. A number of accounts have proposed a role for consciousness in the prediction of sensory input, yet these proposals do not address how organisms deal w...
Article
Background Sleep disturbance is considered a transdiagnostic process due to high comorbidity with mental health difficulties. In particular, sleep disturbances are a feature of mood disorders. To advance transdiagnostic psychological interventions targeting sleep, the Positive and Negative Sleep Appraisal Measure (PANSAM) was developed. The PANSAM...
Preprint
Full-text available
Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) requires large samples and a long training time to operate optimally. Yet humans rarely require long periods training to perform well on novel tasks, such as computer games, once they are provided with an accurate program of instructions. We used perceptual control theory (PCT) to construct a simple closed-loop mod...
Article
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There are many different approaches to psychotherapy. Research indicates comparable effectiveness of various therapies, despite having different theoretical assumptions and using different therapeutic methods. In recent years, many researchers have attempted to understand such results by investigating specific and common factors in psychotherapy. I...
Article
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Research studies have identified various different mechanisms in the effects of nature engagement on well-being and mental health. However, rarely are multiple pathways examined in the same study and little use has been made of first-hand, experiential accounts through interviews. Therefore, a semi-structured interview was conducted with seven fema...
Article
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Objectives This paper aims to identify potential areas for refinement in existing theoretical models of suicide, and introduce a new integrative theoretical framework for understanding suicide, that could inform such refinements. Methods Literature on existing theoretical models of suicide and how they contribute to understanding psychological pro...
Article
Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) states that behaviour controls perception; we act against disturbances in the environment to align hierarchically organised perceived aspects of the self and the world with neurally specified reference values. The diverse symptoms of psychopathology are each examples of loss of control, which are maintained by confli...
Article
Mood monitoring is widely used in the treatment and self‐management of bipolar mood swings. Typically, service‐users record their affective states in a paper or electronic diary over an extended period (e.g. weeks, months). The aim is to help people to achieve greater awareness and understanding of their affective states, which then enables them to...
Article
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Sensorimotor delays dictate that humans act on outdated perceptual information. As a result, continuous manual tracking of an unpredictable target incurs significant response delays. However, no such delays are observed for repeating targets such as the sinusoids. Findings of this kind have led researchers to claim that the nervous system construct...
Article
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The quality of parent-child relationships during adolescence has the potential to impact adolescents' mental health. This study explored how seven dyads (parent-child) might experience a two-component intervention (Method of Levels therapy-MOL and a parent-child activity) over four months. Following this, six dyads were interviewed and a thematic a...
Article
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The Covid-19 crisis has clarified the demand for an ultra-brief single-session, online, theory-led, empirically supported, psychological intervention for managing stress and improving well-being, especially for people within organizational settings. We designed and delivered “4Ds for Dealing with Distress” during the crisis to address this need. 4D...
Article
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This study investigated clinical and process factors involved in a client-led psychological intervention (Method of Levels therapy- MOL). MOL offered 16 adolescents choice and control over attendance (by using a self-booking system) and topics discussed in sessions. Process measures examining empowerment and ability to resolve psychological conflic...
Preprint
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Method of Levels is a transdiagnostic CBT that uses brief questions to shift and sustain a client's awareness as they talk about their difficulties. Pragmatic, non-randomised studies have found that people presenting with a range of mental health problems who receive Method of Levels (MOL) show a reduction in distress and symptoms. This study prese...
Article
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Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) theorizes that a creature’s behaviour is varied so that their perception can reach and maintain certain fixed limits, despite external disturbances. The distinguishing characteristic of PCT is that the controlled variables are the inputs (perceptions, as opposed to the system outputs). This paper presents the first d...
Article
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Different meta-emotion strategies are often categorised as either adaptive (e.g. compassionate care) or maladaptive (e.g. suppression). Yet some evidence indicates that the same strategy can be adaptive in one culture and maladaptive in another. We aimed to test whether meta-emotion strategies and their effects can in fact vary across different soc...
Article
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Problems most frequently reported by young people in school-counselling relate to family difficulties. During adolescence, conflict between parents and young people increases as young people move towards independence whilst still reliant on parents. The quality of communication during this period has implications for young people’s wellbeing. The c...
Article
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Traditional research methodologies typically assume that humans operate on the basis of an “open loop” stimulus-process-response rather than the “closed loop” control of internal state. They also average behavioral data across repeated measures rather than assess it continuously, and they draw inferences about the working of an individual from stat...
Article
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It is commonly thought that the mind constructs predictive models of the environment to plan an appropriate behavioral response. Therefore a more predictable environment should entail better performance, and prey should move in an unpredictable (random) manner to evade capture, known as protean motion. To test this, we created a novel experimental...
Article
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Psychological difficulties among young people are common. Various initiatives are being proposed in schools, yet no evidence-based data is available on how to address family difficulties (the most prevalent issues in school-based counselling). The current study examined the use of a two-component intervention based on the principles of Perceptual C...
Article
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Objective: To understand the therapeutic processes associated with the helpfulness of an online relational agent intervention, Manage Your Life Online (MYLO). Methods: Fifteen participants experiencing a mental health related problem used Manage Your Life Online for 2 weeks. At follow-up, the participants each identified two helpful and two unhe...
Article
Background Sleep and mood are known to be linked and this is particularly evident in people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (BD). It has been proposed that psychological interventions improving sleep can be a pathway for improving mood. In order for a psychological sleep intervention to be appropriate, the common cognitive processes maintainin...
Article
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Perceptual control theory (PCT) proposes that perceptual inputs are controlled to intentional 'reference' states by hierarchical negative feedback control, evidence for which comes from manual tracking experiments in humans. We reviewed these experiments to determine whether tracking is process of perceptual control, and to assess the state-of-the-...
Chapter
The central tenet of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) is that ‘behavior is the control of perception’. From this tenet, a series of further elements are utiized to provide the necessary conceptual and mathematical detail for building and testing functional models of the behavior of humans, animals and purposeful machines. This chapter traces the ele...
Chapter
Method of Levels (MOL) is a psychological therapy based on perceptual control theory. MOL involves the therapist asking curious questions to help the client talk freely and openly about a problem to explore their own solutions. MOL helps a client to shift and sustain attention on the source of conflict between important life goals. MOL has unique f...
Article
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This paper compares and analyzes two ostensibly disparate fields of professional practice: the mediation of disputes and a psychological therapy called Method of Levels (MOL). Mediators address interpersonal conflicts, while MOL therapists help clients cope with intrapersonal conflicts. The academic literatures of the two practices do not overlap....
Article
Behavioural experiments are an important component of cognitive behavioural therapy. However, there exists little up‐to‐date guidance on how to conduct these in people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This paper provides recommendations on how to conduct behavioural experiments in people with bipolar disorder. The aim is to upskill and empower...
Article
Background It is important to understand the factors associated with more severe mood symptoms in bipolar disorder. The integrative cognitive model of bipolar disorder proposes that extreme appraisals of changes to internal states maintain and exacerbate mood symptoms. Aims The current study aimed to investigate if post-traumatic stress disorder (...
Article
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Background: The use of conversational agent interventions (including chatbots and robots) in mental health is growing at a fast pace. Recent existing reviews have focused exclusively on a subset of embodied conversational agent interventions despite other modalities aiming to achieve the common goal of improved mental health. Objective: This stu...
Article
Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to better understand the magnitude and consistency of the association between childhood adversity and borderline personality disorder (BPD) across case-control, epidemiological and prospective cohort studies. Method: Following the review protocol (reference: CRD42017075179), search terms pertaining to...
Conference Paper
This paper compares and examines two ostensibly disparate fields of professional practice: mediation of disputes and a psychological therapy called Method of Levels (MOL). Mediators address interpersonal conflicts, while MOL therapists help clients cope with intrapersonal conflicts. The academic literatures of the two fields have never overlapped....
Article
Architecture students have been reported to experience significant stress, yet little has been researched. This study aims to examine how architecture students experience and cope with stress. Twelve participants studying Architecture at bachelors and masters levels took part in individual interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analys...
Article
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Mental health problems often arise in adolescence. Schools have been recognised as a potential hub for support; however, delivering targeted interventions in schools can be difficult due to impracticalities. Subsequently, students have little or no say in the support process. Given the importance of control in well‐being, the current study explored...
Article
Introduction: Social isolation can be problematic for people with dementia; understanding what makes communication meaningful may reduce such risk. Scientific rationale: Previous research has examined caregivers' or professionals' experiences of meaningful communication. Understanding this from the perspectives of people with dementia could enha...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility and acceptability of a novel psychological therapy (Method of Levels) amongst adolescents experiencing psychological distress. An initial estimated effect size and a clinical significance analysis were undertaken which will help inform future studies. A case-series of 16 participants utilised th...
Article
Many psychological therapies help clients to direct and sustain their awareness onto specific aspects of their problems to promote change. Yet, no theory-driven measure exists that can code moment-by-moment changes in awareness during a therapy session. It is known that awareness plays a crucial role in the process of change, but little is known ab...
Article
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Method of levels (MOL) is a cognitive therapy with an emerging evidence base. It is grounded in perceptual control theory, and its transdiagnostic nature means techniques are widely applicable and not diagnosis‐specific. This paper contributes to psychotherapy process research by investigating a key technique of MOL, asking about disruptions, and i...
Article
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Objective: We aimed to determine the feasibility and acceptability of Method of Levels (MOL) for people experiencing first-episode psychosis (FEP) to inform decision making about the therapy's suitability for further testing in a larger clinical trial. Method: A parallel group randomized controlled trial design was used. Participants (N = 36) we...
Research
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Background: Perceptual control theory proposes that psychological distress is a function of goal conflict. When goal conflict is held outside awareness then distress is maintained, whereas the sustained awareness to the source of goal conflict facilitates improvement. Aims: We tested this account in a sample of 48 spider-fearful participants. Metho...
Article
Sleep problems are common with nearly one in three people reporting disturbed sleep. In line with guidelines, most people experiencing poor sleep in the United Kingdom are referred for cognitive and behavioral treatment approaches. A large proportion of these clients are seen by Psychological Well-being Practitioners (PWPs) delivering low-intensity...
Article
Background: Bipolar disorder (BD) is considered to have a significantly negative impact on functioning and prognosis is considered poor. Current treatments are modestly effective and predominantly focus on reducing extreme mood fluctuations and symptoms, yet less is known about what patients themselves describe as distressing. Therefore we aimed to...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The use of relational agent interventions in mental health is growing at pace. Recent existing reviews have focussed exclusively on a subset of embodied relational agent interventions despite other modalities aiming to achieve the common goal of improved mental health. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to review the use of relational agent int...
Article
Full-text available
Perceptual control theory (PCT) approaches the behavior of living systems as though it were a phenomenon of control and systematically assesses the variables that the individual controls using the test for the controlled variable (TCV). PCT may be supported by the minority because the majority of behavior scientists, like most people, can miss the...
Article
Bipolar disorder (BD) is considered a severe and lifelong mental health diagnosis. However, there is growing evidence of people defying the odds and recovering. Processes underlying recovery remain poorly understood. This study aimed to explore these recovery processes and extend on the length of recovery defined within previous research. Twelve pe...
Article
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In this study, we aimed to understand how people with first‐episode psychosis experienced a transdiagnostic cognitive therapy called method of levels (MOL). Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 individuals who were participants of a feasibility randomized controlled trial of MOL for first‐episode psychosis. Interviews were analysed usin...
Article
Background: Theoretical frameworks emphasise associations between interpretations and responses to affect and bipolar disorder (BD). This review (PROSPERO CRD42016043801) investigated which emotion regulation (ER) strategies have been applied to BD, are elevated in BD compared to clinical and non-clinical controls, and are associated with clinical...
Article
Background Many people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder associate positive qualities with their condition, which may place a ceiling on the effectiveness of treatment and the likelihood of recovery. However, the extent to which patients would, or would not, want to be free of their bipolar disorder has not been directly assessed. Method An int...
Article
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Objectives Common mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are highly prevalent and carry significant health care and economic burdens. The UK's improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) initiative was developed as a cost‐effective way of reducing the pernicious effects of these disorders. IAPT interventions, such as guided s...
Article
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Objectives: To demonstrate the power of integrating three theoretical perspectives (Mentalization Theory, Perceptual Control Theory and the Communicative Impact model), which jointly illuminate the communication challenges and opportunities faced by family carers of people with dementia. To point the way to how this framework informs the design an...
Article
Recent advances in transdiagnostic cognitive therapy such as Method of Levels therapy have utilized perceptual control theory (PCT). The current study reports the development and preliminary investigations of the psychometric properties of a newly developed coding scheme – the Depth and Duration of Awareness Coding Scheme (D-DACS) – which utilizes...
Article
Purpose To conduct a thematic synthesis to evaluate qualitative studies exploring individuals’ experiences of psychological‐based interventions for bipolar disorder (BD). Method A systematic search of relevant databases (Web of Science, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, CINAHL) was conducted using predefined search terms related to ‘Bipolar’ ‘Qualitative method’...
Article
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Background: Method of levels (MOL) is an innovative transdiagnostic cognitive therapy with potential advantages over existing psychological treatments for psychosis. Aims: The Next Level study is a feasibility randomised controlled trial (RCT) of MOL for people experiencing first-episode psychosis. It aims to determine the suitability of MOL for f...
Article
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In this study, we aim to increase our understanding of the self-reported sources of distress among people who have experienced first-episode psychosis. Following a systematic literature search, 33 relevant studies containing first-person accounts of first-episode psychosis were identified, which were synthesized using thematic analysis. Two interre...
Research
Full-text available
Background The underlying mechanism underlying psychological change is still undetermined. This has led to the charge of the dodo4bird'verdict regarding the plethora of psychotherapies all of seemingly equal efficacy. The burgeoning number of psychotherapies with the attendant cost of service delivery, and sometimesWlimited efficacy has led to...
Experiment Findings
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Background The underlying mechanism underlying psychological change is still undetermined. This has led to the charge of the dodo4bird'verdict regarding the plethora of psychotherapies all of seemingly equal efficacy. The burgeoning number of psychotherapies with the attendant cost of service delivery, and sometimesWlimited efficacy has led to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The underlying mechanism underlying psychological change is still undetermined. This has led to the charge of the dodo bird verdict regarding the plethora of psychotherapies all of seemingly equal efficacy. The burgeoning number of psychotherapies with the attendant cost of service delivery, and sometimesWlimited efficacy has led t...
Research
Full-text available
Background: Many key researchers have noted the importance of fully understanding the mechanism of psychological change, as it is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of psychology in need of investigation. Such an investigation however, has proven challenging both methodologically and scientifically, as no coherent and comprehensive expla...
Article
Full-text available
An ever-growing number of transdiagnostic processes that maintain psychopathology across disorders have been identified. However, such processes are not consistently associated with psychological distress and symptoms. An understanding of what makes such processes pathological is required. One possibility is that individual differences in rigidity...
Article
En este artículo, presentaré la terapia del Método de Niveles (MOL; Carey, 2006) como una solución sencilla a muchas de las cuestiones y complejidades de las prestaciones en salud mental en todo el mundo. Primero, trataré de explicar que los problemas relacionados con la asistencia a personas que padecen problemas de salud mental y experimentan mal...
Preprint
Full-text available
The study of emotion regulation is a popular topic for research and has been applied to wide domains of psychology. However, much is yet to be discovered about the complex processes that operate when individuals navigate their own emotion regulation with that of other people. Furthermore, little is known first hand about the motives behind emotion...
Article
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Objectives Despite the promising effectiveness findings for transdiagnostic groups, studies have not explored clients' experiences. There is a risk that clients could perceive that the content of transdiagnostic groups is not sufficiently tailored to their specific problems. Our aims were to examine whether a brief transdiagnostic group, the Take C...
Preprint
Full-text available
Current theories make the assumption that avoidance is a problem for people with fears and phobias. Furthermore, 'avoidance' is rarely defined in precise, operational terms. For example, it has been ambiguously used to refer both to the action of moving away from a feared object and the maintenance of a fixed defensive distance. In contrast, we tak...
Conference Paper
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Voluntary action is goal oriented. It follows that actions are undertaken in order that the senses perceive a change in the variable of interest until the goal is achieved. Thus, behaviour operates in a closed loop. This is often overlooked in psychological experiments, particularly discrete reaction time tasks. Conversely, continuous tasks such as...
Preprint
Full-text available
We reviewed the studies that had attempted to identify the role of the level of client's control of their own exposure during exposure therapy for anxiety disorders. We found a wide range of conceptualisations of 'control' and a range of confounds and limitations. Given the theoretical, clinical and ethical importance of control in exposure therapy...
Article
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Replication in the behavioral sciences is a matter of considerable debate. We describe a series of fundamental interrelated conceptual and methodological issues with current research that undermine replication and we explain how they could be addressed. Conceptually, we need a shift (a) from verbally described theories to mathematically specified t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Common factors; integrative psychotherapy; emotional processing