Leading Figures

Warren Mansell - University of Manchester, UK

Warren Mansell

Warren Mansell is a Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at the University of Manchester, UK. He is responsible for editing the content of PCTWeb.

Warren discovered Perceptual Control Theory through Gary Cziko’s book, Without Miracles, shortly after finishing his PhD on cognitive processes in social anxiety at the University of Oxford around 1998. He had found a framework that seemed to explain why such diverse accounts of psychopathology, including cognitive theories, behavioural theories, psychodynamic approaches and client-centred accounts, seemed to each have something to offer – each of them had identified a facet of human functioning but none of them seemed to get the whole picture. For Warren, PCT provided a mechanistic and philosophical framework that integrated these accounts. In an interview in March 2012, he explains his work on PCT.

Warren now works to promote, disseminate, evaluate and apply PCT. He chairs a special interest group of the UK organization for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – the BABCP – on Control Theory. He practices Method of Levels, trains others with the help of Sara Tai, also at the University of Manchester, and is beginning to evaluate and test it directly.

Click here to visit Warren’s website.

The 2007 International Control Systems Group was hosted by the University of Manchester. The full published conference proceedings are available here

Warren has helped to start up a Facebook site for students of PCT, which can be accessed on the following email.

Key Papers

Mansell, W. (2005). Control Theory and Psychopathology. An Integrative Approach. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice, 78, 141-178.

Higginson, S. & Mansell, W. (2008) What is the Mechanism of Psychological Change? A Qualitative Analysis of Six Individuals who Experienced Personal Change and Recovery Following a Significant Life Difficulty. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 81, 309-328.

Warren also teaches PCT to undergraduate psychologists with Dr Sara Tai both as part of their general syllabus and until recently as a specific module in the third year.
For an overview of the course, click here.

One of these lectures is available online.


Examples of Feedback from Undergraduates on Learning PCT

“PCT as a theory inspires me more and makes greater sense to me than any other psychological theory I have studied in the three years of psychology.”

“PCT and the lecture content has fueled many debates, outside of lectures, within my peer group far more than any previous lectures.”

“It may be the most practical/applicable module I have studied in that it seems totally relevant even ‘outside of the classroom’ unlike some aspects of psychology. The theory is also logical and sensible and does not feel like learning”

“I enjoy the real life application of PCT – in everday life we discuss PCT in relation to our lives, which has never happened before.”

“It is interesting to learn about a theoretical framework that seems to apply to a number of domains and explain things in a different way to traditional psychological theories.”