Dr. Warren Mansell

Warren Mansell (@warrenmansell) is a Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at the University of Manchester, specialising in psychological approaches to bipolar disorder, transdiagnostic interventions for mental health problems, and Perceptual Control Theory.

In 2011 he received the British Psychological Society May Davidson Award for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychology in the first ten years since qualifying as a clinical psychologist.

He is the author of a number of books including “The Bluffer’s Guide to Psychology“, “Coping with Fears and Phobias: A Step-by-step Guide to Understanding and Facing Your Anxieties“, and the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion “A Transdiagnostic Approach to CBT using Method of Levels Therapy“.

In today’s episode we explore the transdiagnostic approach to understanding psychological distress, how a loss of control is at the root of all mental health problems from anorexia to OCD, and why Method of Levels could prove to be the Holy Grail of psychotherapy.



The transdiagnostic processes common across all psychological disorders, and the fundamental process which underlies them all… Loss of control caused by conflicting goals.


Related Links

PCTWeb – The theory of control that is changing our world view

Method of Levels (MOL) – A way of helping people listen to themselves

Method of Levels and Life’s Journey – A demonstration of a Method of Levels therapy in action

Book Recommendations



Image courtesy: Max Pixel

7 replies
  1. Lily Bell
    Lily Bell says:

    Thankyou so much. This really spoke to me. I have a long standing problem with breaking down every time I have been discharged from the mental health programmes I’ve been on. I now see this is because I felt I had a lack of control, and conflicting goals of wanting to be independant but also being very dependant still on them. Anyway sorry for the essay! Is there any links you can give me to people who give method of levels therapy? I’m willing to travel. Thanks.

  2. Ev
    Ev says:

    This is my favorite episode Danny. I like how Warren Mansell break things down ( super clear) and I understood couple things about myself as well. I’ll be sure to read up more on the subject.
    Thank you for interesting conversation.

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Hi Ev,

      Thank you for listening. Really glad you enjoyed the episode.

      I recorded my Method of Levels therapy session with Warren a couple of days ago, and I’ll be posting it as an episode in a few weeks time. Hopefully, it’ll give a little more insight into what the therapy looks like in practise.

      Thanks again for the feedback. ~ Danny

  3. Chris
    Chris says:

    I enjoyed this Interesting conversation – great to hear some questions of the validity of the pseudo medical model and the voted into existence DSM disorders – interesting to hear Warren is ‘on the fence’.

    It would be great to hear any conversation like this that is promoting a product, theory or therapy with some clarity on self-interest and the limitations that this imposes on us all. This is worth reading on this topic https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Interest-Psychology-Materialist-Understanding/dp/1898059713

    During the conversation Warren said something like – Critical to wellbeing and the way we want to live our lives is control of our own senses and experiences -I wonder what is meant by this?

    It seems to me that most of us have very little control over many aspects of our lives –(let alone the unresolved long standing debate on free will and determinism) no one chose their family, their country of birth, when they die,how, their inherent capacities, the political ideology they are born into and the power of policy that flows from it, nor the vast powers of economy, education systems, family systems, media, class, community (or lack of) etc – each of these components is vast and exert huge often unseen power over our lives.

    The line or continuum he mentioned that we are all on is interesting – triggers to suffering are often not obvious for many but more often about many paper cut harms over time– increased pressure and stress from a job, money issues, relationship issues, loss, pain, substances inc prescribed drugs, diagnosis and acting as if on the back of it –all of these are obvious harms that we can all point to but they are set in the context of the far greater powers mentioned above – this means focussing attention or therapy on the obvious helps to hide where the real harms are within the system leaving us all vulnerable to further harm.

    Most large scale surveys tell us that a large majority of people hate their jobs – most jobs are repetitive mundane tasks that bend body and mind out of shape, diminish us as people and cause great harm to any possibility of community life- many muscular skeletal problems are caused and maintained by jobs – where is the conversation on job harm in the culture? all we have is department of health funded studies telling us jobs are good for us – no surprise there.

    I’ve worked my entire life in various roles and in each place I notice the majority (me included) of people are frequently locked into complaining about their jobs, wishing their lives away longing for the next weekend, short break or even retirement but these same people are so conditioned they will also assert when they sense they have over stepped the complainers mark ‘don’t get me wrong I love my job’ what about a discussion around this? http://neweconomics.org/2010/02/21-hours/

    My own journey with suffering some years ago and periodically now was set in the obvious issues outlined above and while I am okayish now I know I am vulnerable to further harms because the system around me is constantly influencing me in the ways already mentioned.

    I do not choose or control any of this – not on my own, but working together with others we have a chance to change things for the better. Shame services are not helping us create ‘outsight’ but rather we’re all stuck attempting to change individual selves with ‘insight’ to simply fit in with the structural harms that we must change if human wellbeing is to be realised. The power of psychology is also bound tightly up with the system something this is also covers interestingly https://www.amazon.co.uk/Psychology-Capitalism-Manipulation-Ron-Roberts/dp/1782796541

    Sorry to end on a negative but we’ve had around 100 years of clinical psychology and its hundreds of ‘therapies’ even longer with psychiatry with its drugs and disorders and we have more suffering than ever with the WHO predicting that soon the cultural disorder known as depression will be the biggest cause of suffering on earth.Surely its time to stop looking within and start to look out join together and work on the changes we need for human beings to thrive.


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