The Perceptual Control Model of Psychopathology

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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 conflicting control systems, and effective interventions shift and sustain awareness to the source of the conflict to allow trial-and-error changes (reorganisation) in the parameters of the superordinate system to the conflict, until control is restored. Experimental, phenomenological, therapeutic and computational research has examined its mechanisms, and its mode of delivery has extended it from a client-led psychotherapy (Method of Levels) to brief training, group interventions, and computerised modalities.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Jan 2021