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Professor Adrian Wells PhD, AFBPsS, C.Psychol

Professor of Clinical & Experimental Psychopathology

Department of Clinical Psychology
Rawnsley Building
Manchester Royal Infirmary
Oxford Road
Manchester M23 9LT

Clinical Psychology Home Page


  1. Information processing and emotional disorders
  2. Metacognitive therapy
  3. Cognitive behavioural therapies
  4. Anxiety disorders and phobias: nature and treatment
  5. Social anxiety disorder
  6. Worry and intrusive thoughts
  7. Post-traumatic stress: predictors and treatment
  8. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  9. Depression

Methodological Knowledge

  1. Assessent of individual differences (questionnaire design and analysis)
  2. Experimental psychopathology
  3. Single case and small n research methods
  4. Clinical Trials


Adrian Wells' research interests are in the areas of cognitive theory and therapy, emotional disorders and metacognitive therapy. He has contributed to an understanding of mechanisms underlying general vulnerability to disorder, and the development of new treatments for social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety, trauma reactions, and obsessions. His book: Attention and Emotion: A Clinical Perspective (co-authored with G. Matthews) was awarded the 1998 British Psychological Society Book Award for significant contributions to psychology. His book: "Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders: A Practice Manual and Conceptual Guide" has become a benchmark therapists’ text. More recently his work has focused on understanding the cognitive mechanisms in disorder maintenance and change, which has given rise to a new form of therapy based on principles of metacognition. This work is described in his book "Emotional Disorders & Metacognition: Innovative Cognitive Therapy. Chichester, UK: Wiley. Adrian Wells is the originator of Metacognitive Therapy (MCT) which is undergoing evaluation in controlled trials.  MCT for Generalized Anxiety has recently been included in NHS NICE guidelines. Professor Wells is author of the treatment manual: Metacognitive Therapy for Anxiety and Depression (2009); New York, Guilford Press.


B.Sc (Hons) Aston University
Ph.D Aston University
M.Sc. Clinical Psychology. Leeds University
Diploma in Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania

Collaborators and affiliated staff


  • Prof. Chris Brewin (University College London)
  • Prof. Hans Nordahl (Norwegian University Trondheim)
  • Dr. Peter Fisher (University of Liverpool)
  • Prof. Gerald Matthews (University of Cincinatti)
  • Prof. Marcantonio Spada (LSBU)

Professor Francis Creed

Selected publications


  • Wells, A & Matthews, G. (2015).

    Attention and Emotion. Hove, UK: Psychology press. eScholarID:250089

  • Austin, S.F., Mors, O., Mordentoft, M., Hjorthoj, C.R., Secher, R.G., Hesse, M., Hagen, R., Spada, M. & Wells, A. (2015).

    Schizophrenia and metacognition: An investigation of course of illness and metacognitive beliefs within a first episode psychosis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39, 61-69. eScholarID:258645

  • Callinan, S., Johnson, D. & Wells, A. (2015).

    A randomised controlled study of the effects of the attention training technique on traumatic stress symptoms, emotional set shifting and flexibility. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39, 4-13. eScholarID:258646

  • Malik, S., Wells, A., & Wittkowski, A. (2015).

    Emotion regulation as a mediator in the relationship between attachment and depressive symptomatology: A systematic review. J Affect Disord, 172, 428-444. eScholarID:250086

  • Papageorgiou, C & Wells, A. (2015).

    Group metacognitive therapy for severe antidepressant and CBT resistant depression: A baseline-controlled trial. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39, 14-22. eScholarID:258647

  • Wells, A., Walton, D., Lovell,K. & Proctor, D. (2015).

    Metacognitive therapy versus prolonged exposure in adults with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder: A parallel randomized controlled trial. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39, 70-80. eScholarID:258648

  • Yilmaz, A. E., Gençöz, T., & Wells, A. (2015).

    Unique Contributions of Metacognition and Cognition to Depressive Symptoms. J Gen Psychol, 142, 23-33. eScholarID:250084


  • Wells, A. & Carter, K. (2014).

    Generalised Anxiety Disorder. In Carr, A & McNulty, M (Ed.), The Handbook of adult clinical psychology: an evidence based practice approach. UK: Routledge. eScholarID:250092

  • Bailey, R., & Wells, A. (2014).

    Metacognitive Therapy in the Treatment of Hypochondriasis: A Systematic Case Series. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38, 541-550. eScholarID:250076

  • Hutton, P., Morrison, A. P., Wardle, M., & Wells, A. (2014).

    Metacognitive Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Psychosis: A Multiple-Baseline Study. B C P, 42, 166-185. eScholarID:250072

  • Malik, S., Wells, A. & Wittkowski, A. (2014).

    Emotion regulation as a mediator in the relationship between attachment and depressive symptomatology: A systematic review. J Affect Disord, eScholarID:201486

  • Morrison, A. P., Pyle, M., Chapman, N., French, P., Parker, S. K., & Wells, A. (2014).

    Metacognitive therapy in people with a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis and medication resistant symptoms: A feasibility study. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry, 45, 280-284. eScholarID:250080

  • Nassif, Y., & Wells, A. (2014).

    Attention Training Reduces Intrusive Thoughts Cued by a Narrative of Stressful Life Events: A Controlled Study. J Clin Psychol, 70, 510-517. eScholarID:250062

  • Wells, A., & Roussis, P. (2014).

    Refraining from intrusive thoughts is strategy dependent: A comment on Sugiura, et al. and a preliminary informal test of detached mindfulness, acceptance, and other strategies. Psychol Rep, 115, 541-544. eScholarID:250068

  • Welsh, P., Cartwright‐Hatton, S., Wells, A., Snow, L., & Tiffin, P. A. (2014).

    Metacognitive beliefs in adolescents with an at‐risk mental state for psychosis. Early Interv Psychiatry, 8, 82-86. eScholarID:250058


  • Bevan, D., Wittkowski, A. & Wells, A. (2013).

    A multiple-baseline study of the effects associated with metacognitive therapy in postpartum depression. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, 58(1), 69-75. eScholarID:172793

  • Beven, D., Wittkowski, A. & Wells A. (2013).

    A multiple-baseline study of the effects associated with metacognitive therapy in postpartum depression. J Midwifery Womens Health, 58, 69. eScholarID:250004

  • Hjemdal, O., Hagen, R., Nordahl, H.M. & Wells, A. (2013).

    Metacognitive therapy for generalized anxiety disorder: Nature, evidence and an individual case illustration. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 20, 301-313. eScholarID:198481

  • Hjemdal, O., Stiles, T. & Wells, A. (2013).

    Automatic thoughts and metacognition as predictor of depressive and anxious symptoms: A prospective study of two trajectories. S J O P, 54, 59. eScholarID:250046

  • Hutton, P., Morrison, A.P., Wardle, M. & Wells, A. (2013).

    Metacognitive therapy in treatment-resistant psychosis: A multiple-baseline study. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 1-20. eScholarID:198479

  • Myers. S.G. & Wells, A. (2013).

    An experimental manipulation of metacognition: A test of the metacognitive model of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Behav Res Ther, 51, 177-184. eScholarID:250031


  • Dragan, M., Dragan, W.L., Kononowicz, T., Wells, A. (2012).

    On the relationship between temperament, metacognition, and anxiety: independent and mediated effects. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 25(6), 697-710. eScholarID:173075 | DOI:10.1080/10615806.2011.630071

  • Spada, M.M., Caselli, G., Wells, A. (In-press). A triphasic metacognitive formulation of problem drinking. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, eScholarID:173135 | DOI:10.1002/cpp.1791
  • Wells, A., Colbear, J.S. (2012).

    Treating posttruamtic stress disorder with metacognitive therapy: A preliminary controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68(4), 373-381. eScholarID:159318 | DOI:10.1002/jclp.20871

  • Wells, A., Fisher P., Myers, S., Wheatley, J., Patel, T., Brewin, C.R. (2012).

    Metacognitive therapy in treatment-resistant depression: A platform trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50, 367-373. eScholarID:159311 | DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.004


  • Fisher, P. & Wells, A. (2011).

    Metakognitive Terapi. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Akademisk. eScholarID:128144

  • Wells, A. (2011).

    Kognitive Therapie der Angststorungen. dgvt- Verlag. eScholarID:179986

  • Wells, A. (2011).

    Metakognitive Therapie bei Angoststorungen und Depression. Weinheim, Basel: Beltz Verlag. eScholarID:128145

  • Lorraine Maher-Edwards, Bruce A Fernie, Gabrielle Murphy, Adrian Wells, Marcantonio M. Spada. (2011).

    Metacognitions and negative emotions as predictors of symptom severity in chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 70(4), 311-317. eScholarID:123443 | DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.09.016

  • Maher-Edwards L.M., Fernie, B.A., Murphy, G., Wells, A., Spada, M. (In-press). Metacognitions and negative emotions as predictors of symptom severity in chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, eScholarID:128146
  • Yilmaz, A.E., Gencoz, T. & Wells, A. (2011).

    The temporal precedence of metacognition in the development of anxiety and depression symptoms in the context of life stress: A prospective study. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25, 389-396. eScholarID:128143 | DOI:10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.11.001

  • Adrian Wells, Peter Fisher. (2011).

    Meta-cognitive therapy without metacognition: A case of ADHD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(3), 327-327. eScholarID:123445

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