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


  • 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
  • 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


  • 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


  • Adrian Wells, Mary Welford, Paul King, Costas Papageorgiou, Julie Wisely, Elizabeth Mendel. (2010). A pilot randomized trial of metacognitive therapy vs applied relaxation in the treatment of adults with generalized anxiety disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48(5), 429-434. eScholarID:80303 | DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2009.11.013
  • Hazel Bennett, Adrian Wells. (2010). Metacognition, memory disorganization and rumination in posttraumatic stress symptoms. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24, 318-325. eScholarID:80302 | DOI:10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.01.004
  • Marcantonio M. Spada, George A. Georgiou, Adrian Wells. (2010). The Relationship among Metacognitions, Attentional Control, and State Anxiety. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 39(1), 64-71. eScholarID:80344 | DOI:10.1080/16506070902991791
  • Nordahl, H.M., Wells, A. Olsson, S.A. & Bjerkeset, O. (2010). The association between abnormal psychosocial situatiions in childhood, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44, 852-858. eScholarID:95994
  • Spada, M.M., Caselli, G. & Wells, A. (2010). Metacognitions as a predictor of drinking status and level of alcohol use following CBT in problem drinkers: A prospective study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47, 882-886. eScholarID:22935 | DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2009.06.010
  • Stian Solem, Samuel G Myers, Peter L. Fisher, Patrick A. Vogel, Adrian Wells. (2010). An empirical test of the metacognitive model of obsessive-compulsive symptoms: Replication and extension. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24(1), 79-86. eScholarID:80347 | DOI:10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.08.009
  • Wells, A. (2010). Metacognitive Theory and Therapy for Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder: Review and Status. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 1, 133-145. eScholarID:95998 | DOI:10.5127/jep.007910

View all publications