An Introduction to the Method of Levels : A transdiagnostic approach to effective and efficient patient – centred treatment.

A Two Day Practical Workshop Led by Dr Sara Tai ,  Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester and Consultant Clinical Psychologist for Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Venue: Yorkshire Dance, St Peters’s Buildings, St. Peters Square, Leeds, LS9 8AH

Dates: 27th and 28th November 2014

Click here for map and directions

There are many challenges for clinicians providing evidence-based treatments for the wide range of problems patients present with. Often, the patient’s description of the problem doesn’t match the problem outlined in the referral. Moreover, comorbid presentations are the rule rather than the exception; yet many treatments are designed to be disorder specific. Furthermore, while treatments are designed to be provided in regular weekly or fortnightly schedules they are often delivered according to a variable and unpredictable schedule due to cancelled and missed appointments by patients. Finally, many treatments emphasise the utilization of various unique and innovative strategies and techniques yet many of these activities actually reflect common underlying evidence-based principles of effective treatment. A therapy therefore that could be applied transdiagnostically, according to a variable treatment session schedule, and based on robust principles of psychological distress and psychological change, would be extremely useful for clinicians. The Method of Levels (MOL) is a transdiagnostic cognitive therapy that underpins techniques such as exposure and cognitive restructuring. It is informed by the principles of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) and uses a flexible, adaptive, and effective treatment protocol. The ethos of stepped care is incorporated within this protocol, however, it is the patients rather than the clinicians who direct the “stepping”. MOL engages the resources of the patient to promote their own recovery in a way that is likely to be enduring and generative. MOL takes a transdiagnostic approach by providing treatment centered around the patient’s perspective, and so is well suited to complex problems and long-term conditions as well as addressing some of the more challenging aspects of therapy such as noncompliance, lack of engagement, and poor motivation. MOL can be used as a standalone therapy or can be incorporated into therapist’s existing evidence-based practices to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency.

Importantly, the practice of MOL centres around two explicit goals, which can be learned quickly allowing maximum time for practice and consolidation of the questioning approach adopted by MOL therapists. This workshop will provide an introduction the theory and practice of MOL as a transdiagnostic cognitive therapy. Implications for services will be discussed and research evidence will be presented.

A large part of the workshop will involve participants practicing the skills of the MOL in role-play situations as well as having direct experience with evaluative materials in order to become familiar with resources to facilitate progress and improvement.

Key learning objectives:

By the end of the workshop the participants will have had opportunities to: 

  • Examine their own implicit models of therapeutic change;
  • Learn techniques to promote the participation and engagement of patients;
  • Explore the problem solving process of psychological reorganisation and how best to promote it;
  • Trouble-shoot ways of addressing and overcoming common problems in therapy such as poor engagement and motivation; and,
  • Develop ways of delivering cognitive therapy flexibly and adaptively using transdiagnostic methods to ensure each patient receives the optimum amount of therapy.

 The workshop will be presented by a practicing and clinician and will equip participants with skills they will be able to use immediately in order to achieve the following outcomes in their practice:

  • Increased therapist effectiveness through an expanded theoretical framework;
  • Increased therapist confidence through a clearer understanding of how their practices promote therapeutic change for different patients with different problems;
  • Increased patient satisfaction through the provision of effective and efficient treatment;
  • Greater cohesiveness between therapeutic approaches through the recognition of fundamental commonalities; and,
  • Increased therapist confidence in their own ability to work effectively with clients presenting with complex problems and comorbidities through a sound understanding of the transdiagnostic processes that techniques employ in order to work effectively.

Training modalities

 This one day workshop will include powerpoint presentations, group discussions, DVD demonstrations to help participants understand both the theoretical principles and therapeutic practices of MOL, and role play. Ample time will be spent covering both the therapy and the theory so that participants will leave the workshop feeling able to use MOL techniques in their very next session. The workshop will address common effective elements of therapy and time will be spent practicing techniques in the workshop and evaluating the techniques using a reflection tool that will be provided. MOL is an exciting and innovative approach to therapy and through this workshop participants will become aware of the ways they can use MOL to enhance their own therapeutic effectiveness.

 Key references:

 Carey, T. A. (2008). Hold that thought! Two steps to effective counseling and psychotherapy with the Method of Levels. Chapel Hill, NC: newview Publications.

Carey, T. A., Mansell, W., & Tai, S. J. (2014). A Biopsychosocial Model Based on Negative Feedback and Control. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

 Carey, T., Kelly, R., Mansell, W. & Tai, S.J. (2012). What’s Therapeutic about the Therapeutic Relationship? A hypothesis for practice informed by Perceptual Control Theory. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist; 5(2-3), 47-59.

Carey, T.A., Tai, S.J. & Stiles, W. (in press). Effective and efficient: Using Patient-led treatment and the Method of Levels cognitive therapy in routine practice in remote Australia. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

 Mansell, W ., Carey, T.A., & Tai, S. J. (2012). A Transdiagnostic CBT Using the Method of Levels Therapy: Distinctive Series. London: Routledge.

 Tai, S. (2009). Using Perceptual Control Theory and the Method of Levels to work with people who experience psychosis. The Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, 2, 227-242.

About the workshop leader: Sara Tai 

Dr Sara Tai is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester and Consultant Clinical Psychologist for Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. She has worked mostly within community mental health services, acute psychiatric inpatient settings, and early intervention for psychosis services. She is currently working within a multi-disciplinary team led acute adult in-patient unit and routinely uses the Method of Levels in this setting. She is an experienced practitioner, trainer, and supervisor of transdiagnostic approaches, including the Method of Levels, for working with people with serious mental health problems and their families. She has extensive clinical and research experience of working within multi-cultural inner city areas and provides regular consultancy internationally on developing accessible community and inpatient services, training clinicians in psychological interventions for psychosis and bipolar disorders and mood swings. Her research focuses on the science and practice of psychological interventions, including cognitive theory, Perceptual Control Theory, and interventions for people experiencing psychosis and mood-swings. She has an international reputation as a trainer in CBT and the Method of Levels, and is currently involved in clinical trials and experimental research developing psychological interventions for psychosis and bipolar disorders in Texas, Philadelphia, Illinois, Beijing, Europe and the UK.

To book  the event here. Regular fee: £199  Early Bird £179 (before September 25th 2014)

A light lunch and all refreshments are included.

If you would like to book several delegates together on the same invoice please e mail your requirements to Please include the name and address of the person and organisation to be invoiced including any purchase order or other relevant details. 

Like all CBT toolbox events, as a participant you have a chance to influence the content before the day by telling us what you want. Contact