AACTA stands for the Association for Applied Control Theory Australia Inc, a not-for-profit organization which is affiliated with the International Association for Applied Control Theory, established in North America in 1997. AACTA was established in the same year.

As the title implies, the aim of the Association is to teach the principles and applications of Control Theory (full title Perceptual Control Theory) which is an explanation of human behaviour that offers both a way to reach and maintain psychological balance in an imperfect world, and also a number of applications which are effective in many different situations and occupations.

Perceptual Control Theory was developed by Dr William Powers, starting from ideas he gained in working in Cybernetics and Robotics. As he worked on designing machines to behave like people, he looked at the information to see what he could infer about how people behaved.

The applications range from interviewing processes through programs for management, discipline, parenting, teaching, self-fulfilment, nutrition, weight management. In fact, applying Perceptual Control Theory to any sphere of human behaviour can lead to significant positive outcomes.

The Mission Statement for AACTA is

“The Key to Control is Within”

because we know how significant it is to recognise that we create our own behaviour from the inside, rather than being “made” to feel, think, act by events outside of us.

The Mission Statement and beliefs of IAACT, our parent body, are:

“Together, we build the Art and Heart of Perceptual Control Theory”


We believe:

  • People are internally motivated
  • All behaviour is purposeful
  • Individuals perceive the world differently
  • Improvement comes through effective self-evaluation
  • Strength and creativity come through systemic decision making
  • We are responsible to ourselves and the world community
  • Collectively we are more


“Control Theory is a theory of human motivation and behaviour. It provides a scientific explanation of internal motivation. It helps us understand how we act continuously and purposefully at many levels to achieve our goals and to satisfy our needs in an ever changing world.”

(This definition was drafted by Bill and Mary Powers and endorsed by IAACT members in 1998.)

Guiding Principles

Integrity, Moral Courage, Overt Communication, Responsibility, Competence, Commitment and Honouring the Source.

Continuous Learning, Competence, Fun, Freedom and Flexibility

Relationships based on Mutual Concern, Trust, Respect, Cooperation, Individual Dignity, Collaboration, Safety, Inclusion