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Metacognitive Therapy

Metacognitive Therapy is the process of treating mental health problems by understanding the cause of the problems.

How does Metacognitive Therapy work?

Metacognition is the aspect of cognition that controls mental processes and thinking. Most people have some direct conscious experience of metacognition.

For instance, when unable to remember a name a person may feel sure that the name is stored in memory. This gives rise to a metacognitive state that occurs as a strong feeling called the ‘tip-of the tongue-effect.

This is an example of metacognition working to inform the person that an item of information is somewhere in memory even though the person is unable to remember it.

Metacognition can even go further by retrieving this name and pushing into consciousness often when least expected. Although we are aware of some metacognition operating like in this example, most of the metacognitions that control our thinking and conscious experience operate in the background.

One of the features of psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression is that thinking becomes difficult to control and biased in particular ways that lead to a worsening and maintenance of emotional suffering.

Many patients report that they feel that they have lost control over their thoughts and behaviours. Another important feature is that the persons thinking and attention becomes fixed in patterns of brooding and dwelling on the self and threatening information.

Which conditions can be help by Metacognitive Therapy?

Metacognitive Therapy can be successfully used for the treatment of depression, anxiety and ADHD.

Metacognitive Therapy: Distinctive Features (CBT Distinctive Features) is a valuable resource for anyone wishing to develop a basic understanding of metacognitive therapy.

Metacognitive Therapy Resources