4. Metacognitive Therapy

  1. James D. Herbert and
  2. Evan M. Forman
  1. Adrian Wells

Published Online: 16 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118001851.ch4

Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Understanding and Applying the New Therapies

Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Understanding and Applying the New Therapies

How to Cite

Wells, A. (2011) Metacognitive Therapy, in Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Understanding and Applying the New Therapies (eds J. D. Herbert and E. M. Forman), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118001851.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 2 FEB 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470474419

Online ISBN: 9781118001851

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Keywords:

  • metacognition;
  • metacognitive therapy;
  • worry;
  • rumination;
  • attention;
  • detached mindfulness;
  • generalized anxiety;
  • emotional disorder;
  • cognitive therapy

Summary

The metacognitive theory and treatment of psychological disorders is described. It is proposed that all disorders are linked to the activation of a specific style of thinking that prolongs psychological distress. This style is called the Cognitive Attentional Syndrome (CAS) and consists of worry, rumination, threat-monitoring, and self-regulatory behaviors that have paradoxical effects. The CAS results from metacognition, of which positive and negative beliefs are central. Metacognitive therapy aims to reduce the CAS and modify such metacognitions. It does not target the content of cognition per se, but works directly on the control of thinking and the content of metacognitive beliefs. This treatment is illustrated with reference to a case of generalized anxiety. Data supporting the theory and the effectiveness of MCT are reviewed.