Metacognitive Therapy: A Creative Mindset for Healing

Metacognitive therapy is a relatively new type of therapy that is gaining popularity in the mental health community. Unlike traditional therapies, which focus on addressing the symptoms of mental illness, metacognitive therapy focuses on helping people change the way they think about their thoughts. This approach can be very effective in helping people manage their mental health conditions and improve their overall quality of life.

Metacognitive Therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach to dealing with emotional and behavioral problems that are based on wrong or fixed beliefs. In cognitive therapy, we detect, analyze and correct the errors of thinking that sustain negative feelings. One of its main goals is to make more accurate assumptions about oneself, one’s life, relationships with others, and expectations for the future; in metacognitive therapy, we also clarify our values so these can guide decision-making.

Metacognition refers to thoughts about thoughts (cognitions) that may be conscious or unconscious. Metarepresentational thought refers to automatic cognitions such as images, ideas, or emotions (representations), where the experience could originate in one’s own head.

Metacognitive Therapy is considered to be one of the most effective forms of psychotherapies for treating mood disorders such as depression. A metacognitive therapy would work like this – an individual is trained to identify and disagree with negative thoughts when they surface in their head. Skills are also taught so that the person can replace these automatically activated thoughts with more realistic, balanced beliefs.

They’re taught skills on how to recognize a pattern, disrupt it, and then replace it with something healthier using everything from thought-challenging statements through visualization exercises designed specifically for this therapy. These techniques will ultimately result in decreasing a person’s susceptibility to relapse by changing their belief systems about themselves – which causes people that suffer from depression.

Is it possible to cure depression with metacognitive therapy?

Metacognitive therapy (MCT) is a scientifically-proven and evidence-based therapeutic approach that has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression, as MCT seeks to modify the patient’s interpretation of eventsful in their lives.

The theory behind metacognitions as explanatory traps for mental illness is based on the theory that depressed people interpret stressful life events as personal failures and view themselves as bad or unworthy. The mechanism by which this occurs can be explained using Baumeister’s self-presentation theory. This perspective suggests that we all go through various periods where we methodically review our successes and failures and filter what we think about ourselves.

metacognitive therapy
metacognitive therapy

What Is Metacognitive Therapy?

Metacognitive Therapy emphasizes processes such as harmonious and flexible use of attention, establishing a flexible and adaptive relationship with the intellectual and emotional world, structuring one’s thoughts about the world of thought. First of all, metacognitive therapy suggests that negative thoughts and emotions are universal and transient states.

Everybody has negative thoughts about themselves, the world, or others from time to time, and some of them go away in a short time but others last, and become permanent.

Although Metacognitive Therapy is still new, I think it is one of the psychotherapy methods we will hear most in the future. The founders of Metacognitive Therapy are Dr. Adrian Wells and Dr. Hans Nordah.

metacognitive therapy: a creative mindset for healing 1
Dr. Adrian Wells

Metacognition is our thoughts about our thoughts. For example; when we notice a thought, it includes comments about whether if it is necessary, unnecessary, dangerous, useful, or harmful. That is the metacognitive process that involves upper mental processing on the mind.

Our comments on our thoughts and feelings determine how long we hold on to them, how long it takes us to let them go, or how seriously we take them. When the thought “I am in danger” appears, how much we will focus, or how much we will be engaged and how we will be, is the motivation of metacognitions. Therefore, metacognitive therapy suggests that no matter how painful our thoughts and feelings are, if our secondary comments about them are adaptive and flexible, we will not get caught in these networks.

This also means intellectual and attentive flexibility. Thoughts, when a part of us, which flows through the mind and can be observed, is perceived as a separate flow from us, do not reflect the identity completely. The ultimate goal of Metacognitive Therapy is mental flexibility. As an analogy; It does not deal with viruses but strengthens immunity. Thus, even if the microbes continue to come, they do not get sick or they are mild.

Differences Between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( CBT ) and Metacognitive Therapy

Metacognitive therapy is different from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) used previously because it does not focus on beliefs associated with social and physical perception or thoughts about others and the environment. Instead, metacognitive therapy examines how people respond to these thoughts. It addresses the metacognitive processes that lead to the continuity of erroneous and dysfunctional thoughts about reality and manages this process.


Metacognitive therapy is the most effective intervention for social anxiety, above medication and above even a combination of medication and cognitive therapy.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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