Concepts of Metacognition in the Treatment of Patients with Mental Disorders

  • Rebecca PhilippEmail author
  • Levente Kriston
  • Franziska Kühne
  • Martin Härter
  • Ramona Meister


While metacognitive interventions are gaining attention in the treatment of various mental disorders, a review of the literature showed that the term is often defined poorly and used for a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches that do not necessarily pursue the same goal. We give a summary of three metacognitive interventions which were developed within a sound theoretical framework—metacognitive therapy, metacognitive training, and metacognitively-oriented integrative psychotherapies—and discuss their similarities and distinctive features. We then offer an integrative operational definition of metacognitive interventions as goal-oriented treatments that target metacognitive content, which is characterized by the awareness and understanding of one’s own thoughts and feelings as well as the thoughts and feelings of others. They aim to alleviate disorder-specific and individual symptoms by gaining more flexibility in cognitive processing.


Metacognition Therapy Training Narrative Interpersonal Mental disorders 



We thank Steffen Moritz for his notes on Metacognitive Training and the reviewers for their notes on earlier drafts of the manuscript.


This work was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grant Number 01KG1511).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

LK participated in trials of the Metacognitive Training as independent statistician. All other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical PsychologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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