June 06, 2007

Metacognitive Training Program Announced for Schizophrenia & Psychosis (MCT)

As we've covered here before psycho-social treatments are increasingly identified as an important part of a complete program of therapy for the best outcome of people who have schizophrenia (for example, see this section for Psychosocial Interventions in the Canadian Clinical Treatment Guidelines for Schizophrenia.

The following is an announcement of a new psychological therapy program developed by two schizophrenia researchers (Todd Woodward, affiliated with the University of British Columbia in Canada and Steffen Moritz at the University of Hamburg in Germany). The program that is designed to help people who suffer from psychosis and schizophrenia improve their mental health. We encourage you to download the files, print them out, and take the information to your psychiatrist or psychologist and try to get them to work with you (or another person you know about who may benefit) to implement the training program. The researchers note that the training program may also be helpful in reducing the risk of schizophrenia / psychosis in people who are at risk. All the materials for the training course are available for free download at the web site linked to at the bottom of this story.

Metacognitive Training* for Schizophrenia Patients (MCT)

A new training program, entitled Metacognitive Training* for Schizophrenia Patients (MCT) has been developed that targets common cognitive errors and problem solving biases in schizophrenia (e.g., jumping to conclusions, attributional biases, deficits with theory of mind, incorrigibility), which alone or combined may culminate in the establishment of false beliefs to the point of delusions.

The sessions pursue the goal of bringing these distortions to the awareness of patients, and to prompt them to critically reflect on, complement, and change their current repertoire of problem solving skills.

Since psychosis is not a sudden and instantaneous event, but is often preceded by a gradual change in the appraisal of one's cognitions and social environment, empowering metacognitive competence may act preventively on psychotic breakdown. Leaflets with homework, which are handed to the participants at the end of each session, assist with this process.

The modules are administered within the framework of a group intervention program guided by a psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist. Currently, the training is available in German and English and is already administered at some sites in Germany, Switzerland and Vancouver (Canada). A French version will soon be issued. The main purpose of the metacognitive training is to change the "cognitive infrastructure" of delusional ideation. Most aspects of the program are self-explanatory, and allow an individual performance style. The MCT also serves as a channel for knowledge translation, presenting the basic findings of the cognitive neuropsychology of schizophrenia in a format accessible by patients.

There is already preliminary (yet unpublished) evidence for its efficacy (a medium effect size in the decrement of positive symptoms (PANSS) over a 4-week trial (2 sessions/week) over and above an active control condition).

For further information please visit the following web-site:

Metacognitive Training* for Schizophrenia Patients (English)

A German Language version is also available here.

* Metacognition can be described as "thinking about one's thinking," and involves the ability to select appropriate responses.

Related Reading:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Schizophrenia - An Indepth Interview with Experts

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Schizophrenia Treatment News


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