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Meta-cognition refers to how we think about the way we think.
For example, one might say, “I’m always worrying.” Meta-cognition has become a target for treatment in depression and anxiety disorders, similar to the way cognitive behavioral therapy is used for these disorders.
An interesting article recently highlighted meta-cognitive therapy for anxiety, depression and other disorders. Read excerpts below:
“Metacognition often takes the form of a value judgment about ones thoughts, such as “Its bad that I overanalyze everything.” Research has shown that these metacognitive beliefs can play an important role in obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and generalized anxiety disorder, among others. In particular, they may matter more than the way we frame situations in our mind, such as by focusing on the negative aspects of a life event. That framing, called cognitive appraisal, is typically addressed in psychotherapy, but metacognition is not, perhaps to the patients detriment, explains psychologist Jennifer L. Hudson of Macquarie University in Australia.
Metacognitive therapy can successfully treat mood and anxiety disorders, according to a growing body of research. Developed in 2008 by Adrian Wells, a clinical psychologist at the University of Manchester in England, the therapy teaches patients to recognize and reframe metacognitive thoughts that reinforce unhelpful coping mechanisms, such as “my fretting is uncontrollable,” much in the same way cognitive-behavior therapy CBT targets maladaptive beliefs along the lines of “the world is unsafe.”
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