Detecting and defusing cognitive traps: Metacognitive intervention in schizophrenia

Steffen Moritz*, Francesca Vitzthum, Sarah Randjbar, Ruth Veckenstedt, Todd S. Woodward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: Until recently, psychological therapy for schizophrenia was considered harmful or inefficient by many clinicians. The reservation against psychotherapy is partly rooted in the assumption that delusions in particular and schizophrenia in general are not amenable to psychological understanding and represent 'utter madness'. However, meta-analyses suggest that cognitive intervention is effective in ameliorating schizophrenia symptoms. In addition, evidence has accumulated that cognitive biases, such as jumping to conclusions, are involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia positive symptoms, particularly delusions. A recently developed group program, called metacognitive training (MCT), is presented targeting these biases. MCT is a hybrid of psychoeducation, cognitive remediation and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Recent Findings: This review introduces new evidence on cognitive biases involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and demonstrates how the MCT raises the patients' (metacognitive) awareness to detect and defuse such 'cognitive traps'. At the end, a new individualized variant entitled MCT+ is presented targeting individual delusional ideas. Finally, empirical results are summarized that speak in favour of the feasibility and efficacy of MCT. Summary: Recent studies assert marked cognitive biases in schizophrenia. MCT has evolved as a feasible and effective complement of standard psychiatric treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-569
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • cognitive bias
  • metacognition
  • metacognitive training
  • schizophrenia


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting and defusing cognitive traps: Metacognitive intervention in schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this