Metacognitive Therapy focuses on maladaptive coping mechanisms that result from a person’s desire to control distressing emotions. Maladaptive coping mechanisms can include problems relating to other people, worrying, rumination, and reassurance seeking.
MCT posits that people’s emotional states are temporary. Still, if they act negatively because of a distressing emotional state, that can cause long-term damage and psychological distress.
Metacognition refers to a person’s ability to think about their thinking process. Metacognitive Therapy stresses that a person’s beliefs about their thoughts and their resulting actions can be untrue, and this can cause mental health issues.
MCT’s goal is to help you become more aware of your metacognition. This process can include in-depth discussions about your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and actions.
Your MCT counselor will help you make connections between the way you think about your thoughts and your resulting behaviors. Your MCT counselor might use “experiments” to help you with metacognition.
For example, if you deal with rumination or repetitive thoughts, you might think continuing to worry will drive you to a state of deep despair that will be impossible to escape. Your MCT counselor might challenge you to worry as hard as you can for several minutes within the session. When you realize that you still retain your sanity and control after your intense worrying, you gain a deeper understanding of metacognition.
MCT can be helpful for a range of mental health concerns, including anxiety disorders.