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Metacognitive Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Psychosis: A Multiple-Baseline Study

  • Paul Hutton (a1), Anthony P. Morrison (a1), Melissa Wardle (a1) and Adrian Wells (a2)

Background: More effective psychological treatments for psychosis are required. Case series data and pilot trials suggest metacognitive therapy (MCT) is a promising treatment for anxiety and depression. Other research has found negative metacognitive beliefs and thought-control strategies may be involved in the development and maintenance of hallucinations and delusions. The potential of MCT in treating psychosis has yet to be investigated. Aims: Our aim was to find out whether a short number of MCT sessions would be associated with clinically significant and sustained improvements in delusions, hallucinations, anxiety, depression and subjective recovery in patients with treatment-resistant long-standing psychosis. Method: Three consecutively referred patients, each with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and continuing symptoms, completed a series of multiple baseline assessments. Each then received between 11 and 13 sessions of MCT and completed regular assessments of progress, during therapy, post-therapy and at 3-month follow-up. Results: Two out of 3 participants achieved clinically significant reductions across a range of symptom-based outcomes at end-of-therapy. Improvement was sustained at 3-month follow-up for one participant. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of using MCT with people with medication-resistant psychosis. MCT was acceptable to the participants and associated with meaningful change. Some modifications may be required for this population, after which a controlled trial may be warranted.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Paul Hutton, Psychosis Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Bury New Road, Prestwich M25 3BL, UK. E-mail:
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