Metacognitive Capacities for Reflection in Schizophrenia: Implications for Developing Treatments

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Abstract

Models of schizophrenia, which focus exclusively on discrete symptoms and neurocognitive deficits, risk missing the possibility that a core feature of the disorder involves a reduced capacity to construct complex and integrated representations of self and others. This column details a new methodology that has been used to assess deficits in the metacognitive abilities that allow persons to form complex ideas about themselves and others and to use that knowledge to respond to psychosocial challenges in schizophrenia. Evidence is summarized supporting the reliability and validity of this method, as well as links this work has revealed between metacognition and psychosocial outcomes. It is suggested that this work points to the need to develop interventions which move beyond addressing symptoms and specific skills, and assist persons to recapture lost or atrophied metacognitive capacity and so form the kind of ideas about themselves and others needed, to move meaningfully toward recovery.

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