Metacognitive Therapy: how to abandon brooding in the time of the coronavirus – Report from Dr. G. Caselli’s webinar

Metacognitive Therapy: how to abandon brooding in the time of the coronavirus – Report from Dr. G. Caselli’s webinar

Cognitive Studies offered its students a series of lessons designed to deepen the new aspects related to psychological suffering that emerged following the Covid-19 emergency.


Advertising message The first contribution was that of Dr. Caselli, followed by almost 400 students. The lesson, held on April 24, was intended to provide some indications regarding the MCT (Metacognitive Therapy) intervention for anxiety related to Covid-19. The teacher showed how to adapt the treatment of brooding to the new needs resulting from the pandemic and the measures put in place to contain it.

First of all, it has been stressed that some quarantine reactions are common to each of us, while others are extremely variable. In fact, almost all of us feel a little more alone, less active and hypostimulated, forced to relate to an environment characterized by new threats and uncertainties. On the other hand, however, the experiences will be very different according to our personality traits or the impact that the pandemic has had on the workplace or on the health of our loved ones.

In these circumstances, individual vulnerabilities are inevitably more exposed. How, then, is it possible to take care of our psychological health in a context that does not facilitate it? How can we abandon brooding in the days of the coronavirus?

The particular historical moment in which we find ourselves has conveyed a way of approaching psychotherapy different from what we are used to. In fact, the therapist may be facing a psychopathological onset, but also simply a momentary discomfort related to the situation and difficulties in adapting to it. If the diagnostic assessment phase allows, the patient’s demand for support, geared to adapt to a change, should not be handled immediately as a complete psychotherapy. On the other hand, it is important to give an answer that will yield results in the short term and that will focus on the contingent problem. Focusing on just one aspect, such as that of brooding, can really make a big difference in terms of well-being.

Another peculiar aspect of those who ask for psychological support at the time of Covid-19, explains Dr. Caselli, is an outsourced vision of the difficulty, oriented to manage an external problem and characterized by a lower awareness of the strategies that are put in place and that hinder adaptation. This fact implies a variation of the intervention stages with respect to the treatment of subjects with full-blown pathologies and a good awareness.

Personal vulnerabilities and the quarantine context contribute to unleashing negative emotions and thoughts. A dysfunctional way of regulating these internal states can lead to persistent experiences of psychological suffering. In the current condition, in fact, during the first visits, patients often report a new discomfort, unpleasant sensations never experienced. The goal will therefore be to reduce psychological suffering by recognizing these situations, abandoning the most problematic reactions and replacing them with more functional reactions.

Advertising message Rumination, that is, an analytical, persevering and repetitive style of thinking, focused on negative content, is often the preferential response put in place in front of automatic negative thoughts. This strategy has consequences both on well-being, prolonging the state of stress, and on performance, consuming many mental resources. To foster the patient’s ability to adapt to the new situation he is experiencing, it is necessary to intervene on the intermediate element that arises between negative thoughts and psychological distress: brooding. Metacognitive therapy (MCT), thanks to the process-oriented attention and its short and focused interventions, allows to pursue this goal.

Dr. Caselli has also studied the steps to be followed, according to an MCT approach, to achieve greater psychological well-being:

The in-depth lesson proved to be useful for enriching one’s knowledge on brooding and metacognitive therapy, interesting for understanding how to decline an intervention based on the new needs arising from Covid-19, engaging thanks to the proposed experiential moments and very interactive, giving space to the comparison and clarifications. Dr. Caselli concluded his speech by sharing “key messages” that invite us to reflect on our way of life and to pay attention to the present moment.