Metacognitive Training for Depression (D-MCT) is a new concept for the treatment of depression. It is conceptualized as a variant of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that uses a metacognitive perspective to focus on the modification of dysfunctional beliefs. The training seeks to enable group members to recognize and correct the often automatic and unconscious thought patterns that accompany depression, in part by viewing this depressive thought process at a distance (i.e., depersonalizing). To this end, it attempts to inform participants about depressive thought patterns using creative and engaging strategies along with practical and understandable examples from daily life. In addition, dysfunctional assumptions about one’s thought processes, as well as dysfunctional coping-strategies (i.e., thought suppression, rumination as problem-solving) are targeted. While the training was inspired by Metacognitive Training (MCT) for Psychosis (, it focuses on different depression-specific cognitive biases.

Feasibility and effectiveness of a beta-version of the training were confirmed in an open-label pilot study (Jelinek, Otte, Arlt & Hauschildt, 2013). The training proved to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms with a medium effect size (Cohen’s d between 0.56 and 0.73). Moreover, cognitive biases and rumination were significantly reduced and self-esteem was increased (effect sizes between d = 0.26 and 0.64).

We used our experience from the pilot study to improve the training material. The updated version was compared to health-training (walking) in a randomized control trial (funded by the vffr ( All patients also received a standard psychosomatic outpatient treatment program at the RehaCentrum Hamburg. At the end of treatment, as well as 6 months later (follow-up), symptom improvement was greater in the D-MCT versus health-training group (Jelinek, Hauschildt & Moritz, 2014).

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Core members

  • PD Dr. Lena Jelinek
  • Dr. Marit Hauschildt
  • Dr. Brooke Schneider
  • Dipl.-Psych. Martina Fieker
  • Prof. Dr. Steffen Moritz

Cooperation partners

  • PD Dr. Sönke Arlt (Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hamburg)
  • Dr. Anne Runde (Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hamburg)
  • Irmgard Musyal (RehaCentrum Hamburg, Hamburg)
  • Dr. Gabriela Kuhn (RehaCentrum Hamburg, Hamburg)
  • Dipl.-Psych. Mirja Behrens (RehaCentrum Hamburg, Hamburg)
  • Dipl.-Psych. Mario Broccucci (RehaCentrum Hamburg, Hamburg)
  • Dr. Sandra Leh-Seal (University of Zurich)
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Otte (Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité, Berlin)


Jelinek, L., Hauschildt, M. & Moritz. (2014). Metakognitives Training bei Depression (D-MKT): Ein neues integratives Gruppenkonzept zur Behandlung depressiver Störungen. In 2. Eppendorfer Depressionstage des Universitätsklinikums Hamburg-Eppendorf. Hamburg.

Jelinek, L., Hauschildt, M., Otte, C., & Moritz, S. (2012). Denkverzerrungen erkennen und verändern: Evaluation des Metakognitives Training gegen Depressionen (D-MKT). DGPPN Kongress 2012, Berlin.

Jelinek, L.,Hauschildt, M., Schneider, B.C., Fieker, M. & Moritz, S. (2014). Machbarkeit und Effektivität des Metakognitiven Trainings bei Depression (D-MKT): Ergebnisse einer randomisiert-kontrolliert Studie. DGPPN Kongress 2014, Berlin.

Jelinek, L., Otte, C., & Arlt, S. & Hauschildt, M., (2013). Denkverzerrungen erkennen und korrigieren: Eine Machbarkeitsstudie zum Metakognitiven Training bei Depressionen (D-MKT). Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie, Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 61(4), 1–8.

Wittekind, C., Jelinek, L. & Moritz, L. (2013). Metakognitives Training bei Depression (D-MKT): Ein neuartiger Gruppenansatz zur Veränderung von Denkverzerrungen. 1. Eppendorfer Depressionstag des Universitätsklinikums Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg.

Wittekind, C., Jelinek, L. & Moritz, L. (2014). Metakognitives Training bei Depression (D-MKT): Ein innovativer Gruppenansatz in der Therapie unipolarer Depression. Vortrag präsentiert auf dem 28. DGVT Kongress für Klinische Psychologie, Psychotherapie und Beratung, Berlin.