Metacognitive Training for Depression (D-MCT)

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 et al., 2016).

D-MCT Modules (English)

The eight modules (60 minutes each) are available for download from the links below. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Please email Lena Jelinek (

The use of the Metacognitive Training Program for Depression (D-MCT) is permitted with the understanding that it is not to be used for commercial purposes. The statutory provisions of copyright law also apply (e.g., no modification of the materials, no use of slides for other purposes without the authors’ prior consent).

Please note that the D-MCT manual has not been translated yet. At the moment it is only available in German and has been published by Beltz (Jelinek et al., 2015).

Help us to help others!

In view of the challenging financial situation of many psychiatric hospitals, it is our goal to provide metacognitive training for depression (D-MCT) free of charge. Your donation is essential to our work and will help to improve the lives of many individuals suffering from depression. We would be very grateful if you would support D-MCT by donating to our program.

All donations will be used to support the further development of the D-MCT (future tasks: translation of modules into other languages, creating new graphics, hiring of students to perform D-MCT in institutions). Upon request, we will send you a receipt for your donation (please email Steffen Moritz [] and include your mailing address). Please inquire about different possibilities for sponsorships. Donations may be made to the following account:

Pay to: UKE AG Neuropsychologie
Bank: Hamburger Sparkasse HASPA

Account title (this is crucial to ensure that your donation reaches us): 0470/001 - MCT Depression

IBAN: DE54200505501234363636