GAD, metacognition, and mindfulness: An information processing analysis

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    In this commentary I discuss the integration of mindful procedures in cognitive therapy of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and attempt to answer questions concerning the effects of mindfulness on information processing and on mechanisms purported to maintain GAD in the metacognitive model of this disorder. Different techniques that promote mindfulness can be identified, including mindfulness meditation and attention training. These techniques are intended to disrupt repetitive styles of dysfunctional thinking. I argue that the effect of mindfulness strategies on information processing in emotional disorder can be conceptualized in metacognitive terms as (a) activating a metacognitive mode of processing; (b) disconnecting the influence of maladaptive beliefs on processing; (c) strengthening flexible responding to threat; and (d) strengthening metacognitive plans for controlling cognition. Although mindfulness meditation may have general treatment applications, the metacognitive model of GAD suggests caution in using this treatment in GAD. It is unclear which dimension of worry should be targeted, and mindfulness meditation does not contain information that can lead to unambiguous disconfirmation of erroneous beliefs about worry. © 2002 American Psychological Association D12.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-100
    Number of pages5
    JournalClinical Psychology: Science and Practice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Generalized anxiety disorder
    • Information processing
    • Metacognition
    • Mindfulness
    • Worry


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