MERIT (Metacognitive Reflection and Insight Therapy) is a manual-based model of psychotherapy designed for people in the process of recovery from schizophrenia and other forms of severe mental illness.
Developed by Paul Lysaker, PhD and colleagues, MERIT offers a model of psychotherapy that can be used by clinicians from differing orientations to enhance their client’s metacognitive capacities.
- Metacognition is the ability to form integrated ideas about one’s self and others and to use that capacity knowledge to respond to life challenges.
- Metacognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses interfere with the ability to make sense of one’s life and to chart a course to recovery.
- MERIT’s intent is to help clients to form more integrated ideas about themselves and others with the goal of increasing their ability to respond more adaptively to social and psychological challenges and ultimately live their lives in a richer and more fashion.
MERIT uses the therapy relationship as a self-exploratory platform to help clients to recognize and integrate the range of personal experiences including memories, hopes, dreams, emotions, and beliefs and integrate them into more complex ideas about self and others.
MERIT stresses the use of targeted psychotherapy interventions appropriate for the client’s current level of metacognitive functioning. This is guided by the use of a formal assessment of the clients’ current level of metacognitive ability in treatment sessions.
MERIT supports the use of thoughtful and creative therapist behavior because it is based on integrative principals, not step-by-step procedures or a predetermined course of treatment.
Manualized and Research-Based
Despite its flexibility, MERIT is a formalized treatment approach. MERIT treatment manuals and assessment tools as well as psychotherapy training and ongoing clinical supervision, are available to qualified mental health practitioners.
MERIT is currently the focus of a randomized controlled clinical trial.