Cognitive and meta-cognitive dimensions of psychoses.

Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 54(3):152 (2009) PMID 19321019

This paper outlines cognitive approaches to understanding and treating positive psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions, and dissociations. Recent cognitive accounts of psychosis are reviewed along with the claim that it is not the symptoms themselves but cognitive and meta-cognitive appraisals (attributions and beliefs) about the significance of the symptoms that cause distress and dysfunction. Psychotic symptoms do lie on a continuum with normal experience. Cognitive appraisal dimensions may interact with reasoning styles such as inferential confusion, cognitive slippage, fantasy proneness, and perceptual immersion (styles also normally distributed in the population) and together persuade the person with psychosis to live in fictional narratives as if they were real. Recent clinical studies suggest that addressing beliefs about symptoms modifying inferential styles and normalizing experiences may help symptom management.