Personality disorders: the mechanisms to be addressed in therapy

Here’s how to explore the mechanisms that can be addressed in therapy with personality disorders.


The Repetitive Negative Thinking (RNT) construct is one of the mechanisms that can be addressed in personality disorder therapyIt is a cognitive process characterized by repetitive, self-focused thinking, including rumination and ruminationBrooding consists of a form of repetitive verbal and abstract thinking focused on future catastrophic events. Rumination, on the other hand, is defined as thoughts that repeatedly focus attention on negative emotions and symptoms. Also about their causes and consequences in relation to the past. 


Furthermore, there are meta -beliefs that are subjective information relating to personal cognitive functioning. They can be positive like, “Ruminating helps me make sense of my thoughts.” On the other they can be negative such as the uncontrollability and danger of thoughts and cognitive processes: “I can’t control my mind”. 

A recent study attempted to verify the differences in metacognitive beliefs and RNT between patients with personality disorders and patients without. The purpose of verifying whether there were significant differences in metacognitive beliefs and RNT between patients with and without personality disorder. The results demonstrate that patients with the personality disorder have higher scores in rumination and brooding. 

Overall, the study shows that patients with personality disorders report higher levels of meta-beliefs and repetitive negative thinking. These, when compared to other patients with emotional disturbances but no personality disorder. Meta beliefs and Repetitive Negative Thinking have a significant role in maintaining the severity of psychological distress of patients with personality disorders. Further research is needed with the possible integration of new perspectives for the treatment of patients with personality disorders through metacognitive therapy 

  • Meta-beliefs, rumination and brooding in personality disorders (




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