Caselli, G., Gemelli, A., & Spada, M. M. (2016). The Experimental Manipulation of Desire Thinking in Alcohol use Disorder. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(2), 569-573. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2038 (IF: 2.578)


Desire thinking is a voluntary cognitive process involving verbal and imaginal elaboration of a desired target. Recent research has revealed that desire thinking may play a significant role in the escalation of craving. The goal of this study was to explore the effect of a desire thinking induction on craving in a sample of patients with alcohol use disorder.


Ten patients with alcohol use disorder were exposed to a brief exposure to alcohol‐related thoughts plus desire thinking induction versus brief exposure to alcohol‐related thoughts plus distraction.


The induction of desire thinking led to a significant increase in distress and urge to use alcohol when compared to a behavioural assessment test and a distraction task. The clinical implications for the treatment of alcohol use disorder are discussed. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Message
  • Psychotherapeutic strategies that target desire thinking, both at the assessment and at the intervention levels, may be relevant in the treatment of craving‐related problems.
  • Deriving and illustrating the role of desire thinking in a given episode of craving may support the development of metacognitive awareness about its functions and consequences.