Over the last twenty years metacognitive theory has provided a novel framework, in the form of the Self-Regulatory Executive Function (S-REF) model, for conceptualizing psychological distress (Wells & Matthews, 1994, 1996). The S-REF model proposes that psychological distress persists because of unhelpful coping styles (e.g. extended thinking and thought suppression) which are activated and maintained as a result of metacognitive beliefs.
This paper describes the S-REF model and its application to addictive behaviors using a triphasic metacognitive formulation.
Evidence on the components of the triphasic metacognitive formulation is reviewed and the clinical implications for applying metacognitive therapy to addictive behaviors outlined.