Metacognitive Training for Depression in Later Life – Project led by Prof. Lara Pinho

Metacognitive Training for Depression in Later Life – Project led by Prof. Lara Pinho

The project “Metacognitive Training for Depression in Later Life" is coordinated by Prof. Lara Pinho from the University of Évora and a CHRC researcher. This project has a bilateral cooperation between Portugal and Germany promoted by the FCT. The project recently went into “action” and we spoke with Prof. Lara Pinho to understand how it’s going to work.

“This project aims to solidify a partnership between the University of Évora and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The German partner of this project developed the metacognitive training for depression that is intended to be expanded in Portugal. The goals are to strengthen relations between institutions in Germany and Portugal with the aim of establishing a sustainable research partnership, providing international research experience and training to junior researchers and promoting the transfer of knowledge about the Metacognitive Training and about the improvement geriatric mental health among research groups.”

Is the project already “ongoing”?

“Yes, we have already started translating the documents into Portuguese and reviewing the literature on cultural adaptation of psychotherapeutic interventions. We have also made a joint application to HEurope about this topic, involving 7 countries. We’re waiting for the outcome.”

Can you explain what the MCT-Silver tool is all about?

“It is a psychotherapeutic intervention based on cognitive behavioral therapy, carried out in a group, targeting the elderly people with depression. It aims to train metacognition, in other words, to obtain a change in thinking through reflection on it. In depression, for example, catastrophizing, rumination, negative thinking is common. The Metacognitive Training, through practical exercises involving day-to-day situations, aims to encourage reflection on these cognitive errors, modifying them.” 

The main goals begin with the start of a pilot study to assess the effectiveness of MCT-Silver in the Portuguese population, targeting the elderly people suffering from depression to be included in this study. For the application of this tool, it’s not only necessary to translate it into the Portuguese language and context, but also to translate it in the context of elderly people with depression. Another important goal is to create a Portuguese team to assist in the application of the MCT-Silver, in order to pass the knowledge to health professionals in Portugal, as well as to encourage the participation of young researchers, sustaining the continuity of research in this area.

Prof. Lara Pinho explained to us how the partnership with Germany will be applied.

“We want researchers from the University of Évora to stay in Germany for at least one week a year. The goals are the following: to know the dynamics of the German research team within the scope of the project; share knowledge in the area of aging and models of care for the elderly between both teams; acquire skills to implement metacognitive training for people with depression and to train health professionals about it; and to know the methodology of the research study operated in Germany so it can be expanded in Portugal, after cultural adaptation.”

The project also involves CHRC researchers Manuel Lopes and César Fonseca and has a partnership between the University of Évora and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and is promoted by the FCT.



Andreia Santos


César Fonseca

Lara Guedes de Pinho

Manuel Lopes