Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

How to Deal with Negative Thoughts? A Preliminary Comparison of Detached Mindfulness and Thought Evaluation in Socially Anxious Individuals

  • Styliani GkikaEmail author
  • Adrian Wells
Original Article


This study compared two techniques, detached mindfulness (DM) and thought evaluation (TE), for dealing with negative thoughts that are drawn from different treatment modalities. Twelve participants with high social anxiety practised each technique in a cross-over repeated measures design before giving a speech. It was predicted that each technique would be advantageous, but that DM would be superior to TE overall. Results showed that both techniques improved anxiety scores. DM led to reductions in the observer-perspective, negative beliefs, and anticipatory processing as well. The overall change attributed to DM was greater than that attributed to TE. The results also suggested that combining these techniques in certain ways might prove disadvantageous. Results are discussed in terms of the potential clinical implications.


Detached mindfulness Social anxiety Worry Cognitive therapy Metacognition 



This study was part of the first author’s PhD studentship that was funded by the Medical Research Council, UK.

Conflict of Interest

Styliani Gkika and Adrian Wells declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

Animal Rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Clinical PsychologyThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Division of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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