Background: Metacognitive dysfunction has been widely recognized as a feature of schizophrenia. As it is linked with deficits in several aspects of daily life functioning, improvement of metacognition may lead to improvement in functioning. Individual psychotherapy might be a useful form of treatment to improve metacognition in patients with schizophrenia; multiple case reports and a pilot study show promising results. The present study aims to measure the effectiveness of an individual, manual-based therapy (Metacognitive Reflection and Insight Therapy, MERIT) in improving metacognition in patients with schizophrenia. We also want to examine if improvement in metacognitive abilities is correlated with improvements in aspects of daily life functioning namely social functioning, experience of symptoms, quality of life, depression, work readiness, insight and experience of stigma.Methods/Design: MERIT is currently evaluated in a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Thirteen therapists in six mental health institutions in the Netherlands participate in this study. Patients are randomly assigned to either MERIT or the control condition: treatment as usual (TAU).Discussion: If proven effective, MERIT can be a useful addition to the care for schizophrenia patients. The design brings along some methodological difficulties, these issues are addressed in the discussion of this paper.Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN16659871. © 2014 Van Donkersgoed et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.