Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT), also called cognitive enhancement therapy, helps a person learn skills to manage their everyday life. CRT aims to reduce problems with cognition, such as attention, memory, and executive functioning. As a mental illness progresses, cognitive skills suffer and become more impaired. This decline will begin to interfere with a person’s normal functioning in relationships, at work and in school. Cognitive remediation focuses on improving cognitive deficits by interrupting the diminishment of these skills.
CRT was developed to treat disorders like schizophrenia, often characterized by cognitive impairments and disorganized thinking, causing abnormal functioning in relationships, at work, and in school. Cognitive remediation therapy helps an individual improve their attention, memory, problem-solving, organizational, and planning skills. Research has also shown CRT as a successful method of treating addiction, as it showed significant improvement in attention, working memory, and delayed memory functions.
There are two different methods of administering cognitive remediation therapy, one being with pen and paper and the other through computer programming. Dr. Krista Valz, Associate Clinical Director at Lifeskills South Florida, prefers computer programming. Games are played on the BrainHQ computer program, an online brain-training system that uses a unique algorithm, adapting in difficulty as the client works. The games allow the client to train at the proper level and make cognitive improvements, and as they play, the games change to target distinct functions, such as facial recognition, and social skills. Unlike pen and paper, computer programming keeps the client’s attention and allows for easier tracking of progress.
Lifeskills’ CRT group meets twice a week for an hour each time. Cognitive remediation therapy group currently has ten clients at a time, but clinicians want to expand to accommodate more clients in each session.
Dr. Valz is trained in individual and group work and has a clinical concentration in neuropsychological testing. She facilitates specialized groups for clients with thought disorders in both our residential program and outpatient program. While there are no special certifications needed to be a CRT therapist, Dr. Valz has completed additional training and continues to stay abreast of research involving cognitive remediation therapy.
According to research by Cognitive Remediation and Rehabilitation, CRT should be introduced as early as possible in the disorder progression to increase the success rate. When combined with medication and other proven, evidence-based therapies, CRT helps to improve social and integration skills and helps make an individual stronger in their recovery journey.
At Lifeskills, we understand the need to meet people where they are in their disorder and customize a treatment program that fits their needs. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder or dual diagnosis, Lifeskills can help you or your loved one get your life back on track. To learn more about our accredited residential and outpatient treatment programs, please contact us.