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Cognitive Remediation Therapy

July 27, 2015

Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) is a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation training program for adults with memory, processing speed, or executive planning deficits related to untreated mental illnesses. Essentially, CRT is a series of game-like “brain training” exercises based on science that helps many people think more clearly and quickly.

Protecting and improving cognitive functioning is part of our whole person approach, and is just one of the therapies offered to help our clients recover and reclaim their lives.

Over time, untreated mental illnesses can lead to long-term cognitive impairment – a loss of thinking and processing skills including memory, attention, problem-solving ability, and intelligence. Thought disorders also can impact a person’s social cognition – or “people skills” – including the ability to read nonverbal social cues like facial expressions or body language, or to see a situation from another person’s point of view.

Until recently, experts thought this type of cognitive decline was irreversible in certain situations. Today, research shows that in concert with therapy and medications, brain training through cognitive enhancement therapy can be effective not only in stopping cognitive decline, but even in reversing it in some situations.

Results are especially promising when CRT is started early in the course of a person’s mental illness, making it particularly important for young adults who are newly diagnosed.

Skyland Trail clients who are identified as at-risk for or known to have cognitive decline are referred by their psychiatrist to participate in CRT as a part of their treatment plan. All young adult patients with symptoms of psychosis engage in CRT.

CRT groups meet weekly in our computer lab and are supervised by a counselor. Counselors can customize settings for each client to maximize his or her engagement and benefit. As clients progress, the software adapts to their new skill level so that they are always at the right level to continue making improvements. Some clients may receive additional assignments as “homework” to complete on their own time.

Once their cloud-based CRT account is created, Skyland Trail clients can use the module even after graduating from our treatment program. If individuals choose to continue participation, the program will keep a record of their cognitive and intellectual progression throughout their life.

CRT is not a magic bullet or miracle cure, and it is just one part of a comprehensive treatment program that also includes individual and group therapy, medication, and psychoeducation. And like our treatment program, success is built on a two-way commitment, where a client’s full participation and hard work leads to gradual, but sustained progress.

How We Treat: Cognition and First Episode