Cognitive remediation therapy, also known as cognitive retraining, is a cutting-edge technique used by Sovereign Health to accomplish a healthier way of thinking for individuals going through rehabilitation. The goal of cognitive retraining is to restore a patient’s cognitive skills. Most of us take our brains for granted. We are able to process information, employ reason, comprehend the world around us, solve problems and make decisions. People with schizophrenia or brain damage from methamphetamine use no longer enjoy this luxury. Depending on the degree of their illness or the extent of their drug use, some people will need to retrain their brain functions.
How Does Cognitive Remediation therapy work?
Sovereign uses a program called Neurobic as part of our cognitive retraining. This application is offered to our patients dealing with mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring conditions. The goal in using cognitive remediation is to help patients retrain their brains to foster positive and constructive thinking patterns that can counteract previously destructive thinking or behavioral patterns, substance abuse, or a mental health disorder. The therapists at Sovereign will assist the patients to improve memory, attentiveness, organizational skills, problem solving and reasoning skills.
Think of the brain as a muscle. A muscle grows stronger with repeated use. The brain is no different. Our counselors introduce new skills to the patient. The patient repeats these skills until they become automatic, that is, until the brain executes them normally. Each time patients master a skill, they graduate to more complicated tasks. With each success, his or her brain grows stronger.
How Long Does it Take?
How long a patient undergoes cognitive retraining depends on the type and the extent of brain damage and what retraining skills are required to correct the damage. Organizing a home, for instance, or the workplace may only necessitate cognitive retraining for days or a few weeks. Retraining to operate machinery or a computer may require longer and more involved sessions. A patient’s attitude and willingness to engage are pivotal to success. The initial inability to execute a task can be frustrating. The benchmark for success is when a patient takes what he or she learns in retraining sessions and applies this knowledge to real-world situations.
How it Helps
Cognitive retraining is effective because it is tailored to the patient’s needs. There are multiple types of remediation.
- Attention and concentration focuses not only on maintaining attention, but on improving the patient’s ability to divide attention or to multitask
- Memory loss is one of the effects of brain damage; this retraining involves certain mnemonic techniques, such as utilizing the alphabet for name recollection
- Organizational skills retraining focuses on strengthening the brain’s analytical capabilities by establishing mental connections between items; this is effective for re-acclimating the patient to home and work environments
- Reasoning: A person with bipolar disease is more often governed by emotions than reason; a person with schizophrenia is inundated by stimuli and lacks the ability to filter them out; Reasoning retraining focuses on processing and organizing information
- Problem solving: Alcohol, drug abuse and mental illness narrow the brain’s ability to approach situations from different perspectives; problem solving retraining helps the patient regain perspective
- Decision making: Bipolar individuals are often impulsive. So are addicts and alcoholics. Making decisions requires deliberation, requires patience. This retraining teaches the patient to consider their actions before rashly committing to them
- Executive skills retraining emphasizes self-discipline, self-control and self-monitoring; relearning and using these skills exponentially increases the patient’s value as an employee or student
Cognitive rehabilitation exercises promote positive, constructive thinking. It replaces the destructive thinking and behavioral problems that mental illness and substance abuse leave in their wake. Patients who complete the Neurobic program emerge with stronger memory, greater attention span and the skills and confidence necessary to make it in the world.
If you are interested in learning more about our cognitive rehabilitation programs or other treatment modalities, please call our 24/7 helpline.