What Is Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy?
Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT) is a comprehensive treatment program that uses a number of different methods including individualized clinical therapeutic interactions and computerized interventions. The CRT team may include psychologists, neuropsychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, and other clinical rehabilitation medicine specialists. The goal of CRT is to help improve an individuals ability to function after a brain injury or other neurological medical disorder, such as a stroke or other illness. CRT focuses on improving the cognitive abilities of memory, attention, perception, reasoning, planning, judgment, general learning, and overall executive functioning. Research has shown that the development of these cognitive abilities leads to an improvement in the client’s ability to regulate their emotional functioning. Benefits can generalize to improvements in self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to actively engage in goal-directed cognition, which goes hand in hand with a person’s enhanced emotional stability
Examples of CRT include developing meta-cognitive strategies that clients can use to improve their reliability and accuracy in performing tasks. For example, a therapist might help a client to develop the habit of writing down and prioritizing daily tasks. A therapist might also work with a client to organize and categorize household items or grocery lists.
Working memory is a common cognitive deficit for many individuals with brain injuries. Working memory is defined as the ability to briefly hold detailed information in one’s mind then manipulate and process it. For example, the mental task of adding two numbers (e.g., 77+15) requires using working memory. To improve a person’s working memory and mental processing speed, therapists will often incorporate computerized cognitive training systems that specifically train these skills. These types of computer programs are particularly useful in that they not only provide a wide variety of different types of exercises (e.g. visual and/or auditory), but also will automatically become more challenging in order to help clients effectively develop their cognitive skills to the maximum of their capabilities.