What is Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy?
Cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) is available for those who suffer from a cognitive impairment typically due to a disease or brain damage. CRT is often used with those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) (link to concussion) or stroke.
The focus of CRT is to help either regain lost cognitive skills, or in some cases to retrain where recovery efforts may not have worked. There are four key components to CRT:
- Process Training
- Strategy Training
- Functional Activity Training
Education is part of the recovery stage in which understanding the cognitive strengths and weaknesses of the person suffering from a cognitive impairment is critical. Awareness of having deficits and that there is a problem is the starting point to recovery.
Process training is a part of the recovery when skill development begins. Retraining and practicing cognitive skills is an important part of recovery. The goal is to re-learn skills that were lost because of damaged brain tissue.
Strategy training is a part of the recovery when compensatory techniques may be introduced. Our brains are pliable; however, for some the damage to the tissue in the brain is permanent. We can teach other parts of our brain to take-over the “lost cognitive skills” and we can teach compensatory techniques too. For some, this means using specific compensatory strategies (environmental and/or internal) to help successfully complete functional activities.
Functional activities training is a part of the recovery process when all three components can be used to complete everyday activities. The focus is to use the education, process, and strategy training techniques to successfully perform real life movements and activities.
What to expect
A full evaluation including standardized and non-standardized tests may be conducted. The evaluation will assess safety, orientation to day and time, short-term and long-term memory as well as a plethora of other cognitive functions. Based on the results of the evaluation, a customized plan of care will be created. Every person and situation is unique so there is no “one size fits all” program.
The recovery process can be frustrating, challenging and rewarding. The more aware one becomes of his or her deficits, the more frustrating it can be. It is common to be frustrated and exhausted during and after treatment sessions. CRT treatments require great focus and concentration as the patient begins to retrain his or her brain. It can also be very rewarding as one regains functional skills. Everyone recovers and heals differently so the CRT specialist will establish realistic expectations of treatment and recovery based on individual cases and performance.
Is cognitive rehabilitation right for you?
CRT is not for everyone, so check with your physician to determine the best plan for you or your loved one. If CRT is recommended, as a consumer of health care, you have a choice in finding the right provider for you or a loved one. Do your homework and search for a health care provider with excellent outcomes, great customer reviews, and can provide you the care you need for a reasonable cost.
To find a CRT specialists in your area, please click on Find A Clinic. This link will help you find a highly-qualified CRT specialist.