What is Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy?

Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT) focuses on improving thinking abilities related to everyday functioning and strengthening independent living skills.  Typically, CRT focuses on patients with various neurological conditions, including but not limited to strokes, TBI, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and mild neurodegenerative disorders such as mild cognitive impairment and early stages of dementia.

Thinking abilities related to everyday functioning include attention, the ability to process information coming into the brain via sight, hearing, touch, or other senses, as well as memory, language, and problem-solving.

Examples of daily activities affected by problems in thinking may involve basic skills: preparing meals, taking care of personal hygiene and appearance, maintaining a daily schedule, etc. Other, more complex, negatively impacted abilities may include taking care of finances, managing medications, driving, making decisions, and solving problems related to work and life at home.

The neuropsychological examination (NPE) helps determine which thinking processes are impaired, the significance of their impact on daily functioning and whether the person would be a good candidate for CRT.

CRT is based on research demonstrating that thinking abilities can improve with practice. The treatment usually starts with simple tasks that become increasingly more difficult. A doctor or therapist decides on the tasks’ order and complexity.  In addition to retraining the brain, another treatment component included in CRT is based on learning compensatory strategies to compensate for thinking deficits. For instance, one of the strategies to improve memory learned during CRT may include using alarms and calendars. Techniques to strengthen attention may focus on minimizing distractions and taking breaks.

If you have any questions regarding CRT, please contact our office for more information.

Eleonora Gallagher, Psy.D.
Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral Fellow
NJ Permit: TP# 213-079