What are the reasons for using the compensatory approach to cognitive remediation for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI)?

Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART) is a well-developed compensatory approach to cognitive remediation that has been shown to be effective. The developers of CogSMART believe that the causes of the cognitive impairments in individuals with SMI are not relevant to the treatment nor is each individual’s diagnosis. Therefore, the aim of this approach is to allow for individuals to work around cognitive impairments rather than try to remediate them. The approach is de-stigmatizing because everyone uses compensatory strategies so it’s not “therapy” as such, but rather like taking a class. Compensatory approaches directly focus on linking behavioral strategies to everyday goals and to improving how individuals function in their roles in the community such as at work or school. Developing commonly desired habits and routines is one way that this approach can be effective in improving one’s daily functioning. In addition, this approach can also be used to overcome a person’s perceived lack of confidence in a specific skill area, another component of changing habits that is universally accepted. Improvement in cognitive functioning as well as generalization to daily functioning are the cornerstones of this program. CogSMART is available free of charge.

View a free SMI Adviser webinar on this topic: Compensatory Cognitive Training for Neuropsychiatric Conditions (March 2020).

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