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 training that has been shown through published research to be effective. The developers of CogSMART believe that the causes of difficulties with thinking skills in individuals with SMI are not relevant to the treatment nor is each individual’s diagnosis. Therefore, this approach allows for individuals to work around their cognitive difficulties 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 on 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 this approach can be effective in improving one’s daily functioning. These approaches 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. Improvements in thinking skills as well as application to daily functioning are the cornerstones of this approach. 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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