WHAT EXACTLY IS Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy or CRT?

By Bridget Lowery of Main Line Rehab

Brain injury, blast injury and the benefits of cognitive remediation have received significant publicity because of our country’s current military operations. Because people like Bob Woodruff (the ABC journalist who sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury while covering the war in Iraq) have recently made statements saying that they believe that Cognitive Remediation is the key to successful rehabilitation, there has been an increase in the number of requests for information about Cognitive Remediation Therapy.

Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) is an essential part of a neurological rehabilitation program. It is a therapy that has been specially designed for remediating the thinking problems of people who have had some type of insult to the brain which resulted in problems with new learning.

The Cognitive Therapist works with a person to determine/recognize what the problem areas may be and to develop strategies for how to get around the problems that prevent him from doing the things he wants to do. Some activities might include:

  • Help to set up a system to remember to pay bills
  • Help to figure out all of the things he needs to do to go to important appointments
  • Develop a budget
  • Identify ways to remember new information
  • Identify ways to decrease distractions
  • Identify strategies to help problem solve issues that come up each day (I need food but I don't have a car to go grocery shopping - what are some options?)

As situations change, the therapist also helps modify the strategies that have been developed.

Several articles published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation support the use of cognitive rehabilitation techniques after acquired brain injury. One article stated that “When compared with traditional therapies alone (standard PT, OT, ST), cognitive rehabilitation conferred a significant benefit in 37 of 47 trials.” The National Academy of Neuropsychology issued an Official Statement on Cognitive Rehabilitation, stating that “The National Academy of Neuropsycholology supports empirically and rationally based cognitive rehabilitation techniques that have been designed to improve the quality of life and functional outcomes for individuals with acquired brain injuries.” (Vo. 86, August 2005, Vo. 89, March 2008).

For more information

BIAA Cognitive Rehabilitation Position Statement