Cognitive retraining, also known as cognitive therapy, helps patients with brain injuries to rebuild skills or develop strategies to compensate for function loss. A skills-based approach, it addresses issues including logical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and focus. Because of its broad focus, it may involve contributions from professionals in a wide variety of fields, including speech-language pathologists and psychologists.
Cognitive retraining begins with the development of the simplest skills that the patient needs to learn. Patients practice each skill repeatedly, drawing on the support of professionals and the motivation of appropriate external rewards. They progress to more advanced skills and ultimately apply the learned skills to areas of everyday life. This process, which encourages patients to focus on their strengths as they address their weaknesses, may contribute to improved outcomes for sustained brain injuries as well as dementia and other mind-based disorders.