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Neurocognitive and Social Cognitive Therapies

Neurocognitive and Social Cognitive resources are being developed including a Therapy Capability Framework (PDF, 404.79 KB).

Neurocognitive and Social Cognitive Therapies include a range of interventions to address functional deficits (i.e., social skills, community functioning) which are a core feature of Schizophrenia.

They represent key characteristics for the disorder that precede illness onset and are strong predictors of outcome. These deficits are not improved via medication, thus underscoring the need to develop psychosocial treatments to address functional impairments.

Deficits in neurocognition and social cognition associated with functional outcome have proven to be factors that respond to structured therapeutic interventions. Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) has been developed to improve neurocognitive abilities such as attention, working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, and executive functioning.

Social cognition is a separate cognitive domain that refers to a set of cognitive processes applied to the recognition, understanding, accurate processing, and effective use of social cues in real-world situations. In schizophrenia research, it is generally comprised of the following domains: Emotion perception, Theory of Mind (ToM), and attributional style.

A promising therapy developed by Roberts and Penn is Social Cognitive Intervention Training (SCIT) (Combs, Adams, et al., 2007). This therapy is comprised of three phases (i.e., Introduction & Emotions, Figuring out Situations, Checking it out) administered in a group format. Materials include a trainer’s manual, supporting training tools, which include laminated photographs and film clips of actors demonstrating difficulties in social cognition and social skills.

Acknowledgments

Professor Alice Medalia, Columbia University provided training in cognitive remediation in 2008. Her ongoing support facilitated the maintenance of these programs.

In 2010 Dame, Prof Til Wykes and her team hosted Dr Frances Dark at the Institute of Psychiatry and enabled our service early access to the computer program developed from the pen and paper, Frontal Executive Program developed by Anne Delahunty and Rod Morice in the 1990’s. This program CIRCuiTs is now used throughout Queensland. Dr Dark developed an introductory online training in cognitive remediation which was initially hosted by the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning. It is currently being updated by Dave Baker of the Learning support division of MSAMHS. Dr Dark and Dr Veronica De Monte continue to provide face to face skills training in cognitive remediation.

In 2010 Dr David Roberts provided training to a number of mental health clinicians in Social Cognition Interaction Training. Dr Dark together with Dr Stephen Parker and Victoria Gore-Jones have continued to provide training enabling the dissemination of SCIT throughout Queensland and providing the skilled workforce to enable a large randomised controlled trial of SCIT to be conducted in Brisbane with the support of Metro South and Metro North Health.

Last updated 26 July 2021
Last reviewed 26 July 2021