Neurocognitive Therapy

Thrive Psychology Clinic > Blog > Neurocognitive Therapy

July 30, 2020 / By thadmin2

Neurocognitive Therapy 

  1. What is Neurocognitive Therapy?
  2. Who needs Neurocognitive Therapy, and what are everyday Neurocognitive-related struggles faced by children and youths? 
  3. What are the different methods used in Neurocognitive Therapy regarding each child’s specific need? 
  4. Parenting a child who has a mental or behavioural need
    • What can you do as a parent?

 

What is Neurocognitive Therapy?

 

         Neurocognitive Therapy is a form of therapeutic intervention that recognises our brain’s ability to reorganise itself by establishing new neural connections throughout life. For example, learning a new ability or challenging our thoughts and behaviours would result in neurological changes in our brain. This implies that our brain is capable of undergoing biological changes throughout our lifetime, typically as a result of psychological experiences. This ability is often referred to as “neuroplasticity” in the brain.

Neurocognitive Therapy is often incorporated into the client’s treatment plan in order to aid their ability to sustain attention and concentration over long periods of time. At Thrive Psychology Clinic, we have designed the treatment to improve areas such as auditory and visual processing, memory, attention, mental capacity, decision-making, sequencing, spatial awareness, and cognitive flexibility. Our Psychologists are highly trained to be able to assess and determine the appropriate exercises for the client to enrich the brain’s function and encourage neuroplasticity.

While it was once thought that neuroplasticity would manifest only during childhood, research has shown that the neuroplastic brain can be altered even through adulthood. However, it is important to note that the developing brain of children exhibits higher degrees of plasticity than the adult brain. For this reason, it is advantageous to engage in brain training at a young age.

Here are some indicators that parents could look out for in their child when considering Neurocognitive Therapy as a form of intervention: 

  • Difficulty with planning
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Poor decision-making 
  • Inability to focus on tasks 
  • Poor memory (e.g., inability to remember people, objects, or school work)
  • Troubles with completing regular tasks or assignments 
  • Inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour

 

Who needs Neurocognitive Therapy, and what are the daily neurocognitive-related struggles faced by children and youths?

 

Although there is a wide range of developmental and behavioural issues that children may endure during childhood, some of the more commonly reported characteristics include: 

  • Defiance
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Temper tantrums
  • Bedtime schedule struggles 
  • Impulsive behaviour 

 

With the advent of technology, the digital age provides plenty of distraction and the constant bombardment of information from many sources. Any children, adolescents and adults may be prone to feel anxious and overwhelmed by sensory inputs and the challenges of multi-tasking. Attention in children may be divided between their family, schoolwork, friends, and it may become hard to focus for children and adults alike, resulting in neurocognitive challenges that may present itself in the form of loss of concentration, inability to focus and sustain attention for long periods of time.   

Many clients with ADHD, learning disorders, memory impairment, impulse control difficulties or slowed processing speed can benefit from Neurocognitive therapy. These evidence-based interventions can aid in strengthening our brain’s ability to process information more efficiently and have been shown in research to be effective for those with brain trauma or stroke. Neurocognitive therapy can improve a child’s attention span, visual processing, and listening skills, decision-making, and working memory. This form of therapy can expand the brain’s ability to sustain attention and concentration for extended periods, helping the child to achieve broader and socially meaningful outcomes. For example, research has shown that neurocognitive therapy can help improve the child’s social status as the increased attentive behavior in class and improved quality of schoolwork allowed them to gain more favour and normalcy in school. 

 

What are the different methods used in Neurocognitive Therapy regarding each child’s specific need?

 

A relatively new field of study and research in psychology, the development of cognitive sciences and utilisation of new technology such as brain mapping and stimulation, has empowered psychologists to acquire more knowledge about the brain and its functions, leading to the development of neurocognitive therapy. It is also paired with individually-tailored cognitive behavioral therapy conducted with the psychologists. In neurocognitive therapy, various neurological mechanisms of mental health disorders are used like brain mapping, cognitive assessment and modelling. Interventions focus on the enhancement of attention and cognitive inhibition, promotion of insight and metacognition (Naji and Ekhtiari, 2016). 

At Thrive, we utilise state-of-the-art neurotechnology like the Neeuro Senzeband in our neurocognitive therapy to help train and improve children’s cognitive skills. The Neeuro Senzeband is a revolutionary non-invasive EEG tracking headband that uses its application software to train and track the child’s attention, focus, memory, mental workload and relaxation levels. The device safely measures brain signals as the child plays with the cognitive-training exercises in the application, and aids our psychologists in their assessment and treatment. 

Neurocognitive therapy has been shown to be effective in increasing and restructuring children’s cognitive capabilities, while helping to inform therapists on the best course of action and personalised treatment,  with the use of evidence-based neurological results from neurotechnology. 

 

Parenting a child who has mental or behavioural needs 

 

Parenting a child with mental or behavioural needs can be especially overwhelming and challenging at times. There will be many challenges ahead, but with the right support, guidance and preparation, the child can thrive. Here are some useful tips that may help you in your journey with your child:

According to national guidelines from the National Health Service (UK), throughout the journey with your child, it is crucial for the parents to: 

  • Learning and researching more about the disability
  • Be consistent and supportive. 
  • Talk to your child about his/her needs and wants, recognise your child as an individual. Recognise the qualities your child possesses
  • Join a support group – learning from other families and parents can be very empowering. 
  • Have hope and set goals for your child – set realistic goals in small incremental steps to guide your child. 

Lastly, it is also crucial that you speak to professionals and seek professional help if necessary. Seek help early, so that you do not have to bear the emotional burden alone or worse, allow the situation to escalate to the point where you are burnt out. 

Our team of highly trained and experienced Psychologists, Counsellors, and Therapists are always ready to serve you and your child’s needs. We cater to those with anxiety, depression, learning disorders, and also those who would like to simply work towards better mental health. Share your situation with us at the initial consultation, and we will work together to curate an individualised treatment plan based on your needs.

Contact us for any enquiries or to make an appointment with us.

References

Naji, B., and H. Ekhtiari. “Editorial: New Generation of Psychotherapies Inspired by Cognitive Neuroscience Development: Emergence of Neurocognitive Therapies.” Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, 2016, doi:10.15412/j.bcn.03070301.