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Question:

What is the typical duration of cognitive remediation therapy. For how long can the benefits be sustained?

Answered by: Alice Medalia

Wykes et al (2011) reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry on 40 randomized controlled research trials of over 2000 people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who were participating in cognitive remediation (CR) to improve neuro-cognitive skills like memory, processing speed, attention. In a clinical research setting, CR is delivered, on average, for a total of 32 hours, 2 to 3 times per week over the course of 17 weeks. Data from at least 11 durability studies of CR for schizophrenia indicate that there continues to be a moderate effect (ES=0.43) for cognitive improvement after an average of 8 months after the cessation of treatment.

At the Lieber Recovery Clinic in New York ( www.lieberclinic.com) we have been offering cognitive remediation as a clinical service to people with a variety of diagnoses for six years. In that clinical setting, the average duration of CR is 4.5 months.

Ultimately, CR should be monitored by a clinician who can help the recipient personalize the experience so that it is most clinically beneficial. Each person is unique and deserves a personalized treatment plan that links their CR to their recovery goals. Thus some may require more sessions than others, and some may need booster sessions.