What is Action-Based Cognitive Remediation?

Diving Into Dr. Christopher Bowie’s Research & New Treatment Method

action based cognitive remediation

You’ve likely heard of cognitive remediation therapy if you work in the mental health space. But have you heard of Action-Based Cognitive Remediation (ABCR)? Researchers in Canada developed ABCR method to treat cognitive function deficits in cases of severe mental illness. 

ABCR involves using cognitive remediation software, like HappyNeuron Pro, and specific role-playing activities to bridge cognitive skills with real life. So that individuals with these deficits can slowly adapt to their challenges with the ultimate goal of re-engaging back into society. 


With this in mind, we will explore what CRT is, what ABCR is, and how it actually works. If you want to read our customer testimonial from clinicians using ABCR, check it out here → 

What Is Cognitive Remediation Therapy?

Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) is a form of therapy that is used to address cognitive functioning in people with cognitive impairment due to a psychiatric disorder. Individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and other psychiatric disorders often experience positive effects from CRT. 

Introduction to Action-Based Cognitive Remediation

Dr. Christopher Bowie is the researcher behind Action Based Cognitive Remediation (ABCR). ABCR combines principles of cognitive-behavioral therapies with cognitive training for the purpose of treating cognitive function in cases of severe mental illness. 


Neurocognitive impairments are core features of psychotic disorders and are the best predictor of the patient’s ability to function within the community, as well as their disability outcomes. At the time of this article, with the exception of cognitive remediation, no treatments (including medications) address neurocognitive impairments of psychiatric disorders.


ABCR has been developed in research settings and is slowly being implemented in small group settings in British Columbia. Although certification is not yet widely available, we hope to see it become more widespread in the near future.


Another therapeutic method, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is often utilized in cases of severe mental illness. CBT addresses emotions and behavior, which are very important pieces in the puzzle of recovery. However, they are not the only significant pieces. Cognitive functions are sometimes overlooked in recovery programs. The goal of CRT and ABCR is to address these concerns, working in tandem with therapy that addresses emotional and behavioral outcomes. 

How does ABCR work?

ABCR combines traditional cognitive training exercises and techniques with simulated real-life situations and goal setting. In group settings, trained professionals teach about different cognitive functions and how they are used in real life. The individual then uses a HappyNeuron Pro digital exercise to practice the cognitive skill on a computer. At the end of a module, the group will follow a set role-playing activity to bridge the digital exercise to real-life interactions. 


If you would like to learn more, email us at info@happyneuronpro.com and put in the subject line, “Teach Me about ABCR”. We will gladly connect you with the leading researchers!


Action-Based Cognitive Remediation is an exciting new frontier, and small studies have yielded positive results. More research has to be conducted on the longevity of the intervention and its effectiveness. However, in the realm of new techniques to improve the lives of individuals in our community, we are excited for the future. We can’t wait to see how outcomes may improve through the use of this technique.

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Pulling from our decades of experience in Cognitive Therapeutics, we aim to help you enrich your practice through the use of digital and paper tools.