Digital tools like HappyNeuron Pro provide a platform to practice cognitive skills, but you have to help your patients understand the purpose of their practice and how it transfers into everyday life.
The transfer of skills from one setting into another is called generalization. The process that fosters behavior change following cognitive intervention is called bridging.
Bridging aims to achieve generalization, but can only do so with guidance from the therapist.
With HappyNeuron Pro, you can select exercises for your patients to perform at home and in the clinic. For example, your patient may tell you: “I have trouble remembering faces and names. It’s hard for me to go to family events because I get distracted and overwhelmed seeing people because I don’t remember their names or things about them”.
This patient is describing deficits in executive function, visual and auditory memory, and attention. HappyNeuron Pro offers exercises that target these areas. A sample workout plan from HappyNeuron Pro that can be used to improve these cognitive skills would include exercises such as I Remember You!. Gulf Stream, You’ve Got Voicemail!, Hurray for Change!, An American in Paris, and Two-Timing. While this is a short-workout plan, HappyNeuron Pro offers a variety of exercises that you can use with your patients to target various domains of cognition.
Taking the above workout plan, you would have your patient perform an exercise under your supervision to ensure they understand how to access and use the digital tool. While they’re working with you, you’d be sure they’d be approaching each other, what strategies they’re using to complete the exercises, what did they enjoy, and what did they think they can do better on.
You would then send them a workout and review their results before their next session. The areas your patient is struggling with would become your focus for future therapy sessions. Thus, the home practice would allow you to better tailor your therapy so that your patients are practicing the skills they are weakest in.
Once your patients have practiced their skills, it is time to see how they are translating into real life. You can do this by creating mock scenarios, such as a party, or by exposing them to an environment where they would normally use the skills.
Bridging will look different for individual and group sessions. It is typically recommended to do bridging as a group activity to foster social interaction and encourage diversity of strategies.
A suggestion for a bridging activity would be a mock party.
You can set up a mock party and have participants share their name, where they are from, and their favorite color. Each participant would be asked to share details about a person they had not met before. You would then discuss what strategies they used to remember a person’s name, what their favorite color was, and how they remembered the faces of the people they interacted with.
You would write these strategies on a board and discuss each person’s approach. You would connect these strategies to the therapeutic intervention you are doing, and emphasize the importance of the practice your patient’s are doing at home and during therapy with you.
For individual bridging, you could print pictures of people that your patient knows and add some unfamiliar faces. You would write on the back of each picture a person’s favorite color, where they are from, and their name. Your patient would study each card, of which you would then quiz them by only showing them the faces of the people they met. You would ask “what is this person’s name? where are they from? what is their favorite color?”, and go over the strategies they used to remember this information.
With bridging, you need to get creative and replicate situations in daily life that are important for your patient.
For guidance on bridging, you can purchase Alice Medalia and Chris Bowie’s Cognitive Remediation Guide to Improve Functional Outcomes .
After bridging activities are completed, it is important to reflect on what was done prior to the exercise, during the exercise, and what would be done afterwards for optimal outcomes. This allows the patient and therapist to reflect on how to proceed with therapy and adjust treatment plans as necessary.
HappyNeuron Pro can be part of your therapeutic toolkit as you conduct cognitive remediation therapy in your setting. What is important is that you provide your patients stimulating activities that they can translate into their lives. Bridging is the process that fosters change by connecting home practice, therapy sessions, and real-world situations.
Page last updated on Aug 2,2019
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It was just enjoyable to see the results right at the moment. So once a patient is done with the group, I was able to get the results immediately and see what they did well on and what needed to still be improved. HappyNeuron Pro is just easy and accessible.
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We love this program! One of my success stories was the man who had a stroke. As a matter of fact, everybody noticed his progress after using HappyNeuron Pro.
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