The practice required a digital cognitive therapy tool for the treatment of conditions such as depression, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, and substance abuse.
Cognitive Trainer at Skovhus
Skovhus Private Hospital is a Danish private psychiatric hospital offering treatment to young and adult patients age 12 and up. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are offered for patients diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses such as depression, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, and behavioral disturbances such as self-harm or substance or alcohol abuse. Treatment is conducted by an interdisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, family therapists, and other healthcare workers.
Jacob Hillestrøm is a cognitive trainer and responsible for the cognitive training service at Skovhus Private Hospital. He talks about how he originally came across the Danish version of HappyNeuron Pro five years ago when he was searching for tools for conducting cognitive training for a specific patient admitted with symptoms caused by an acquired brain injury. He was thrilled with the program and has since expanded the cognitive training service with the program at Skovhus Private Hospital. His goal is to make cognitive training accessible to all patients with reduced cognitive functioning due to other illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, chemo fog, and learning disabilities.
“It gives [patients] a boost when they train with HappyNeuron Pro and can see and notice that they become faster and get better memory.” – Jacob Hillestrøm
Jacob Hillestrøm explains that offering a cognitive training service, using HappyNeuronPro, to the broader group of patients is motivated by a wish to strengthen the patient’s attention, memory, and ability to form mental images. In addition, their goal is to support and strengthen the impact of other elements of the treatment regime at Skovhus Private Hospital. His experience is that all the patients, regardless of diagnosis, have problems with concentration to some extent. For example, if a patient has problems focusing on their assignments at hand, they are more prone to be distracted by their own thoughts. Therefore, the main goal of a cognitive training session at Skovhus is to help the patients gradually get better at focusing for longer stretches of time. If they can improve this skill, then they will see an overall improvement in their other symptoms.
An important aspect of the cognitive training service at Skovhus Private Hospital, Jacob Hillestrøm explains, is that it is conducted in calm and quiet surroundings where the patient and the trainer work together. The inpatients at Skovhus Private Hospital are generally considered a vulnerable group, and the calm atmosphere is important in facilitating the patient’s focus on the training process. This also makes it possible to have conversations with the patient about the connection between the content of the training and experiences in everyday life. Training sessions last one hour and are conducted once a week. The patients offer positive feedback regarding the possibility of working with tangible mental exercises and thereby being distracted from disturbing thoughts and images. The number of training sessions depends on the length of the patient’s admittance at Skovhus Private Hospital, typically ranging from two to six weeks.
Many patients have described to Jacob Hillestrøm that the main payoff from the cognitive training has been an increase in self-confidence and self-efficacy. A large proportion of the patients are carrying a lot of internal luggage made up of negative experiences and a sense that they “are no good.” The training with HappyNeuronPro is a positive experience as they can see their positive improvements in the result graphics. The ability to see that they can now do the tasks quicker or memorize a larger proportion of the stimulus material in the exercises helps combat those “spoiled fruit” thoughts of themselves.
Due to the positive experiences working with the program and the positive feedback from the patients, Jacob Hillestrøm states, “I am working on expanding our usage of HappyNeuronPro to many of our patients.”
Utilizing HappyNeuron Pro to help patients see improvement in cognitive deficits and gain a sense of confidence and self-efficacy.
Jacob has found that patients are experiencing improvement and are more confident after progressing in their cognitive training using HappyNeuron Pro.
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.