15| Interventional Neuropsychology: Compensatory Cognitive Training – With Dr. Beth Twamley

In today’s episode, we discuss the following topics with Dr. Twamley:

  • How to capitalize on spared memory systems such as the neostriatal habit learning system (4:24)
  • Cognitive abilities that are targeted in compensatory cognitive training (CCT): prospective memory, attention and vigilance, learning and memory, and executive functioning (7:08)
  • Dosage effects in conventional CCT interventions (i.e., do we need to deliver a 10-12-week intervention in order to see positive effects?) (11:35)
  • Importance of psychoeducation (12:49)
  • Delineating important terminology in the CCT literature (i.e., difference between cog rehab, remediation, enhancement, etc.) (15:54)
  • CCT in severe mental illness, traumatic brain injury, hoarding disorder, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases (18:58)
  • How baseline cognitive functioning moderates CCT outcomes (29:52)
  • Restorative versus compensatory approaches to cognitive training (34:44)
  • Advice for clinicians who are interested in implementing CCT in their practices (43:05)
  • Whether or not it would be helpful to add CCT to typical psychological treatments for mood disorders (44:15)
  • Patient characteristics that may serve as barriers to CCT success (e.g., anosognosia, defeatist beliefs) (54:25)
  • Benefits and challenges to a scientific career spanning multiple clinical populations (1:00:41)
  • A brief overview of the process of writing a treatment manual (1:02:30)
  • How neuropsychologists can benefit from functioning as interventionists (in addition to assessors) in their professional lives (1:05:38)

Free access to CCT manuals and other resources: www.cogsmart.com

About Beth

Dr. Twamley is a neuropsychologist and Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego.  Much of her work is based at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, where she is a Research Health Scientist and the Director of the Clinical Research Unit of the Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health.  Dr. Twamley’s research has focused on cognitive training and other interventions to improve real-world functioning for individuals with severe mental illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, and other cognitive impairments.  She has developed and evaluated Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) and Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART) with funding from NIH, VA, DoD, BBRF/NARSAD, and UC San Diego grants.  These treatment manuals and other clinical materials are available at no charge on her website, www.cogsmart.com.



  1. Thank you, Dr. Twamley and NavNeuro. I can’t believe I stumbled upon this podcast. It’s the first time I’ve heard of CCT, and I believe it might be a promising path to help my brother – he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which he’s managing well with medication. I’ve been digging into neuropsych testing to figure out how best to help with what I suspect are severe gaps in his learning abilities. This podcast touched on so many of my questions and doubts about his behavior, and gave me some hope that there is help for him. Really well done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *