About the Modality

Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT)

Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT) is a unique therapeutic modality that has been demonstrated clinically effective for children (ages 6+) and adults. Using objective assessments of primary cognitive functions to direct treatment, CFDT targets lower functions to promote cognitive resource development and produce a more adaptive nervous system functioning. CFD therapy utilizes dynamically interactive activities with either a competitive or collaborative presentation to stimulate and drive the targeted neuroplastic remodeling. Outcomes include reduced or eliminated dependence on medications, successful completion of traditional therapies, and achievements beyond clinical success such as improved relationships and better academic/vocational performance.

How It Works

Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT) aims to improve cognitive functioning and emotional regulation by strengthening neural pathways in the brain. The therapy refers to the brain's adaptability to change throughout life and treats a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

CFDT consists of various cognitive exercises and activities, which help improve the ability to think logically and critically, maintain focus and attention, and remember information accurately. Through regular practice, it enhances cognitive skills and improves emotional regulation, resulting in improved quality of life and increased ability to manage stress and cope with challenging situations.

CFDT and Other Modalities

CFDT can work well in combination with other modalities of therapy. It is especially effective as a precursor to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) by preparing the brain to change behavior. When combined with mindfulness-based therapies, CFDT enhances cognitive abilities and helps individuals develop a greater awareness of their thoughts and emotions.

CFDI utilizing one of their techniques

The Pillars of CFDT

Therapists premise CFDT on four core concepts, the so-called “pillars” of CFDT. The pillars of CFDT form the foundation for the modality's theoretical and practical applications. These include:

Pillar 1

Discernible Thinking

Everyone's thinking is rational and understandable based on their information and environment. This reality means that people's behavior, emotions, and reactions can be understood and explained by their circumstances and knowledge at that moment, even if it may not seem rational or appropriate to others who don't have the same information or context.

Pillar 2

Desired Neuroplasticity

The nervous system can change to a more desirable state through neuroplasticity within a therapeutic space. CFDT believes there are no inherently chronic conditions, only limitations in our understanding of how to induce desired changes.

Pillar 3

Achieved Homeostasis

Dysregulation occurs when a substantial disparity exists between an individual's perceived internal and external environments, and their nervous system cannot achieve a dynamic balance (homeostasis).

Think of this as a comparison between someone standing in a waist high-river and someone standing on land. The faster the water flows, the more an individual needs to lean upriver to stand upright. However, a person already standing on the shore can do so easily.

Pillar 4

Cognitive Modification

Cognitive resources can modify the system state without directly addressing the dysregulation's cause. With enough resources, neurodynamics will fix itself. This process is similar to how the body naturally heals from injury or illness with the help of sleep, nutrients, and medical care.

Who Benefits from CFDT?

CFDT focuses on improving cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and decision-making. It can benefit individuals of diverse ages (6 and above) who want to enhance their cognitive functions  or those who have experienced a decline in cognition due to aging or injury. Some of the categories that can benefit from CFDT are:

People with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, or PTSD
Individuals with traumatic brain injuries or neurological disorders
Professionals who wish to enhance their cognitive functions  for career advancement
Elderly individuals experiencing cognitive decline
Athletes desiring to improve their mental capabilities for sports performance

Success Stories

CFDT has successfully improved cognitive functions  in various individuals, including those with cognitive impairments, traumatic brain injuries, and even neurological disorders. Some success stories include enhanced memory, attention, problem-solving skills, athleticism, academic and professional performance, and overall quality of life.

A happy couple out in the forest

The Ideal CFDT Client Profile

The ideal client for Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT) is someone who is experiencing dysregulation, where their nervous system is out of balance due to internal and external factors. This imbalance can manifest in a variety of symptoms, such as attention deficit, anxiety, depression, trauma-related issues, or other emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Other important components include:

  • Outpatient Status: CFDT is an outpatient modality, so the ideal client profile includes individuals who can attend regular therapy sessions while maintaining their regular daily activities.
  • Medical Stability: While this may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis, clients should be medically stable and able to participate in sessions.
  • Age 6+: While the recommended age for CFDT is six years or older, adjustments are sometimes possible for younger children.
  • Positive Agency: Positive agency is essential for clients as they need to be willing and committed to participating in the therapeutic process actively.
  • Verbal Communication: Finally, verbal communication is preferred, but modifications can be made for deaf/mute clients.

The Ideal CFD Therapist Profile

CFD is a unique and active therapeutic modality that works best when therapists embody and cultivate  the following attributes:

Therapeutic empathy

Transferable clinical insight

Relational flexibility

Disciplined compassion


About Us

The CFD Institute is an organization dedicated to promoting and advancing the field of Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT). Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for people throughout the United States and Canada by training and certifying individuals to provide this transformative therapeutic modality.