How CFDT Works with Other Modalities

Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT) is a therapeutic modality easily integrated with other therapeutic approaches to enhance effectiveness. It improves nervous system regulation and cognitive function. By strengthening cognitive functions, CFDT can help clients better engage in other therapeutic modalities and make progress more quickly.

Professionals can utilize CFDT as a precursor to other therapeutic modalities (such as cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavior, and mindfulness-based therapies) to improve treatment outcomes. Integrating CFDT with other practices can result in a more comprehensive treatment approach that addresses each client's unique needs.

Dysregulation vs. Disorder

People often interchange "dysregulation" and "disorder" when discussing mental health and cognitive function. However, important distinctions between the two concepts can affect treatment approaches, including CFDT.

"Dysregulation" refers to a disruption or breakdown in regulating a particular function, such as emotion or attention regulation. It can manifest in various ways, such as difficulty managing emotions, impulsivity, or distractibility. Dysregulation can be a symptom of many disorders, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.

On the other hand, "disorder" refers to a specific set of symptoms and behaviors that meet the diagnostic criteria for a particular mental health condition, such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or ADHD. It may involve multiple dysregulated functions, but specific diagnostic criteria define it.

The Relationship Between CFDT, Dysregulation, and Disorders

CFDT is an intervention designed to improve cognitive function and self-regulation in individuals who have experienced developmental trauma or chronic stress. This therapy follows the idea that the brain's neural connections can be strengthened and rewired through targeted cognitive exercises and sensory stimulation.

While dysregulation and disorder are related concepts, they refer to different aspects of mental health and cognitive function. However, CFDT can be helpful for both individuals with specific disorders and those who exhibit more general dysregulation because it targets the underlying neural connections that contribute to these difficulties.

For example, CFDT can help individuals with ADHD improve their attention regulation and impulse control while also addressing any emotional dysregulation that may be present. Similarly, it can help improve emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility, and social skills, even in individuals who do not meet a specific disorder's diagnostic criteria.

What Sets CFDT Apart from Other Treatments?

CFDT distinguishes itself from other treatments by focusing on cognitive function development as a core therapeutic approach. It utilizes engaging and fun tools to develop cognitive functions in clients and does not rely on talk therapy or medication. Experts base this approach on the principle that improving cognitive functions and regulating the nervous system can directly impact a client's mental health and overall well-being.

Additionally, CFDT client engagement is based on the latest research in neuroscience and utilizes objective cognitive assessment as a foundation for directing engagement. The modality also emphasizes ongoing education and certification requirements for practitioners, ensuring a high level of proficiency and standardization in therapy delivery. These factors, combined with a personalized and collaborative approach to treatment, make CFDT a unique and effective therapeutic modality.

Integrative Management

Effective integration of CFD therapy with other modalities requires mutual understanding and respect for each party's therapeutic focus, clinical expertise, and scope of responsibility. However, it is equally crucial to recognize and acknowledge the limitations and contributions of other clinicians to the client's well-being. The following sections serve as recommendations for developing models of care that promote the effective integration of CFD therapy with different clinical approaches.


Integration with Psychiatry

Integration with Psychiatry

Integration with Psychiatry

  • Benefits: psychiatry can induce neurological regulation, which can result in a client being able to engage in CFD and other therapies with fewer initial challenges
  • Challenges: medications may result in cognitive behavior down-regulation, which can interfere with neuroplastic remodeling.
  • Order of Modality: places psychiatry before CFD therapy, if medication is warranted.

Integrating CFDT into clinical care requires a thorough understanding of the medical conditions that may affect a client's cognitive function. The psychiatrist is initially responsible for ruling out any medical conditions causing cognitive dysfunction. For the CFD therapist, it is essential to consider underlying medical conditions that may be a temporary rule-out for engaging the client.

The CFD therapist must also be aware of the impact of medications on cognitive function. While they may have an additive beneficial effect with CFDT, managing doses and monitoring secondary responses remain the responsibility of the prescribing psychiatrist. However, the CFD therapist should accurately document and communicate relevant observations and concerns to the psychiatrist of record.


Integration with Insight / Talk Therapy

Integration with Insight / Talk Therapy

Integration with Insight / Talk Therapy

  • Benefits: insight/talk therapy can be more proficient than CFDT in improving the client's social cognitive functions and updating top-down self-narrative
  • Challenges: insight/talk therapy can yield a potent memory response, which may result in conscious access to previously "protected" memories and, subsequently, retraumatization.
  • Order of Modality: needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis

Insight/talk therapists have a greater scope of responsibility and expertise regarding well-documented thought, learning, and relational constructs. In contrast, CFD therapists should have more expertise on the neurological underpinnings of observable behavior and engagement within the environment(s).

The therapy with the primary order of modality should be determined case-by-case, depending on the client's level of dysregulation and the underlying neurological dysregulation. The modality addressing the narrative issues could have the order of modality preceding CFD therapy if the client is regulated sufficiently to engage effectively, and court-ordered or salient medical needs will take precedence in the order of modality.


Integration with Primary Care

Integration with Primary Care

Integration with Primary Care

  • Benefits: medical care can rule out or address underlying medical conditions
  • Challenges: the interplay between medical conditions and mental health is poorly understood and sometimes overlooked, ignored, or discounted by medical personnel
  • Order of Modality: places medical before CFD therapy

Integrating CFDT with primary care has benefits and challenges. CFD therapy should follow medical evaluation, with medical personnel identifying or treating causal factors. CFD therapists should assess clients when they are medically stable but with possible cognitive declines due to chronic conditions.

Medical doctors have expertise in medicines, biological functioning, and pathology, while CFD therapists have experience with using Bayesian inference, therapeutic crisis interventions, and the nervous system's responses to the environment. Integration requires coordination and communication between medical and mental health professionals.

How to Integrate CFDT With Your Clinic or Practice

CFDT is a powerful modality designed to help individuals develop cognitive functions, increase mental flexibility, and regulate emotions. If you are a mental health professional looking to integrate CFDT into your clinic or practice, there are several things to consider. Here are some tips for incorporating CFDT into your existing therapeutic approach.

Understand the Principles of CFDT

Before incorporating CFDT into your practice, you must have a solid understanding of the principles behind this therapeutic modality. CFDT uses an applied neuroscientific approach to improve cognitive function and nervous system regulation. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the key concepts of CFDT and how you might apply them in a clinical setting.

Consider the Needs of Your clients

As with any therapeutic modality, it's essential to consider the specific needs of your clients when integrating CFDT into your practice. CFDT can be effective for many mental health concerns but is particularly beneficial for individuals with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Consider which clients may benefit from CFDT and tailor your approach accordingly.

Train Your Staff

If you plan to integrate CFDT into your practice, ensure your staff is properly trained in this therapeutic modality. Consider offering training sessions or workshops to help your staff better understand CFDT and how it can best help clients. Continued education helps to ensure that all team members are on the same page and can provide the best possible care to your clients.

Create Treatment Plans That Incorporate CFDT

When working with clients, creating treatment plans that incorporate CFDT as appropriate is important. These plans may involve combining CFDT with other therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy. By tailoring treatment plans to each client's specific needs, you can ensure that they receive the most effective care possible.

Monitor Progress and Adjust Treatment as Needed

As with any therapeutic approach, monitoring your client's progress and adjusting treatment plans as needed is crucial. Please keep track of how your clients respond to CFDT and other therapeutic modalities and make adjustments as necessary to ensure they receive the most effective care possible.

Incorporating CFDT into your clinic or practice can be a powerful way to help your clients develop the cognitive functions and nervous system regulation and strategies they need to manage their emotions and improve their overall well-being. You can effectively integrate CFDT into your therapeutic approach and provide the best possible care to your clients.

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What is Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT)?

Cognitive Function Development Therapy (CFDT) is a form of therapy that aims to improve cognitive function and bring regulation to the ANS (autonomic nervous system) through exercises and activities targeting the attention networks and memory systems.

Who can benefit from CFDT?

CFDT benefits individuals experiencing neurologic dysregulation. Dysregulation can manifest in a variety of ways: the squirminess of a child with ADHD; the out-of-proportion response to a perceived threat by someone with PTSD; even the superficial compliance of someone who is desperately anxious or afraid. Where behaviors are “excessive” or “subdued” compared to others’ “normal” behaviors, or simply “out of place” for the observed context, the individual is likely experiencing neurological dysregulation. We also see dysregulation frequently in individuals who are “resistant” to other forms of treatment or intervention. In such cases, CFDT has often proven an effective modality, with most clients making significant progress (what one mental health CEO described as “changed trajectories”) in as little as 4–6 months.

What are the goals of CFDT?

The primary goal of CFDT is to improve cognitive function in areas such as attention, memory, and problem-solving. Additionally, CFDT aims to enhance functional independence and quality of life for individuals with cognitive function weaknesses and nervous system dysregulation.

How long does CFDT last?

The duration of CFDT varies depending on individual needs and goals. CFDT starts with an objective assessment of cognitive functions, which informs the prescribed number of sessions. A progress assessment occurs after 8-12 weeks and further defines the duration, based on measurable results.

Does insurance cover CFDT?

Insurance may cover CFDT, depending on the individual's insurance plan and diagnosis.

What are the benefits of CFDT?

The benefits of CFDT include improved regulation and cognitive function which leads to better focus. memory, reasoning and quality of life. CFDT can also help individuals maintain and enhance their cognitive abilities and prevent decline.

Is CFDT a substitute for medical treatment?

No, CFDT is not a substitute for medical treatment. It is a complementary therapy used in conjunction with medical treatment to improve cognitive function and quality of life.

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If you're ready to begin your certification process, please contact us. We're happy to help you learn more about our training programs and start your journey toward becoming a CFD Therapist.