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Cognitive Remediation

Cognitive dysfunction in mental illness

Mental illness affects many people, but what most do not realize is that it does not just cause emotional problems – it causes cognitive problems, too. People with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and other psychiatric disorders may find it difficult to think clearly, pay attention, and remember. For some, the cognitive problems are only evident during the episodes of illness. For others, the cognitive problems are more persistent. If psychiatric illness is managed well, the person can lead a more productive life and have longer periods of stability.

Contact: 212 326-8441

At ColumbiaDoctors - Midtown at 51 West 51st Street, we offer state-of-the-art treatment for the cognitive symptoms of mental illness. Here, individuals who are experiencing cognitive problems can receive treatment to improve their thinking skills.

1. Computer-based cognitive skills groups: These groups offer highly individualized training using the widely recognized NEAR model (Neuropsychological and Educational Approach to Remediation). In these groups, individuals work at their own computer on tasks identified as helpful for them. Each participant works at his or her own pace, so while a group of people works, the group differs from a group where everyone is doing the same task at the same time.

2. Verbally-based cognitive skills groups: These groups discuss strategies to improve cognitive skills and develop ways to use new cognitive abilities to improve performance of everyday tasks.

3. Social skills groups: These groups focus on social cognition, which has been defined as cognitive skills used in social interactions. These groups help people become more accurate at perceiving the intentions and dispositions of others and act appropriately in social contexts.

4. Task groups: These groups are task oriented groups, where participants work on projects that they have been having difficulty completing on their own. For example, work may be focused on the completion of a resume or application, learning time management skills and calendar use, managing the home and independent living skills, and so on.

How do you know if these groups would be right for you?

There are different mental illnesses and they affect cognition differently. Furthermore, not every person is affected in the same way. Some of the problems people often experience include the ability to:

  • pay attention; remember and recall information;
  • process information quickly;
  • respond to information quickly;
  • think critically;
  • plan, organize and problem-solve; and
  • initiate speech.

How can cognitive dysfunction be treated?

At ColumbiaDoctors - Midtown, we treat cognitive dysfunction in three ways:

1. Your psychiatrist will make sure that your medications are best for your overall condition, including the cognitive problems you may be having.

2. We offer cognitive skills training groups for people with different diagnoses. Since each disorder may affect cognition differently, it can be helpful to work with people who share similar problems. We offer groups for people with ADHD, psychotic disorders, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, affective disorders and early onset dementia.

3. We offer education and information so you will be informed about your condition and how to best treat it. 


  • Alice Medalia, PhD, Director of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
  • Tiffany Herlands, PsyD, Director of Rehabilitation Psychology Services at Columbia University Eastside

Financial Information

Cognitive Skills Training is a fee-for-service clinical program.


To schedule an appointment, make a referral, or for further information, please call 212-326-8441.


ColumbiaDoctors - Midtown
51 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019



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