Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth Leighton, CET Coach; Wendy Maayan, CET Trainer; Lynn Graziano-Shaffer, CET Coordinator and Coach; and Kolnae Jones, CET Coach.
JAMESTOWN, N.Y.:--On March 21, a graduation ceremony was held at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts in Jamestown to celebrate the first class to complete Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET). CET is an evidence-based practice designed to help people with schizophrenia and related cognitive disorders improve brain and cognitive development, social cognition, and increase vocational capabilities. CET is often called physical therapy for the brain.
Each CET participant made a commitment to a year-long course and required weekly attendance at a 60-minute computer class, a 90-minute social cognition class, and a 30-minute one on one individual coaching session with their CET coach. Graduates learned about their disabilities on a psychological and social level while completing homework and reviewing their answers in class every week. Each participant was also required to take a turn at being chairperson in the ongoing classes, which strengthened their concentration, focus, and memory.
“CET group was awesome, it has changed my life,” said one of the CET graduates from the group.
“CET educates participants on Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections throughout life,” said Lynn Graziano-Shaffer, Clinical Coordinator and CET Coach. “With education, training, and practice, individuals can increase and improve things like reaction time, working memory, problem solving, and interpersonal and social effectiveness. As we have seen over the course of the last year with our graduates, the brain absolutely has the ability to change in ways that can enrich people’s lives, instilling motivation and hope.”
Staff members from the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene are now certified to provide Cognitive Enhancement Therapy to the community. Lynn Graziano-Shaffer, Clinical Coordinator, is the new CET Coordinator and a CET coach. Liz Leighton and Kolnae Jones, both Senior Case Workers, were also certified as CET coaches.
Those certified to teach CET are called coaches rather than teachers because they function like coaches on a team. Coaches are trained to motivate CET participants and give assistance in meeting goals participants have set in the program. These goals are set using CET concepts and skills, and the goals are accomplished in everyday life with family and friends and in employment and education environments.
“It is challenging to take on such an intensive program when your plates are already full,” said Wendy Maayan, LMSW,MAAT, CET Trainer and Associate Director, Center for Cognition and Recovery LLC. “CET takes a lot of outside preparation, weekly lectures, agendas, homework review, individual coaching and computer training. Each of these hard working clinicians put in about 500 hours of training in the implementation of CET. You took on the challenge with a smile and a ’can do’ attitude that will make CET a successful program for years to come in Chautauqua County.”
To find out more about Cognitive Enhancement Therapy visit www.cetcleveland.org or contact Lynn Graziano-Shaffer, LCSW-R, Clinical Coordinator, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene at (716) 661-8330.