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The clinical neuropsychologist's dilemma
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 11(4), 488-493
Year of publication:
This paper suggests that problems faced by therapists, patients and their families involved in cognitive rehabilitation are so diverse and complicated that several theoretical bases are required to address these problems. Claims that cognitive rehabilitation can be rendered effective by following findings from research in the basic cognitive neurosciences cannot be justified. This is in contrast to the conclusions made in Robertson's (2003) elegant and well researched paper entitled ‘Cognitive neuroscience and brain rehabilitation: A promise kept’. Robertson draws support from studies in plasticity, unilateral neglect in stroke patients, the reduction of executive deficits in people with brain injury and others. Nevertheless, it is the contention of this paper that such research on its own cannot provide sufficient guidelines or a strong enough framework to cope with the scale and complexity of concerns faced by those involved in the process of cognitive rehabilitation. A typical patient admitted to a brain injury rehabilitation unit is likely to be a young man with a number of cognitive, emotional, behavioral and work-related problems. His family needs help. Although we can call upon research from the neurosciences to help reduce specific difficulties, such contributions are at best limited in the face of the multiplicity of concerns that face participants in cognitive rehabilitation.