Cognitive Health – Executive Function Counseling
Cognitive health, from an executive function lens, is measured by a person’s ability to make a plan, follow a plan and complete the plan.
In a sense, it is maintaining self-directed attention. Many advanced cognitive skills are required in the process of learning from the past and thinking ahead of the present moment. These skills are referred to as executive function skills.
Advances in neuroscience has contributed to a better understanding of depression, executive function, anxiety and ADHD. We now understand how executive function abilities impact mental health, and the role these abilities play in self-regulation. There are many factors that impact the development of executive function skills. Including a neurodevelopmental condition, like ADHD, early childhood abuse or neglect, or suffering from depression.
Executive function skills can be learned and strengthened- improving and protecting cognitive health.
At Conscious Living Counseling & Education Center, we have a provider that is trained in executive function evaluation and counseling. We also work with area neuro-cognitive specialists and provide referrals, when appropriate.
A person’s executive function (EF) abilities are measured by the strength in these areas:
Self-Awareness: A person’s ability to accurately see his or her behavior, motives, name emotions and maintain self-directed attention.
Other-Awareness: Often referred to as “social awareness” is a person’s ability to accurately identify the behavior, motives and emotions of others.
Inhibition: Often referred to as “self-restraint” or “self-control.” To inhibit is the ability to stop an action in order to fully process information necessary to make a wise decision.
Non-Verbal Working Memory: The ability to hold things in your mind and create mental images.
Verbal Working Memory: This is self-speech which may occur both internally or externally. It is your brain talking to your brain. Inner verbal self-speech is the number #1 factor that influences your behavior.
Emotional Self-Regulation: Emotion regulation is dependent on other EF skills functioning well. Emotion regulation is your ability to manage cognitions, emotions and your body’s physical sensations.
Internal-Motivation: How well you can motivate yourself to complete a task when there is no immediate external reward or consequence.
Planning Ahead: How well you can stay aware of your values and priorities and not become easily distracted by momentary desires which will block you from reaching your goals.
Active Problem Solving: This skill requires the mind to be realistic, creative and flexible. Like other EF skills, it can improve with practice. You must be able to see true options (what exists) and eliminate magical thinking (currently doesn’t exist). With true options, you mix and match to create options for moving forward based on your desired outcome.
Time Awareness: How much wisdom you have about time (example: how long does a task take to complete?) and the energy it takes to complete a task in a certain time frame (doing too little will make the body sluggish and doing too much will fatigue the body). Time awareness is required for time and energy management. People who demonstrate poor time awareness usually struggle with time and energy management. They often do not understand why a planner is helpful and struggle to use it effectively.
Please request provider, Kama Jensen, when calling to schedule an appointment to discuss care for executive function skills.