ABCT Services

Kim Mueser and Susan McGurk Recorded Webinar: The Thinking Skills for Work Programs: Cognitive Enhancement and Employment for People with Serious Mental Illness


1.5 CE credits earned with successful completion of the Post Webinar Evaluation and Post Webinar Quiz


Thursday, November 29th, 2018

11 am – 12:30 pm Eastern/ 10 am – 11:30 pm Central/ 9 am – 10:30 am Mountain/ 8 am – 9:30 am Pacific


Title:  The Thinking Skills for Work Programs: Cognitive Enhancement and Employment for People with Serious Mental Illness

Audience Level:  Intermediate

Presenter and Affiliation: Kim T. Mueser, Ph.D and Susan R. McGurk, Ph.D

This presentation will: 1) sum up findings of approximately 40 randomized, controlled trials evaluating the effects of cognitive rehabilitation on cognitive outcomes in SMI; 2) demonstrate the basics of cognitive training programs, including cognitive practice software, strategy coaching, meta cognitive strategies, and compensatory strategies; 3) provide examples of the generalization of cognitive task practice to performance of work tasks; 4) describe the Thinking Skills for Work Program, a cognitive enhancement program that is intergrated with supported employment, and contains 5 specific components, including assessment, cognitive task practice, individualized self-management strategies, job search planning, and job support consultation.


Participants will learn the following: the role of cognition in work functioning in SMI, current cognitive training methods and outcomes,  approaches in the integration of cognitive and work services, and, research findings of The Thinking Skills for Work Program.

 Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Summarize the components of a comprehensive cognitive training program
  2. Recognize the relationship of cognition and work in SMI
  3. Observe the delivery of computerized cognitive training
  4. Apply cognitive self-management strategies in rehabilitation practices
  5. Recognize the differences between well designed vs. poorly designed cognitive services
  6. Summarize research findings of the Thinking Skills for Work Program

 About the Presenters:

Dr. McGurk

Susan R. McGurk, Ph.D. is Professor of Occupational Therapy, with secondary appointments in the Departments of Psychological Brain Sciences and Psychiatry, and is a member of the Center of Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University. McGurk directs a multi-faceted research program addresses methods and mechanisms in cognitive remediation, the role of cognitive impairments in employment, academic pursuits, and independent living in persons with serious psychiatric illness, and in other conditions affecting cognition and community functioning. McGurk and colleagues have developed the “Thinking Skills for Work” Program, a multi-component cognitive remediation program combining restorative task practice of cognitive skills and the teaching of self-management strategies designed to optimize cognitive and work functioning in persons receiving vocational rehabilitation services. The results of a recently completed, NIMH-funded, two-site, randomized controlled trial indicated the ability of the Thinking Skills for Work program to improve work outcomes in people who have failed to respond to supported employment, the evidence-based vocational rehabilitant program.  This is the first trial to date that has demonstrated the ability of cognitive enhancement program (Thinking Skills for Work) to improve rehabilitation outcomes in people who have failed to respond to an evidence based practice (supported employment). Dr. McGurk has been the recipient of a National Alliance of Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award (1997-1990), a NARSAD Independent Investigator Award (2010-2012), the 2004 Rehabilitation Practitioner of Distinction Award by the National Rehabilitation Association, and the 2007 Gerard Hogarty Award for Excellence in Schizophrenia Research. She is the Principal Investigator of ongoing NIMH- and NIDILRR-funded randomized controlled trials evaluating the Thinking Skills for Work Program and other cognitive programs in persons with severe mental illness. Current research projects address the use of exercise to enhance cognitive remediation-related neuroplastic processes; tablet-based home practice of computerized cognitive exercises in people with schizophrenia seeking work; and, a large, multi-site dismantling study of the specific components of cognitive enhancement that are essential to helping people with psychiatric illness achieve their employment goals


Dr. Mueser

Kim T. Mueser, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, and Professor in the Departments of Occupational Therapy, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Psychiatry at Boston University. Dr. Mueser's clinical and research interests are on the development, evaluation, and implementation of psychosocial interventions for persons with serious mental illness. His work has involved a range of different treatments for this population, including supported employment, cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), illness management and recovery, cognitive remediation, family psychoeducation, interpersonal skills training, health and lifestyle interventions, and coordinated specialty care programs for first episode psychosis. His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. He has co-authored numerous articles and books, and provided many workshops and presentations, both nationally and internationally.


Recommended Readings:

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Xie, H., Welsh, J., Kaiser, S., Drake, R.E., Becker, D., Bailey, E., Fraser, G., Wolfe, R., & McHugo, G.J. Cognitive Enhancement Treatment for People with Mental Illness Who Do Not Respond to Supported Employment:  A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry. 172(9):852-61, 2015.

McGurk, S.R., Mueser, K.T., Covell, N.H., Ciccerone, K.D., Drake, R.E., Silverstein, S.M., Medalia, A., Myers, R., Bellack, A.S., Bell, M.D., and Essock, S.M. Mental Health System Funding of Cognitive Enhancement Interventions for Schizophrenia: Summary and Update of the New York Office of Mental Health Expert Panel and Stakeholder Meeting. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 36(3):133-45, 2013.

McGurk, S.R., Twamley, E.W., Sitzer, D., McHugo, G., & Mueser, K.T. A meta-analysis of cognitive remediation in schizophrenia.  American Journal of Psychiatry, 164:1791-1802, 2007.

Member Price: $25.00
Non-Member Price: $35.00

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