The Benefits Of Seeing A Cognitive Psychologist

Updated August 22, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team

Many types of psychologists can help you better yourself and resolve any problems you may be facing. You might visit a clinical psychologist, a counseling psychologist, or an educational psychologist, all depending upon your particular needs—and there are many other types, too, including cognitive psychologists.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of visiting a cognitive psychologist, a psychologist who has done extensive study on the mind. Keep reading to learn more about what cognitive psychologists do and when you might choose to seek one out.

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What Is A Cognitive Psychologist?

A cognitive psychologist is someone who studies the mind and how we think. In the past few centuries, we've made a great deal of progress in discovering how the mind works, but there are still many mysteries that we don't know about. There are plenty of times when you don't know the rationale behind what someone does. You may not even know your rationale for doing something. Why can't your mind remember where you left your keys but remembers the lyrics from a song you haven't listened to in ten years? Why do you make the decisions you make?

Besides helping you to understand your mind better, cognitive psychology is used to treat people. Those who have memory problems, brain injuries, or have other disorders that affect how one thinks may benefit from cognitive psychology. One such example is problems with attention. Cognitive psychologists know why the brain focuses on certain objects and not on others. A cognitive psychologist can help you figure out how you can focus your attention on whatever requires that attention.

Cognitive psychologists are often researchers, contracted by the government or universities to study the mind and the way people think. However, there are cognitive psychologists who serve the public and help clients improve their memory. They may have their own practice or work in hospitals or mental health clinics.

Who Can Benefit From Seeing A Cognitive Psychologist?

A cognitive psychologist may help those who want to improve their memory or those who have brain injuries or diseases that prevent them from functioning as fully as they want to. After such an injury or illness, a cognitive psychologist can help you improve your overall mental health and live a more productive life.

Here are some areas a cognitive psychologist might focus on:

Degenerative Brain Diseases

Dementia, such as Alzheimer's, can cause the brain to have trouble with memory and other cognitive functions. Dementia may require a patient to be in someone's care at all times. While there is no cure or way to halt a prognosis of dementia, cognitive therapy can slow down the symptoms and allow the patient to live independently for longer. A psychologist may use memory improvement techniques to help those with dementia remember people, places, and things.


Brain Injury

A brain injury can cause cognitive problems. Some brain injuries can heal with time, but others can cause permanent damage. Brain injuries often come out of blunt trauma, or you could be born with a certain part of your brain not fully developed. Someone who has a brain injury and is suffering from cognitive problems may benefit from seeing a cognitive psychologist, who may be able to help restore some or all of their cognitive functions.

Mental Health Problems

There are many mental health issues that cognitive therapy can treat. For example, negative thoughts can make depression and anxiety worse. It can be difficult to train the brain to think more positively. Some forms of therapy are designed to help with this process.

Depression can also affect your memory and focus. A cognitive psychologist can help you improve in those areas as well.

Sensory Issues

There are perceptual or sensory issues that can affect you and make you experience the world around you differently. This can be due to trauma, disease, or another factor. A cognitive psychologist can teach you to improve your sensory issues and allow you to experience life on your terms.

Learning Disabilities

Some people have problems learning. This may be due to the inability to recall information or the inability to focus, among other reasons. A cognitive psychologist helps those who have learning disabilities improve their focus and find ways to learn tailored to the client's needs. Having a learning disability does not make you dumb or unable to learn. Instead, it means you learn differently than other people, and you must find the best way for you to learn.


Having a phobia can be a minor annoyance. If you see a spider, you may not want to get too close; a minor fear of heights might make you feel uncomfortable. These are usually easily managed without the use of intense therapy.

However, extreme phobias can make it difficult to live your life. For example, someone may fear going outside, a phobia known as agoraphobia. Someone with claustrophobia, or a fear of getting closed in, may not want to be around a crowd. Fear of flying—aerophobia—may prevent people from traveling. These can limit the activities you can participate in.

Cognitive psychology helps people by teaching them ways to adjust to their phobia. From gradual exposure to positive thinking, someone can learn how to overcome the fears or cope with those fears whenever they're exposed to them.


If you've been going through a change in life, have suffered from depression, or have experienced anything else that can throw you off your routine, getting you back into your routine is important. A routine can help you adjust to the changes you're experiencing and make you less depressed or anxious. However, it can be hard to get back into a routine on your own. This is where cognitive therapy comes in. You can change your thinking to adapt to your new routine, allowing you get back to the business of living.

Improve Mental Functions

You don't need to have a brain injury or a mental disorder to benefit from cognitive psychology. Some clients are people who are overall mentally healthy but want to improve in some facets of cognitive functioning. For example, students who want to focus on their work and want to avoid distractions may seek a therapist to learn techniques to stay focused and not become distracted by things such as the internet or a noisy street outside.

Someone a bit forgetful may want to seek a cognitive psychologist's help to improve their memory. You don't need to have a significant disorder to forget things. A cognitive psychologist can teach you tips to recall information, which can benefit you in so many ways.

Someone may not suffer from depression but be pessimistic. They may have confidence issues, and this can affect how they perform. A cognitive psychologist will teach the person how they can think more positively and not let doubt get in their way.

No matter your age, no matter your state of health, wanting to improve your cognition is a great idea. It can help prepare you for aging and changes in your life.

How Cognitive Psychology Has Changed The World

The field of psychology has evolved quite a bit in the past few decades. Before cognitive psychology took over, there were other approaches figuring out how the mind works, such as psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis encouraged patients to talk about their past to try to figure out their current behaviors. This was useful, but it didn't help explain how people think and how negative patterns can cause you mental harm. 

Some of the techniques that have been born from cognitive psychology include:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT, is a form of therapy that can treat depression, anxiety, and a slew of other mental health disorders. It works by identifying negative emotions and thoughts that are self-defeating or enable an episode and then replacing them with more positive and motivational thoughts. For example, if someone believes they are worthless, cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to replace thoughts that tell them they are worthless with more positive thoughts.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational emotive behavior therapy, or REBT, is similar to CBT but deals with irrational beliefs and fears. Let's say you have a fear of flying. This may be due to a negative childhood experience hearing about a plane crash or a bad experience on a plane. Despite planes being a safe way to travel, you fear them but don't avoid other modes of transportation, like cars, which are often more dangerous than planes.

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REBT seeks to eliminate irrational fears by replacing them with truths. 

REBT is not only good for traveling fears but other fears as well, such as talking to people. You may really want to ask someone out, but you're afraid to speak to them. The worst that could happen is that they say no, but this doesn't prevent you from being scared. REBT seeks to eliminate these thoughts and boost your confidence.


If you feel like you need to improve your cognitive abilities, consider locating a cognitive psychologist; they might also help you resolve problems like fears, anxiety, depression, or a brain injury. Through intense therapy, you can improve yourself and your overall mental health.

It may be that you want to see a therapist of some kind, but you have a busy schedule that doesn't really allow for a trip to a physical office. Or, perhaps, you're not sure if you can afford the cost of an in-person therapist. Online therapy can help eliminate these barriers. Online therapy can take place any time, anywhere you have an internet connection. In addition, online therapy is often less expensive than in-person therapy.

BetterHelp is an online platform that can connect you with a licensed therapist. You can work with your BetterHelp therapist on any issue that may be troubling you, including those related to cognition, and you can do so via text, telephone, or video. Signing up is fast and easy, and before you know it, you may be seeing steady improvement in your mental health.

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