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International Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) Centre

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International Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) Centre

Welcome to the International Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Centre at University College London

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is an evidence-based therapy for people with dementia. It is the only non-medical therapy endorsed by UK government guidelines for the cognitive symptoms of dementia. Group CST treatment involves 14 or more sessions of themed activities, which typically run twice weekly. The aims of sessions are to actively stimulate and engage people with dementia, whilst providing an optimal learning environment and the social benefits of a group. For more information about CST, please visit www.cstdementia.com.

CST is widely used across the UK as well as globally, with work ongoing in at least 34 countries. The International CST Centre was set up to co-ordinate this work and is directed by Professor Aimee Spector. Other aims of the centre are to:

  • Share information and encourage collaboration between professionals and consumers internationally.
  • Bring people together for annual CST conferences/training days.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is CST?

CST is a group therapy for people with mild to moderate dementia, developed in the UK. It involves 14 or more sessions of themed activities, which typically run twice weekly. Longer-term, or 'maintenance CST', is outlined in a published treatment manual. Sessions aim to actively stimulate and engage people with dementia, whilst providing an optimal learning environment and the social benefits of a group. The effects of CST appear to be of a comparable size to those reported with the currently available anti-dementia drugs. For more information about CST, please visit www.cstdementia.com

Who can deliver CST?

CST treatment can be administered by anyone working with people with dementia, such as care workers, psychologists, occupational therapists or nurses. CST groups can take place in settings including residential homes, hospitals or day centres. Practitioners can learn to provide CST treatment for people with dementia by following the CST manual or attending CST training. Training is organised for UK residents through their organisation and International CST Trainers can be found on this website. 

Where is CST available?

CST is offered by some National Health Service (NHS) trusts in the UK. If you have been diagnosed with dementia and are interested in attending a session, you should contact your local NHS Memory Service, who will be able to advise you further.

If you are outside the UK, please visit the CST by country page on this website and contact the CST representative from your country. If your country is not listed, it may be that CST is not currently available in your country. However, the work of the International CST Centre is expanding and you should check back regularly. 

What is Individual CST?

Individual CST (iCST) has also been developed and evaluated in the UK. iCST sessions follow similar themes and principles to group CST, and can be offered by family carers of health professionals. Visit the UCL iCST website for more information, or the iCST Dementia Training and Consultancy website to book training.

What is Maintenance CST?

Longer-term, or Maintenance CST, takes place weekly over a longer period of time. Maintenance CST is outlined in a published treatment manual.