One of the main services offered by Gill is iCST. This is individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. Gill has spent several years studing the positive effects of stimulating the brain of people with cognitive difficulties in various ways. Gill trained in London with one of the developers of the CST Method, Dr. Aimee Spector, Martin Orell and Bob Woods. CST is designed for people in the earlier stages of dementia. As Gill has extensive experience with people living with dementia at all stages and has adapted this to be effective for people in the early, mid and sometimes late stages of their dementia journey.

This method progresses from Cognitive Stimulation to (as developed by Dr Aimee Spector & colleagues, to Cognitive Engagement and then to Gentle Engagement (as developed by Gill Irvine) If you look at the Meaningfull Activities page, you will find a better explanantion of meaningfull activities as an insight as to how CST can be different to what we mean by Meaningfull Activities.  Gill is presently studying alternative therapies such as Reiki, Indian Head Massage and hopes to continue on to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Aromathery. In the near future Gill will be able to offer valuable interventions to people at the end of their life also.  One or all of these techniques can be incorporated into sessions and extended to friends, family and loved ones if appropriate.

An Introduction to Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

CST, or 'Cognitive Stimulation Therapy', is a brief treatment for people with mild to moderate dementia. 'Dementia' is an umbrella term, the two main types being Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia. CST was designed following extensive evaluation of research evidence, hence is an evidence-based treatment (1). UK Government NICE guidance (10) on the management of dementia recommend the use of group Cognitive Stimulation for people with mild to moderate dementia, irrespective of drug treatments received.


Group CST treatment 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 (12). 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.

CST session

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.

More recently, a one-to-one individualised version of CST, known as iCST, has been developed. Sessions follow similar themes and principles to group CST, and can be offered by family carers of health professionals