Call 801.649.5300

Executive Functioning

   Definition     |     Assessment     |      EF APPs      |      Resources     |     Articles


The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. Executive functions are the most advanced of cognitive functions, housed primarily in the frontal lobes, they allow an individual the following necessary functions:

  1. Inhibition - The ability to stop one's own behavior at the appropriate time, including stopping actions and thoughts. The flip side of inhibition is impulsivity.
  2. Shift - The ability to move freely from one situation to another and to think flexibly in order to respond appropriately to the situation. 
  3. Emotional Control and Self-Regulation - The ability to modulate emotional responses by bringing rational thought to bear on feelings.
  4. Initiation - The ability to begin a task or activity and to independently generate ideas, responses, or problem-solving strategies, and to take Responsibilities.
  5. Working memory - The capacity to hold information in mind for the purpose of completing a task. 
  6. Planning/Organization - The ability to manage current and future- oriented task demands. 
  7. Organization of Materials - The ability to impose order on work, play, and storage spaces.
  8. Self-Monitoring - The ability to monitor one's own performance and to measure it against some standard of what is needed or expected. 
  9. Communication - The ability to communicate needs and manage expectations in personal and professional communications.
  10. Accountability - The ability to take ownership of responsibilities. Taking risks and responsibilities.

Assessment And Treatment of EF Dysfunction

While it is theoretically not possible to improve intellect, it is possible to assess and develop executive functioning skills. Improving executive functioning skills is consistently correlated with increased academic and vocational success, reduction of negative symptoms (anxiety and depression), and increases in self-esteem and confidence. 

Neuropsychological assessment is used to evaluate each of the above areas, then we use evidence-based techniques to improve deficits through experiential learning. We have outcome studies that show that through proper assessment and mentoring, clients can develop EF skills in the real world. We can help emerging adults through accelerated development, overcoming negative reinforcement, and improving their ability to function effectively and efficiently in society.

When there are EF deficits - 90% of the time there may also be problems with motivation, depression, anxiety, or some other disabling force such as a learning problem or attention deficit. Therefore, we believe that EF mentoring and psychotherapy go hand-in-hand.

For more information about executive functioning assessment or  EF skill development, please contact us. You can also visit our EF resources page.

Executive Functioning Resources

Professional Resources for EF
Articles, Books, APPs, and  EF Tools

Free Download
- EFSD - Self Rating Scale
- EF Recommendations Sheet 

To download a copy of the scale or Recs sheet, please complete this form. 
     An email will be sent to you