What is Clinical Neuropsychology?
Clinical neuropsychology is a field within clinical psychology that bridges the fields of neurology and psychology in order to understand brain-behavior relationships. They complete assessments that inform diagnosis, treatment, and/or rehabilitation of people ranging from young children to older adults.
Who is a clinical neuropsychologist?
A clinical neuropsychologist is a doctoral-level licensed psychologist with expertise in how behavior and skills are related to brain structures and systems. Training in clinical neuropsychology consists of a broad background in clinical psychology, as well as specialized training and experience in clinical neuropsychology.
What happens during a neuropsychological evaluation?
In clinical neuropsychology, memory, attention, and other thinking skills are tested objectively. Emotions, mood, and behavior may also be assessed. Often, the neuropsychologist works in consultation with a physician or therapists (psychotherapists, speech/language pathologists, or occupation therapists) in managing the healthcare of patients. Neuropsychologists strive to work closely with patients’ family members, as circumstances allow.
The neuropsychological evaluation consists of four main parts:
- a clinical interview where the clinical neuropsychologist takes a careful history of the individual’s developmental, medical, psychological, educational, and social history;
- a neuropsychological examination where the clinical neuropsychologist (or psychometrician) uses tests that assess a wide range of cognitive (e.g., intelligence, attention, executive functioning, memory, language, visuospatial skills, motor abilities), and emotional functioning;
- analysis and integration of data and findings that includes the writing of the report;
- feedback where the patient and/or family members review the findings with the clinical neuropsychologist and discuss treatment planning and recommendations.
Neuropsychology helps an array of disorders, including:
- Developmental Disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Tourette Syndrome (TS)
- Learning Disorders (LD)
- Medical and Neurological Conditions
- Brain tumor and/or cancer treatment
- Infectious disease
- Prenatal substance or toxin exposure
- Genetic disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or concussion
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
- Dementia or Major Neurocognitive Disorder (Examples: Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Lewy Body, etc.)
- Stroke of Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)
- Other abnormalities in brain structure or function
- Bipolar disorder