What's Neuropsychology?

What are clinical neuropsychologists?

Clinical neuropsychologists are professional clinical psychologists who undergo additional specialty training in cognitive psychology, neuroanatomy and neuropathology, neuroscience, behavioral neurology, and pharmacology. Clinical neuropsychologists are primarily involved in the evaluation of a person’s cognitive abilities.

There are also several professional definitions of the field of clinical neuropsychology, and the training required to become a neuropsychologist, which are outlined on our Professional Definitions webpage. For more information about clinical neuropsychology, please see the SCN adult and pediatric neuropsychology brochures.

neuropsychological Evaluations

Evaluation can help to establish or confirm a diagnosis, assist with differential diagnosis, determine the presence and severity of an individual’s cognitive-behavioral-emotional difficulties, assist with determination of limitations in daily functioning and decision-making capacity, evaluate surgical candidacy, assist in treatment planning, offer feedback and treatment recommendations to patients/caregivers and other providers, and provide a baseline from which recovery or deterioration can be tracked.

A typical neuropsychological evaluation assesses many of the following ability areas:

1) General intellect
2) Motor skills and sensation
3) Attention and concentration
4) Language

5) Visual-spatial skills
6) Learning and memory
7) Executive functioning
8) Mood and personality

Individuals needing evaluation may have general complaints of cognitive dysfunction in some or all of the areas listed above due to:

1) Acquired brain dysfunction (e.g., stroke, tumor, CNS infection)
2) Traumatic brain injury
3) Seizure disorders/epilepsy
4) Demyelinating diseases (e.g., multiple sclerosis, ALS)

5) Neurodegenerative disease (e.g., dementia, movement disorders)
6) Medical disorders impacting cognition (e.g., vascular, transplant, pain)
7) Psychiatric conditions (e.g., anxiety, mood, and substance abuse)
8) Childhood issues (e.g., learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum)

Where do neuropsychologists work?

In terms of employment opportunities, in what areas do clinical neuropsychologists work? You can find neuropsychologists working in a wide variety of environments, including but certainly not limited to:

1) Academic pursuits like teaching and/or research at the university level.
2) Research and consulting positions in private industry.
3) Positions in federal government (e.g., FBI, CIA, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, among others).
4) As service members working with active duty military.
5) Veteran’s Administration (e.g., VA medical centers, outpatient clinics).
6) Inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation hospitals and clinics.
7) Behavioral neurology clinics.
8) Psychiatric hospitals.
9) Private practice.
10) As forensic consultants on a variety of legal cases.

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