Clinical Neuropsychology

Learn about the field of clinical neuropsychology

clinical neuropsychology

Some individuals who seek the services of clinical psychologists aren’t exactly sure what is causing their problems or affecting their lives, they just know that things aren’t going well, that marriages or relationships are suffering, that, for some reason, depression (see Depression), anxiety (see Anxiety) or a number of other conditions have affected either their behaviors, or the behaviors of those they love.

But in some cases, physicians know that certain issues and problems are a direct result of a brain disorder caused either by injury, disease, or developmental dysfunctions. And for these individuals, a specialized form of clinical psychology called clinical neuropsychology focuses on treating those with known structural and functional brain malfunctions.

Clinical neuropsychologists are the professionals who treat neurological patients, often referred to them by neurologists, other physicians, other psychologists, or social agencies. In most cases, the patient exhibits cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions related to a brain injury or disease, and the referring doctor or agency seeks to gather information critical to the patient’s rehabilitation.

But in certain cases, such as those of developmental disorders, the clinical neuropsychologist often is consulted to help identify developmental learning disorders, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and nonverbal disability. Parents, an educational facility or social service agency has already determined that the child’s cognition and behaviors suggest a form of brain disorder, and the clinical neuropsychologist helps to accurately assess and diagnose the disorder.

A Clinical Approach

Clinical neuropsychologists consult with patients and their families in healthcare settings, such as hospitals or medical clinics, or in clinical neuropsychology practices. They also see some children in educational settings.

The referring physician gives clinical neuropsychologists the results from neuroimaging tests, such as CT or (computerized tomography) MRIs, (magnetic resonance imaging) and PETs (positron emission tomography). (See neuroimaging.)

These tests pinpoint structural brain injuries or tumors within millimeters in the brain, localizing brain dysfunction to specific areas and regions of the brain. Physicians also forward the patient’s other medical records and results from laboratory tests to a clinical neuropsychologist to provide a complete case history of the patient.

The referring doctor or agency also develops a question or set of concerns about the patient’s cognitive and/or behavioral deficits that must be addressed in order to plan rehabilitative services and interventions. These concerns often involve answering specific “everyday functioning” issues, such as the ability of the patient to drive, independently take care of personal hygiene, finances, and work-related issues.

During the initial examination, the clinical neuropsychologist interviews the patient as well as any family members that are present, asking about the patient’s history and the patient’s opinion of the nature of the brain injury or deficit. Through this initial interview, the clinical neuropsychologist determines the patient’s awareness of problems, and his or her physical capacity and mental ability to undertake a more in-depth neuropsychological assessment consisting of a series of tests.

If the patient is able to sit through and perform a number of cognitive tests, the clinical neuropsychologist assigns a trained technician to administer the tests.

The Clinical Assessment

After the initial interview, the clinical neuropsychologist also develops a hypothesis about the level and depth of cognitive and behavioral impairment. Keeping in mind the rehabilitative concerns and questions of the referring doctor, and synthesizing the results from the other medical tests and the patient’s history, the clinical neuropsychologist recommends either a series of neuropsychological tests, or a shortened subset of one or more tests depending on the patient’s abilities and needs. (For more information, see neuropsychological assessments and tests.)

Many valid and reliable neuropsychological tests have been developed over the years designed to assess all areas of cognitive functioning, including:

  • Intellectual function
  • Memory
  • Speech and language
  • Visual perception
  • Psychomotor/Psychosensory functions
  • Planning, judgment, decision-making functions
  • Attention

While a technician administers neuropsychological tests, the clinical neuropsychologist assesses the results. Based on the outcomes, the clinical neuropsychologist recommends rehabilitation plans, interventions, a plan to return to work, recommendations for daily living, or any other issues requested by physicians and healthcare personnel.

Monitoring

The neuropsychological tests give psychologists and physicians not only a snapshot of current cognitive and behavioral functioning, but they also provide a baseline – an important element in any rehabilitation program. Periodic re-testing gives both healthcare providers and psychologists a chance to evaluate the success of a particular rehabilitation program or treatment, and to gauge the patient’s progress toward stated goals.

Serial testing also gives clinical neuropsychologists valuable information concerning the efficacy of a particular drug used for diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease or seizure disorders. And, for patients initially diagnosed with mild dementia, a baseline test followed by periodic re-testing provides important information regarding the disease’s progression.

Legal situations

Attorneys and the courts also hire clinical neuropsychologists. Brain injuries resulting from car accidents, exposure to toxic chemicals, carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical or other forms of construction injuries, often end up in the courts to determine monetary settlements to the plaintiff. And in many of cases of accidental injury, brain dysfunction isn’t apparent through neuroimaging techniques or on an EEG.

Data gathered from neuropsychological tests in addition to the interview with the client that the clinical neuropsychologist conducts often provide the essential data for the courts to decide these complex cases.

Careers in clinical neuropsychology

If you are interested in becoming a clinical neuropsychologist, in treating individuals suffering from brain dysfunctions, contact schools offering degrees in psychology. Most positions in this field require a Ph.D.

Additionally, most clinical neuropsychologists must have certification by the American board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) or the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN).

And many clinical positions also require licensing. To learn more about the licensing requirements for a psychology career at Psychology Career Licensure.

Other Careers in Neuropsychology

  • Cognitive Neuropsychologist
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuropsychologist
  • University teaching and research
  • School Neuropsychology Consultation
  • Neuropsychology researcher for public and private organizations
  • Neurogenetics Psychologist
  • Neuropathology Specialist
  • Behavioral Neuropsychologist
  • Forensic Neuropsychologist
  • Rehabilitation Neuropsychologist
  • Dementia Neuropsychologist
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
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  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine. 
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities. 
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content. 
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  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • A member of The Russell Group of 24 UK research-led universities.
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  • A member of The Russell Group of 24 UK research-led universities.
  • Ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.
  • Teaches students are from over 160 countries worldwide.
  • Holds full accreditation with degrees widely recognized internationally.
  • Degrees pursued online will look the same as degrees pursued on campus.
  • Its Royal Charter has allowed it to independently award bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees since 1903.
  • Over 6,000 international students on campus.
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  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
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  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
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  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
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  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Began in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
  • Each campus is heavily engaged in their respective communities, providing professional service from students and faculty.
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  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • 15 campuses across the United States, as well as 4 art institutes in North Carolina and Texas.
  • Began in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
  • Each campus is heavily engaged in their respective communities, providing professional service from students and faculty.
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  • Good for Working Adults
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Founded in 1888, Tiffin University is proud to offer a personal and practical education for motivated, professionally focused students who want real-world experiences and results. Tiffin University also is known for creating innovative partnerships in nearly everything we do: from helping our students gain access to competitive internships to connecting them to professionals in the real world as they enter the job market.

 

For more information call now 844-867-2370.

Founded in 1888, Tiffin University is proud to offer a personal and practical education for motivated, professionally focused students who want real-world experiences and results. Tiffin University also is known for creating innovative partnerships in nearly everything we do: from helping our students gain access to competitive internships to connecting them to professionals in the real world as they enter the job market.

 

For more information call now 844-867-2370.

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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Received the 2013 Making a Difference for Students Award from Quality Matters.
  • Offers a free student app for smartphones and tablets, helping students keep up to date.
  • Golden Key International Honour Society and SALUTE Veterans Honor Society are both available on campus.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Received the 2013 Making a Difference for Students Award from Quality Matters.
  • Offers a free student app for smartphones and tablets, helping students keep up to date.
  • Golden Key International Honour Society and SALUTE Veterans Honor Society are both available on campus.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid