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What is clinical psychology?

Clinical psychology: A branch of psychology concerned with the practical application of research methodologies and findings in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

What is clinical neuropsychology?

Clinical neuropsychology: A specialty field within clinical psychology that looks at the way various systems within the brain work to affect both cognitive and behavioral functioning.

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What is the purpose of a neuropsychological assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment provides insight into your cognitive strengths and weaknesses based on your skills in a variety of areas, including attention, learning, memory, processing speed, fluid reasoning, motor speed, verbal, and visual-spatial abilities.

Besides offering an in-depth understanding of an individual’s overall intellectual capabilities, neuropsychological testing acknowledges the highly nuanced and complex nature of brain functioning, allowing us to focus on one’s precise skills across numerous cognitive domains. In turn, we are able to produce a comprehensive profile of a person’s cognitive, academic, and social-emotional functioning, which can then be used for diagnostic purposes, as well as the development of an effective treatment plan based on their personal strengths, interests, and areas of challenge or ongoing growth. The report provided by a neuropsychological assessment is an important tool, often used by educational teams, therapists, behavioral specialists, and other healthcare providers as a way to thoroughly understand a student or patient’s cognitive functioning. These reports can also diagnose or rule-out potential psychological, neurological, and/or learning disorders, as well as uphold or amend any existing diagnoses.

A neuropsychological evaluation is important for an individual with any medical complexities (e.g., prematurity, genetic differences, or head injuries). A neuropsychologist has education and experience working wth individuals with a variety of brain related challenges, and will provide targeted next steps based on the data and integration of the findings.

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How does a neuropsychologist differ from a clinical psychologist and/or an educational psychologist?

A neuropsychologist must hold a clinical psychology license. As such, it is an area of speciality within clinical psychology. Many clinical psychologists also specialize in assessments, and provide a thorough evaluation of brain behavior. A difference between a psychologist and a neuropsychologist is their appropaches to addressing psychological conditions. Psychologists primarily focus on working with one's emotions and psychological well-being, whereas a neuropsychologist focuses on understanding any causes that impact the brain behavior. Both, a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist go through thousands of hours of supervised training before being able to participate in the licensing exam. A neuropsychologist has additional training and coursework in neuroanatomy and brain based conditions which must be completed prior to becoming a neuropsychologist.

A licensed educational psychologist (or LEP) can administer a variety of assessments that evaluate one’s academic functioning and test for learning disabilities or other issues that may affect learning. They also have expereince working in public schools and have an understanding of the laws and regulations at the district level. However, because an educational psychologist specializes in the academic application of cognitive abilities rather than day-to-day functioning, testing results will not be as comprehensive or encompassing as those yielded by a full neuropsychological assessm