What Is Neuropsychology?

Neuropsychology, a clinical psychology specialization, is concerned with the brain and behavioral and cognitive problems. Using assessment techniques and psychological tests, neuropsychology can be used to identify various brain disorders such as Alzheimer's, stroke or injury. For further information regarding the field of neuropsychology, read on. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Neuropsychology Defined

According to the American Psychological Association's Division of Clinical Neuropsychology, neuropsychologists study how brain functions are related to behavior. If a patient has had a traumatic experience that may have altered his or her behavior and/or cognition, or if the patient is thought to have a mental illness or learning disorder, he or she may undergo neuropsychological testing. The procedures assess a patient's intelligence, memory, attention span, organizational skills, language, emotions and behavior. If underlying neurological problems are found, patients may be treated through counseling and rehabilitative procedures while receiving other necessary medical care. A neuropsychological assessment may be called for if a patient is suspected of having:

  • A brain tumor
  • Epilepsy
  • A brain injury
  • A stroke
  • Alzheimer's
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)

Important Facts About Neuropsychology

Median Salary (2019) $91,139 (for all neuropsychologists)*
Key Skills Analytical and evaluation skills
Work Environment Typically assessing patients in hospitals during regular work hours
On-the-Job Training Internships are available via the Association for Internship Training in Clinical Neuropsychology

Source: *Payscale.com

Clinical Neuropsychology Applications

Neuropsychology evaluations determine the scope and kinds of changes in cognitive and behavioral functioning that may possibly have been caused by injury or disease. Neuropsychological examinations can confirm diagnoses. They can also be used to determine treatment methods and allow professionals to determine whether to guide an individual's rehabilitation or refer him or her to other specialists. A neuropsychology evaluation may determine if the treatment is working and if a patient's cognition, speech and emotional problems are improving. Neuropsychological treatment may be prescribed for those suffering from:

  • Changes in vision
  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Problems with spatial skills
  • Difficulty with reading and writing
  • Confusion

Clinical Neuropsychologists

Clinical neuropsychologists must hold doctoral degrees in psychology and have years of postdoctoral experience in clinical neuropsychology. They must obtain licensure if they offer patient care. They may also seek board certification from the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) or American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. (ABPN).

In addition to conducting clinical assessments and treatments, many neuropsychologists are active in clinical research and university-level teaching. Having extensive knowledge of the brain's anatomy and biology, neuropsychologists perform clinical tasks, including patient evaluations, counseling and treatment planning.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide specific statistics for clinical neuropsychologists, but it states that job opportunities for psychologists in general are projected to increase at a rate of 14% between 2016 and 2026, faster than other occupations. This is due to increasing demand for psychological counseling and support for students, people who need to cope with physical or mental stress, post-trauma stress disorder patients and war veterans.

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