What is Neuropsychology?
American Psychological Association offers the following definition of neuropsychology:
"Clinical neuropsychology is a specialty profession that focuses on brain functioning. A clinical neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist with expertise in how behavior and skills are related to brain structures and systems. In clinical neuropsychology, brain function is evaluated by objectively testing memory and thinking skills. A very detailed assessment of abilities is done, and the pattern of strengths and weaknesses is used in important health areas, such as diagnosis and treatment planning. The clinical neuropsychologist conducts the evaluation and makes recommendations. He or she may also provide treatment, such as cognitive rehabilitation, behavior management, or psychotherapy."
Neuropsychologists undergo the same graduate level training as clinical psychologists. In addition to this training, neuropsychologists study in depth brain anatomy and functioning, neuro-cognitive impairments, methods of cognitive assessment and brain-behavior correlations. While brain imaging (e.g., CT, MRI, PET or SPECT) may provide useful information about the structural integrity of the brain, blood flow or glucose metabolism, neuropsychological testing provides detailed information about the cognitive functioning of the brain. Such cognitive functions as attention, memory, spatial perception, speed of information processing, sequencing, language, mental flexibility and general intelligence may be measured precisely with neuropsychological tools. Neuropsychological treatment might include specialized exercises and drills to improve compromised areas of cognitive functioning, learning of compensatory strategies, behavior management, psychotherapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback and stress management.