What is a clinical neuropsychologist?


Clinical Neuropsychologists have specialized knowledge and training in the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical Neuropsychologists use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan who have neurological, medical, developmental, or psychiatric conditions.

The Clinical Neuropsychologist employs psychological, neurological, or physiological methods to evaluate patients’ cognitive and emotional strengths and weaknesses and relates these findings to normal and abnormal central nervous system functioning.

Clinical Neuropsychologists use this information, in conjunction with information provided by other medical/healthcare providers, to identify and diagnose neurobehavioral disorders, conduct research, counsel patients and their families, or plan and implement intervention strategies.

A definition of clinical neuropsychology, a description of the work settings in which clinical neuropsychologists are employed, and other associated information can be found in the Practice Guidelines published by the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN). This document can be downloaded from a link on the AACN website (http://www.theaacn.org)

The services provided by Clinical Neuropsychologists typically include:

Assessment (evaluation, diagnosis, formal psychological testing)
Consultation with others professionals in diverse settings
Intervention (treatment, prevention)
Conduct of clinically-relevant research
Supervision, teaching, and management activities (e.g., program development, administration)

It is expected that Clinical Neuropsychologists will demonstrate sensitivity to and skills in dealing with multicultural/diverse populations. In this manual, we will use the terms ‘multicultural’ and ‘individual and cultural diversity’ interchangeably. Individual and cultural diversity recognizes the broad scope of such factors as race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, class status, education, religion/spiritual orientation, and other cultural dimensions.1

Preparation for the practice of clinical neuropsychology at the specialty level of competency characteristically entails some combination of pre-doctoral internship, and post-doctoral education and training experience. Specialized competency presumes the establishment of both a basic and applied generic core knowledge base in psychology and in the clinical neurosciences.

The candidate is expected to demonstrate more than a narrow or circumscribed adjunctive skill in order to meet competency criteria, though he or she may declare an adult or child emphasis for examination purposes. In addition to the basic and applied generic core courses that all applied psychologist must have, competency in clinical neuropsychology requires a foundation in the clinical neurosciences, including neurology, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology. Two years of supervised training in clinical neuropsychology and at least two to three years of overall experience in the specialty area, depending on the year a candidate received their doctoral degree, are required to become eligible for the examination in clinical neuropsychology.

For more information about the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, or to apply for board certification, click here

1 American Psychological Association (2002). Guidelines on multicultural education, training,
research, practice, and organizational change for psychologists. American Psychologist,
58 (5) 377-402. http://www.apa.org/pi/multiculturalguidelines.pdf

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