What is a neuropsychologist?

A neuropsychologist is a psychologist with specialty education and clinical training in neuroscience and psychological functioning. Professional guidelines created by Houston Conference on Specialty Education and Training in Clinical Neuropsychology generally state that a neuropsychologist should have at a minimum educational training at the doctoral level in psychology and neuroscience (brain structure, function, and illnesses), internship training in neuropsychology, and a 2-year post-doctoral residency (or equivalent) in neuropsychology. Specialized training at the doctoral level, internship, and residency has been considered necessary to ensure sufficient knowledge and experience with neurological, psychiatric, and general medical patients in order to provide the best possible services to patients. Dr. Hill obtained training in neuroscience and psychology during his doctoral education, one year internship, two year post-doctoral residency, and one year fellowship.

Why should a neuropsychological evaluation be done?
People with brain injury or illness may experience a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and/or behavioral changes which can be difficult to describe, clearly identify, or effectively treat. Identification of brain and behavior changes can be difficult without administration of standardized tests. In order to better understand and characterize a patients current cognitive and emotional functioning, a neuropsychological evaluation may be requested. This evaluation can increase awareness and understanding of the patients current cognitive and/or emotional difficulties, assist with differential diagnosis, monitor recovery across time, and assist with treatment planning.

For what type of conditions can a neuropsychological evaluation be helpful?
Neuropsychological evaluations can be helpful in many different conditions when there is concern for a potential cognitive decline, when a baseline in cognitive functioning is needed, when assistance with differential diagnosis is needed, in order to rule out or in cognitive impairments, in order to identify potential psychological contributions to present symptoms, and to identify further areas of treatment.