DEFINITION OF 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 developmental, neurological, medical, or psychiatric conditions.
The Clinical Neuropsychologist employs psychological and behavioral 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 family members and other medical/healthcare providers, to identify and diagnose neurobehavioral disorders, conduct research, counsel patients and their families, or plan and implement intervention strategies.
Further 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).
The services provided by Clinical Neuropsychologists typically include:
• Neuropsychological assessment (to establish a diagnosis, to document baseline performance, track treatment effects and/or plan interventions)
• Counseling (helping patients and families understand the meaning and implications of neurological conditions and/or assessment results)
• Consultation with others professionals in diverse settings
• Intervention (treatment, prevention)
• Clinically-relevant research
• Supervision, teaching, and management activities (e.g., training, program development, administration)
It is expected that Clinical Neuropsychologists will demonstrate sensitivity to and skill in managing patients from multicultural/diverse populations. Understanding the influence of such factors as ethnicity, linguistic diversity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, disability, socioeconomic status, education, religion/spiritual orientation, and other demographic and cultural dimensions on brain development and test performances is essential to competent neuropsychological practice.
Preparation for the specialty practice of clinical neuropsychology entails a combination of doctoral training, pre-doctoral internship, and post-doctoral education and training experience. Specialized competence presumes the establishment of generic core knowledge in basic and applied psychology upon which a specialty foundation is developed in the clinical neurosciences, including neurology, neuroanatomy, and neuropathology. At least three years of overall experience in the specialty area are required to apply for the board certification process in clinical neuropsychology.
For a more detailed description of the specific training, education, and experience requirements of board certified clinical neuropsychologists, and to learn more about the board certification process, please refer to the ABCN Candidate’s Manual.