What is Neuropsychology?

I’ve been at Attuned Psychology for some months now working mainly as a Clinical Psychologist, though I am also a Clinical Neuropsychologist, so I often get asked what a Clinical Neuropsychologist does.

So what is Neuropsychology?

A science, Neuropsychology is a subspecialty of psychology that explores the different parts of the brain and what they do. It combines the fields of neurology, anatomy, psychology and psychiatry.

100 years or so ago very little of what the brain does was understood. People thought maybe only a tiny portion of the brain was useful at all.

Now brain imaging using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) which helps us see which parts of the brain are working at any one time demonstrates how many areas of the brain light up together to perform everyday tasks.

We now understand that every part of the brain has its special role to play.

Even more wonderful is the discovery that after brain injury the brain tries to repair itself. If cells have died and connections are lost our brains will either regrow a new pathway or recruit an undamaged area to help restore a function.

What service does the Clinical Neuropsychologist at Attuned Psychology provide?

Clinical Neuropsychologists have extensive knowledge of the brain’s anatomy and of different psychology skills like memory, learning and problems solving.

A consultation gives you the opportunity to talk in detail about the type of thinking problem you are experiencing. History, severity and the information you might already have from other health professionals can be discussed. We can discuss whether psychological counselling is indicated.

Often you might have already talked about your concerns with a medical doctor and they may ask you to get a neuropsychological assessment to measure the extent and nature of any difficulties with thinking skills like memory or attention.

Typical types of questions I am asked include:

  • Is my memory really getting worse or is it just stress?
  • Have I sustained lasting damage from a head injury and what might be the practical implications of that?
  • I am easily frustrated since my accident is that because I have brain damage?

What Neuropsychological Assessments are available at Attuned?

At Attuned we use state of the art psychological tests to look for weaknesses in aspects of thinking that concern you. For example if you’re worried that your memory is not as sharp as it used to be we can test that. Working with you we can see if there are signs of actual memory loss.

Most importantly, after testing we will have a follow up consultation to discuss the results and also explore whether there are psychological or practical strategies that you can put into practice that may improve your difficulties.

Recommendations for therapy with other professionals like Occupational Therapists or Speech Therapists can also be discussed with you.

If you would like more information about our Neuropsychology services, feel free to contact us to identify your concerns and explore whether an assessment may be suitable for you.

Catherine Cheetham

Clinical Psychologist/ Clinical Neuropsychologist

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