Clinical Neuropsychology is a specialty in professional psychology that applies principles of assessment and intervention based upon the scientific study of human behavior as it relates to normal and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. The specialty is dedicated to enhancing the understanding of brain‐behavior relationships and the application of such knowledge to human problems.
Specialized knowledge and training in the applied science of brain‐behavior relationships is foundational to the specialty of clinical neuropsychology. In addition to foundational and functional competencies in professional psychology, clinical neuropsychologists have specialized knowledge of functional neuroanatomy, principles of neuroscience, brain development, neurological disorders and etiologies, neurodiagnostic techniques, normal and abnormal brain functioning, and neuropsychological and behavioral manifestations of neurological disorders. Preparation in clinical neuropsychology begins at the doctoral level and specialized education and training is completed at the postdoctoral level.
Clinical neuropsychologists address neurobehavioral problems related to acquired or developmental disorders of the nervous system. The types of problems are extremely varied and include such conditions as dementia, vascular disorders, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, learning disabilities, neuropsychiatric disorders, infectious disease affecting the CNS, neurodevelopmental disorders, metabolic disease and neurological effects of medical disorders or treatment.
Clinical neuropsychologists apply specialized knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with neurological, medical, or neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan. Pediatric neuropsychologists provide clinical services to children and adolescents (and their families).
Skills and Procedures Utilized
Clinical neuropsychologists are skilled in clinical assessment and treatment of brain disorders. Essential skills include specialized neuropsychological assessment techniques, specialized intervention techniques, research design and analysis in neuropsychology, professional issues and ethics, culturally competent approaches in neuropsychology, and understanding of implications of neuropsychological conditions for behavior and adjustment. Competence in clinical neuropsychology requires the ability to integrate neuropsychological findings with neurologic and other medical data, psychosocial and other behavioral data, and knowledge in the neurosciences, and interpret these findings with an appreciation of social, cultural and ethical issues.