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A clinical neuropsychologist is a medical professional educated in diagnosing, treating, and helping patients manage a host of brain-related dysfunctions or injuries as applied to the patient's ability to function during normal life activities. The field of neuropsychology is a complex type of clinical psychology that places emphasis on the brain and nervous system and studies how they affect daily interactions and functions; this field also provides therapy designed to assist patients in finding more effective ways to navigate everyday life. These highly trained professionals have many different types of evaluation tools and tests they perform to find the exact neuropsychological problem from which a patient is suffering. In clinical neuropsychology, a trained professional will see a wide variety of patients with unique neurocognitive deficits.
In neuropsychology, there are several types of tests or evaluations given to those experiencing the symptoms of possible brain injury or other kinds of neurocognitive deficits. Each evaluation is designed to allow the clinical neuropsychologist the opportunity to discover the patient's brain and nervous system connection as well as to note any apparent dysfunction. Before testing is started, the neuropsychologist will spend some time with the patient during an in-depth interview and design a specialized battery of tests. This helps ensure the patient isn't overtaxed the day of the evaluation and that the psychologist has a good point of reference from which to work.
The information gleaned from these evaluations is crucial for the clinical neuropsychologist to begin to construct treatment and therapy plans for the patient. Some vital pieces of information found in these reports include examples of the patient's long- and short-term memory abilities as well as his or her attention and concentration functions. The evaluations are also designed to highlight language skills and the patient's ability to learn and comprehend new information and skills. Other important brain functions, such as motor coordination and abstract and logical reasoning skills, are evaluated as well. All parts of the evaluation are assessed by the clinical neuropsychologist and used to formulate a diagnosis as well as a treatment plan.
There are several types of dysfunctions that can be treated with neuropsychology. It is common for people with Parkinson's disease and other neurological diseases to benefit from this field of psychology. Stroke victims and patients with dementia are often seen by trained clinical neuropsychologists as well. People exposed to toxins or those with drug problems, in addition to patients suffering from brain injuries, are usually excellent candidates for neuropsychology therapy. Neuropsychology is also used to help children who are unable to reach their educational milestones due to a number of learning disabilities or brain disorders.
In addition to helping patients with a variety of problems, these professionals also enjoy the benefit of good pay. Clinical neuropsychologist salary is quite high, especially when these individuals are employed by large, reputable hospitals.