A neuropsychologist is a psychologist specializing in the physical structure of the brain and how behaviors, mental abilities, and emotions relate to the brain and its systems. They are generally called upon to evaluate brain function when brain injury is obvious (as in physical trauma) or impairment is suspected due to aging, illness, or as a result of treatment. Patients' current faculty is evaluated through a series of tests involving such functions as memory, recognition, following directions, simple math, language, emotion, and other physical and mental attributes. A patient being evaluated by a neuropsychologist typically spends six to eight hours in initial evaluation, and subsequent examinations may be deemed necessary to evaluate progress or decline. The neuropsychologist also provides possible treatment options to specialists, therapists, and other relevant professionals.
Neuropsychologists typically work in a hospital or similar environment during regular business hours, as their field typically does not require emergency evaluation. In addition to assessing patients in a hospital or similar environment, a neuropsychologist may also be called upon to evaluate neuropsychological information in a forensic context and to testify in a legal forum.
Students intending to become neuropsychologists must complete both pre- and post-doctoral training in brain structure and corresponding behaviors. They must then become certified by a professional board, as well as undergo peer reviews.
- Perform psychological assessments of individuals, proposing treatment plans.
- Document patient interactions, treatments, and reactions to comply with all applicable regulations.
- Analyze treatment methods and successes and publish research to advance the field.
- Work with patients and their support network to achieve goals in treatment plans and identify services and tools.