I always knew my sister-in-law was smart. Years before she introduced me to her brother (who became my husband. See? Told you she was smart!), she would spend hours on end studying in our college dorm room. I knew she had a passion for psychology, but when she told me her post-grad studies would focus on neuropsychology, I didn’t have the first idea what the difference was between it and regular old psychology. I’m betting you might not either, so let’s explore this interesting branch of mental health studies, shall we?
What is Neuropsychology? Simply put, it’s the study of the connection between the brain and behavior. Neurology looks at the structures and functions of the brain while psychology helps us understand why we behave the way we do. Our thoughts influence our behaviors, and those thoughts can sometimes be traced back to brain function. So, when mental health disorders arise, they’re sometimes the result of a brain disorder.
Now, if your doctor recommends seeing a neuropsychologist, don’t start worrying that your brain is somehow broken. It just means that your therapist or other mental health professional feels you have what might be a treatable neurological condition. Among the neurological issues neuropsychologists can help with are:
- Learning disorders
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Sports-related Concussion
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- That list can go on and on, but I’m sure by now you’re convinced.
In a typical assessment with a neuropsychologist, he or she will take a look at your focus and attention, intellectual, executive, and academic functioning (how well you plan, reason, remember, and even socialize). If you have an injury, your motor skills, coordination, and reaction time might also be looked at to help you recover.