Sunday, April 29, 2012

Choosing And Working With A Neuropsychologist

A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist who has specific training in giving and interpreting neuropsychological tests.  None of the 50 states licenses neuropsychology as a specific discipline.  Many psychologists may use neuropsychological tests occasionally, but may not have the specific training that a neuropsychologist has.  Additionally, neuropsychological tests are not controlled items, so anybody who wants to buy and use them can do so. Because of this you will need a plan for choosing the right person with whom to work.
Here are some tips for choosing a neuropsychologist:

Request to review the neuropsychologist’s résumé or curriculum vitae (CV). This document should list the psychologist’s education, training, and experience.  A person who is practicing as a neuropsychologist should have a Ph.D. level psychology degree with specific training in neuropsychology and in the administration of neuropsychological tests.

Some neuropsychologists have a professional certification called a “diplomate certification”.  Because this certification is issued by the American Board of Professional Psychology, it is often referred to as “ABPP certification”.  The psychologist with ABPP certification is likely to have a very solid preparation to practice as a neuropsychologist, although some very good neuropsychologists may not have this certification.

Many psychologists advertise through the Internet.  They generally offer their professional qualifications and experience online.  Others may only offer a name and a means of contacting them.  As above, keep in mind that the best choice for a neuropsychologist is likely to be person who has had specific training and practice in neuropsychology.

State rehabilitation agencies may also provide neuropsychological testing for persons who qualify for services.  Although state agency personnel may be in the habit of referring to specific persons for getting neuropsychological testing, it is still important to be a good consumer in accepting their choices.  Recent legislation and policy trends have emphasized “client choice” policies.  These give the individual applying to state rehabilitation agencies more rights and responsibilities to act as an informed consumer and to be part of the process of choosing a neuropsychologist.

What Is A Licensed Psychologist?

Each of the 50 states set their own requirements for psychology licensure.  These are generally similar in that: 1.) each state requires completion of approved doctoral studies from an accredited educational institution and 2.) each state requires successful completion of a qualifying examination. Although academic qualifications may vary from state to state, the qualifying psychological examination is standard for each of the 50 states.
As with many other professions, such as the practice of medicine or the practice of engineering, the practice of psychology is legally defined by each of the states.  By law, the title “psychologist” may only be used by a person who has been licensed in psychology.  Terms such as “psychotherapy” and “psychotherapist”, only described an individual or an individual’s practice may only be used by persons licensed as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

What Is A Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)?

As in many professions, persons engaging in the practice of vocational rehabilitation have the option of establishing credentials via independent credentialing agencies.  A CRC is a non–mandatory certification offered by the National Council of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.  A person who has been credentialed as a CRC has met certain minimum experiential and academic requirements.  Persons holding CRC credentials are, as are licensed psychologists, required to engage in a stipulated amount of continuing education in order to maintain their certification.