A.Definition of neuropsychology
1.Neuropsychology is the study of how the brain influences behavior andhow variousinfirmities alter its function.
B.Role of Neuropsychologists
2.Teaching in institutions of higher learning
3.Acting as professional witnesses in cases involving mental health
1.A professional is required to have a post-graduate qualification tobe licensed to practice
2. The required certification include either Ph.D. or PsyD
D.Benefits of being a neuropsychologist
3.Getting a chance to interact with individuals from different walks oflife
1.A four-year university degree in biology, pre-med, psychology orneuroscience
2.A post graduate degree in psychology extending to a Ph.D. or PsyD andan addition one-year internship.
F.Goals of psychology
1.The goal of psychology is to understand human behavior
Neuropsychologyis that branch of psychology involved with how the brain influencesan individual’s behavior and cognition. Professionals inneuropsychology focus on the ways in which brain injuries orillnesses interfere with a person’s cognitive functions andbehaviors.
Thehuman brain is the most complicated organ in the human body, oftenreferred to as the master organ due to its role of regulating otherbodily organs. It controls involuntary actions such as breathing,digestion, sensitivity, heartbeat among others. The brain alsocommands and leads human behavior and cognitive functions. Forexample, injury to any section of the brain is ground for bodymalfunction, or unusual behavior and thoughts. This presents the gapfilled by clinical neuropsychologists, where they specialize in therelationship between the physical aspect of the brain and behavior(Semrud-Clikeman, 2016).
Sincethis is a fairly broad field, a clinical neuropsychologist ispresented with a broad range of options when it comes to careerchoice. The first option is the direct treatment of patients inpublic/ private hospitals, specialty clinics or under home-based carearrangements. They may also work as teachers in institutions ofhigher learning, or researchers in various organizations. They arekey parties in conducting inquiries aimed at studying the human brainand how its physical state influences human behavior and cognition.The causes, effects, and potential treatments also form an integralpart of the research. They include complexities in memory, language,reading and learning, decision making and problem-solving and otherbehavioral or thinking abilities due to injury or illness. Otherareas of interest range from neuro-developmental to neurodegenerativedisorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease andtypes of dementia (Marcopulos & Kurtz, 2012).
Asearlier stated, the career path provides a range of options forprofessionals, including teaching, researching and treating patients.This means that the neuropsychologist professional could work for asimilarly wide range of clients. The professionals working in theclinical field work with individuals suffering from traumatic braininjury, brain tumors, and stroke, toxic and metabolic disorders andhelp them to recover. Forensic neuropsychologists work within thejustice system, with the government being their key client. On a dayto day basis, their interactions are with judges, lawyers,prosecutors and other courtroom officers in facilitating courtproceedings. Their duties in these circumstances involve assisting inexplaining neurological psychology concepts to justice officials.Often, they serve as expert witnesses. Research/experimentalneuropsychologists, on the other hand, are engaged in studies tocomprehend, recognize and treat neurological conditions. Their majorclients could include pharmaceutical companies working towards theproduction of medication for curing neurological conditions,institutions of learning and medical practitioners in the field ofneuropsychology.
Neuropsychologistsrequire more than the general medical knowledge and skills associatedwith mental health problems. They need a substantial amount ofspecialist skills and knowledge in neuroscience. Neuropsychology is apost qualification discipline. The professionals are CharteredPractitioners in either educational or medical psychology. A doctoraldegree is an elementary requirement in neuropsychology, with mostprograms being either PhD or PsyD in psychology, with a concentrationin neuropsychology. A master’s degree is not considered a finaldegree in the field, though a handful of employers may accept apsychology master’s degree with an emphasis on neuroscience orneuropsychology.
Neuropsychologyimpacts a professional’s personal life positively since it’smostly a passion. Therefore, the practitioner gains satisfactionfinancially, emotionally, and career-wise because they enjoy whatthey do, and at the same time impact other people while at it.
EducationalRequirements for Neuropsychologists
Neuropsychologyis considered a combination of psychology and neurology, and this isan educational requirement on which an aspiring neuropsychologistmust focus. A majority of the students begin their neuropsychologycareer training with a four-year bachelor’s degree in biology,pre-med, neuroscience or psychology. Upon completion of thebachelor’s degree, a student must then enroll for a master’sdegree (MA or MS in Psychology) with an emphasis on neuropsychology.This offers the student the first opportunity to studyneuropsychology intensely. Among others, students are introduced tocourses like clinical neuropsychology, behavioral testing methods,addiction, psychopharmacology, and memory assessment (Larnet.al.2013).
TheDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) arealternative courses whose duration is 4-7 years. The programscomprise of three-year coursework and a written examination that isfollowed by a one-year internship. The final component is thedissertation which is more widespread for Ph.D students as opposed toPsyD students. A doctorate is a necessary requirement forneuropsychologists, with Ph.D being recommended for aspiringresearchers, and PsyD being more preferable for those that areinterested in medical practice. Advanced patho-psychology, advancedneuro-anatomy, neuroscience research, cognitive neuroscience, andexperimental and statistical methods are some of the courses thatstudents are exposed to in preparing them for the profession ahead.
Thereare many American schools that an aspiring neuropsychology may attendto acquire the necessary training. Some of these, offering the fullrange of training from bachelors, masters and doctorate are JamesMadison University, John Hopkins University, Iowa State University,Howard University, Loyola University Chicago, Michigan StateUniversity Miami University-Oxford and North Carolina StateUniversity among others (Careersinpsychology.org). Despite the factthat neuropsychology is still an emerging and non-saturated field,the average salary for a neuropsychologist in America is $ 90, 203per annum.
Psychologyis a science aimed at understanding the behavior of others whilegathering information about the manner in which the brain works. Inobserving human behavior, psychologists can differentiate betweennormal and healthy behavior from what is abnormal and unhealthy. Theycan analyze feelings, thoughts and actions of humans based onobservation, surveys as well as case studies. In general, the goalsof psychology are describing a behavior, explaining why it occurs,predicting future behavioral patterns and controlling/ modifying thebehavior so as to achieve the most positive results.
Asdescribed in the report, the goals of psychology are also met in thepractice of neuropsychology. This is because Neuropsychology dealswith how the brain influences an individual’s behavior andcognition. For this reason, it can be used in meeting the four goalsmentioned above (Kuczynski, 2012).
Finda Psychology Program. Retrieved on 5thNovember 2016 fromhttp://careersinpsychology.org/psychology-programs/?program_type=psychologist&level=doctorate#program_listings_table
Kuczynski,J.M. (2012). Empiricism and the Foundations of Psychology. Amsterdam.John Benjamins Publishing Company
Lam,M. et.al. (2013). Formulation of age-education index: Measuring ageand education effects in neuropsychological performance. AmericanPsychological Association. 25 (1) 61-70
Marcopulos,B.A. (2012). Clinical Neuropsychological Foundations ofSchizophrenia. New York. Psychology Plus
Semrud-Clikeman,M. (2016). Introduction to the Special Issue for Journal of PediatricNeuropsychology Topical Issues for Pediatric Neuropsychologists.Journal of Pediatric Neuropsychology. 2 (1) 1-2