What the heck is a neuropsychological assessment!?


What the heck is a neuropsychological assessment!?

When you start to notice that you can’t recall words as easily as you used to, or you forget where your keys are for the hundredth time, it is unlikely that your first thought will be, ‘I need a neuropsychological assessment’! In fact, it’s much more likely that you’ll think, ‘I’m stupid’ or ‘my partner, son, daughter, or just that person who you don’t even know who got the brunt of your frustration, is stupid’… days, months, years may go by with you thinking these things and sadly the frustration may push others close to you away, reduce your confidence and generally make life miserable. But if you’ve suffered a head injury leading to an acquired brain injury, there could be an actual reason why you’re having memory problems. And this is when it becomes important to realise how helpful a neuropsychological assessment can be. Let’s break it down. ‘Neuro’ means anything to do with your brain. ‘Psychological’ means your emotional and social life. And ‘assessment’ is about being able to measure the impact of things on you. Very simply, your emotional world may have changed due to a brain injury and a neuropsychological assessment helps understand this better. In a neuropsychological assessment a clinical psychologist will ask you lots of questions, and may also ask you to perform some tasks to understand things like your memory skills. But you might ask yourself after hearing this, ‘how will understanding help!?’ And you wouldn’t be wrong to ask this. It is not the understanding alone that may help, but what this understanding leads to. For example, if a clinical psychologist uncovers that you are having trouble remembering things that people say to you, but that you can recall pictures better, they might try to help you think about practical adjustments to make in your life that help you overcome your difficulties, by leaning on your relative strengths. A neuropsychological assessment won’t make everything instantly better, but forewarned is forearmed, knowing what you can do well and can’t do can empower you to do things differently. And, hopefully, take some of that frustration away. If you have noticed problems with your memory, we, at The London Neurocognitive Clinic are here to help.

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