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All About Neuropsychological Assessments

Psychologists use a variety of tools and techniques when counseling individuals, recommending treatment plans, and evaluating mental wellbeing. One of those tools is neuropsychological assessments. Keep reading to learn about neuropsychological assessments, their purpose, and what they look like.

Are you a parent or lawyer looking for a licensed psychologist in Nevada or California to conduct a neuropsychological assessment? Contact Lucero Wellbeing today.

What is Neuropsychology?

Neuropsychology is a specialized intersection of neurology, psychology, and psychiatry that explores how the brain functions and how it relates to and interacts with behavior. Oftentimes, it specifically explores these relationships in regards to brain injury or psychological disorders.

What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?

A neuropsychological assessment, also referred to as a neuropsychological evaluation, is a tool that many psychologists use to evaluate how an individual’s brain functions. The assessment looks at an individual’s skills and abilities to determine brain functioning. The results help providers better understand patients, confirm diagnoses, and tailor treatment plans.

Neuropsychological assessments evaluate a wide variety of mental functions, including: 

  • Personality
  • Attention skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Memory skills
  • Language skills
  • IQ
  • Academic skills
  • Dexterity
  • Social skills
  • Emotional skills
  • Processing speed

Sometimes, these assessments are performed before a medical procedure in order to establish a baseline for an individual’s brain functioning. After surgery, another assessment will be performed and results will be compared to reveal any significant changes. 

Are you interested in learning about other kinds of assessments that psychologists might use to evaluate individuals? Learn about psychological assessments.

How Do Neuropsychological Assessments Work?

Neuropsychological assessments are performed by licensed neuropsychologists or psychometrists, who will determine the specific testing methods for each individual. Typically, they involve a series of standardized tests, interviews, memory tests, and self-report tests. They might also include drawing, responding to prompts or images, and solving puzzles.

The assessment generally takes two to four hours, although it can take longer (up to eight hours) depending on how many elements are included in it and how quickly an individual moves through each section.

After the assessment is complete, the overseeing psychologist will analyze results by comparing them to those of healthy individuals with the same demographics. They will compile a comprehensive report of strengths and weaknesses, key findings, and recommendations based on results. 

Who Are Neuropsychological Assessments For?

Psychological evaluations are for individuals of all ages who might be experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Changes in short-term memory
  • Confusion
  • Frequently losing things
  • Getting lost 
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Language difficulty
  • Trouble recognizing things
  • Poor judgment/decision-making
  • Change in personality
  • Hallucinations

If you, your child, or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, a neuropsychological assessment might shed some light on what’s going on internally. Find a licensed psychologist near you who can work with you and find answers.

Neuropsychological Assessments in the Courtroom

Lawyers might also request that a neuropsychological evaluation be performed to establish expert testimony and build a case in court. In such cases, evaluations can prove to be effective in supporting the plaintiff or defendant’s position. They can also be used to determine competency to stand trial.

How to Prepare for a Neuropsychological Assessment

You don’t need to study anything to prepare for these kinds of assessments, but there are a few things you can do to prepare for a stress-free assessment day.

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast.
  • Abstain from alcohol for 24 hours prior to the assessment.
  • Take your medications as usual or as directed by your psychologist.

As hard as it might be, try not to stress about the assessment. This is not a pass or fail test; it is simply a tool to help you, your family, your psychologist, and potentially your medical providers understand you better so that they can support you on your journey to physical, mental, and emotional health and wellness. Overthinking or stressing about the assessment can lead to skewed results, so try your best to relax during it.

Neuropsychological Assessments in California and Nevada

Lucero Wellbeing provides mental health services including therapy, career coaching, and assessments to adults, teens, and pre-teens in California and Nevada.  Dr. Robles has spent most of her life helping individuals and families find safe ways to improve their wellbeing, and she would love nothing more than to help your family too. If you are a concerned parent or practicing lawyer in Nevada or California, contact us today to see how our assessment services can assist you.