About Clinical Psychology
What is Clinical Psychology?
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to the practice of clinical psychology are psychological assessment, clinical formulation, and psychotherapy.
What is a Therapist?
As therapists, much of our practice is spent working in therapy with individuals struggling with stress, relationship distress, mood disorders (such as anxiety and depression), as well as a wide range of other psychological conditions, such as Bipolar Disorder, OCD and Schizophrenia. As with any therapeutic experience, we strive to provide a safe environment in which you will feel supported as we work on reducing emotional distress. We also offer therapeutic strategies from a Cognitive-Behavioral and Interpersonal perspective that are empirically validated and shown to assist in the management of mood and stress, reducing negative self-talk, and improving coping and resiliency. Our therapeutic approach includes identifying goals and working with individuals towards empowerment, improved communication, and identification of strengths in order to improve quality of life.
Some individuals will find us by researching therapists on their own and some individuals will be referred to us by a psychiatrist or family doctor. For some individuals, their work may begin with a psychological or neuropsychological assessment and transition into a therapeutic relationship. For example, an individual may worry that she is beginning to develop Alzheimer’s because she is having memory changes and it runs in her family. However, testing may show that anxiety is the cause of her cognitive changes. Therapy would be recommended to explore anxiety in her life and begin to discuss how stress and anxiety impact our brain and body and work towards improving stress management and implementing effective coping strategies.
What is Clinical Neuropsychology?
Clinical neuropsychology is a speciality field within clinical psychology with focus on brain and behavior relationships. Neuropsychologists use standardized tests and clinical knowledge to evaluate an individual's higher order cognitive functions (i.e., intelligence, attention, concentration, learning/memory, etc.), behavior, and psychological state, in order to diagnose brain disorders or disease.
What is a Clinical Neuropsychologist?
A clinical neuropsychologist is an licensed, independent, doctoral level health care provider who provides assessment and intervention services to individuals, based upon the science of clinical neuropsychology. Training in clinical neuropsychology comprises of education and clinical training in clinical psychology and also specialized training in neuropsychology. Beyond the general coursework in clinical psychology, neuropsychologists have additional education in the basic neurosciences, functional neuroanatomy, neuropathology, clinical neurology, general psychological assessment, neuropsychological assessment, and cognitive rehabilitation.
What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
Generally, a neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of an individual's cognitive abilities and weaknesses, as well as emotional functioning. The neuropsychologist will administer a battery of standardized tests and questionnaires to assess the individual's current cognitive abilities and psychological state. The cognitive domains typically assessed during a neuropsychological evaluation include: intelligence, academic skills, problem solving, organization and planning, attention, concentration, language, visual perception, visual spatial abilities, sensory-motor functions, personality, and social-emotional functioning.
The neuropsychological assessment process requires three separate face-to-face appointments. The assessment begins with an initial intake appointment with Dr. Perkins. This initial appointment will last approximately 45-minutes and is the opportunity to gather information from you about your history. This is also your opportunity to share your concerns to ensure that the issues your are struggling with are adequately addressed in the assessment. The second appointment is the evaluation in which Dr. Perkins or a trained psychometrist will administer a variety of tests to the individual being assessed. There are no invasive procedures (i.e., no needles, no electrodes) required during a neuropsychological evaluation; however, it will take several hours to complete. Following the face-to-face evaluation, many more hours of indirect time are required for scoring tests, reviewing medical records, and completing a clinical report of the findings. Lastly, you will be asked to return for a feedback session to discuss the test results and review recommendations. You are encouraged to bring a family member with you to the initial intake session to provide additional information and during the feedback session to hear results and recommendations.
Neuropsychological evaluations are often useful in the diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities and ADHD, as well as evaluating cognitive and psychological changes after concussion and TBI, monitoring recovery after stroke or other neurological event, and in the diagnosis and progression of dementia.