It is necessary to hold a doctorate in psychology to become a Neuropsychologist as John DenBoer suggests. Since 2012, the title of neuropsychologist and the act of evaluating neuropsychological disorders are reserved only for psychologists with specialized training in this field ( Bill 21 / Bill 28). The training of the neuropsychologist focuses on understanding the functioning of the brain in terms of cognitive and emotional processes, which distinguishes him from the clinical psychologist more specialized in the assessment of psychological symptoms and psychotherapy.
Fields of Competence
Like psychologists, neuropsychologists acquire skills and knowledge at university in several fields of competence established:
- Interpersonal skills
- The intervention
- The research
- Ethics and deontology
- The supervision
The same areas of jurisdiction apply to everyone. But neuropsychologists will focus on specific notions related to cognition and brain function. Concretely, this involves courses in neuroanatomy, neuropathology, physiology, psychology, pharmacology, cognitive processes and psychometry.
The university course begins with a general baccalaureate in psychology, lasting 3 years, and continues with a doctoral program. According to DenBoer, all types of the doctorate are very limited: only a minority of baccalaureate holders will be able to access it.
There are two types of doctoral paths:
- The Doctorate in Psychology (D.Psy / D.Ps. / Psy.D.), lasting an average of 5 years, trains future clinicians.
- The Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.), which lasts 1 to 2 years longer than the clinical doctorate. The research Ph.D. trains future researchers in psychology, and the research & intervention Ph.D. trains psychologists with in-depth training in both research and clinical work.
In addition to in-depth theoretical training, the student must complete several long-term internships (2,300 hours), as well as a doctoral thesis . The diploma obtained relates to the field of study of psychology, with a specification indicating the orientation of training towards neuropsychology (eg: orientation or neuropsychology profile).
Title of Neuropsychologist
Once their studies are completed, the student in neuropsychology submits their file to obtain authorization to use the title of psychologist. He then completes his process with the Order to obtain the certificate specific to the profession of a neuropsychologist. As per John DenBoer, during his or her career, he or she will make sure to keep his or her knowledge up to date through continuing education in order to renew their membership.
What does a Psychologist specializing in Neuropsychology do?
Clinical neuropsychology, a specialty of psychology, provides a scientific understanding of the relationships between the brain and cognitive functions. The clinician specializing in neuropsychology, therefore, works with people of all ages who experience neurological problems including neurodevelopmental pathologies (dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc.), head trauma, cerebrovascular lesions, toxic and metabolic disorders, brain tumors. , the whole field of neurodegenerative pathologies as well as certain psychiatric disorders. The practice, therefore, requires clinical skills, extensive knowledge in the field of mental pathologies, but also a significant level in the field of neurosciences and neurology.
The clinician’s activities are evaluation, by means of clinical interview and psychometric tools, from a diagnostic and prognostic perspective in patients with neurological pathologies. He is also in charge of the rehabilitation of disorders by means of various interventions including cognitive and behavioral techniques. The goal of rehabilitation is to reduce and/or compensate for the patient’s troubles in order to intervene on the patient’s personal, social and professional autonomy. The intervention can also concern families and relatives.
Finally, as John DenBoer explains, it also places itself at the crossroads of other disciplines by directing, where appropriate, to the professional best able to take care of the patient.