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Neuropsychological Evaluation vs. Psychological Evaluation

At ViewPoint Center, our clinical staff administers an assessment process in order to diagnose and form treatment plans for their patients. Some of these tests are neuropsychological in nature and others are psychological. But what is the difference between neuropsychological evaluation and psychological evaluation? And what benefits do each provide struggling teens?

Dr. Jordan Rigby, Director of Assessment at ViewPoint Center explains that like in most fields, there are many different types of psychologists. The most common type being what his graduate training and experience is in clinical psychology. A clinical psychologist is someone who can assess, diagnose, and treat psychological and mental health problems. These can include but are not limited to, psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

Early in Dr. Rigby’s training, he was exposed to the specialty of clinical neuropsychology. This is the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders associated with brain-based conditions.

Neuropsychology relates to the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits resulting from patterns of cognitive strengths and weakness in someone with difficulties often associated with psychiatric (e.g., depression), neurodevelopmental (e.g., autism spectrum), and neurocognitive (e.g., traumatic brain injury) disorders. This requires post-doctoral training and supervision in addition to a clinical pre-doctoral internship.

How Does Neuropsychological Testing Differ from Psychological Testing?

A neuropsychological assessment differs from the psychological evaluations conducted by a clinical psychologist. A clinical psychologist will assess a child’s history, intellectual abilities, basic academic skills, and conduct a personality assessment. This type of assessment does not include tests to reliably capture cognitive difficulties associated with attention, memory, learning, or executive functioning weaknesses.

Unlike Traditional Psychological Evaluations, Neuropsychological Evaluations:

  • Use a series of tests to assess various areas of cognition and behavior. These areas include memory, attention, learning, processing speed, and abstract reasoning. This information is linked back to brain structures, to provide information regarding the impact of any identified areas of difficulty on a person’s everyday functioning.
  • Include a detailed investigation of a child’s developmental, medical, social, and psychological history. This is in addition to an extensive testing battery that examines intellectual, academic, attention, executive functioning, language, visuospatial, visuoconstructional, memory, and fine motor skills.

The results of a neuropsychological assessment are intended to identify not merely any intellectual or learning difficulties, but also any other cognitive or psychological difficulty that may be contributing to an adolescent’s profile.

ViewPoint Center utilizes neuropsychological assessments along with psychological evaluations to provide patients with the most comprehensive assessment process possible.

To find out more about Neuropsych testing listen to this Podcast from Dr. Brandon Park or read this other blog, What is Psychological Testing? co-written by Ph.D.’s who do that testing. Or you can learn more about IEP’s.

About the ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process. For more information about ViewPoint Center, please visit https// or call (801) 825-5222