Clinical Neuropsychology & Neuropsychological Assessment

One of the specialties that Dr. Thomas J. Harbin practices is called Clinical Neuropsychology.

Dr. Muriel Duetsch Lezak, author of Neuropsychological Assessment, describes the area of clinical neuropsychology as being “…concerned with the behavioral expression of brain dysfunction.”

Dr. Lezak goes on to describe four (4) main reasons for performing a neuropsychological assessment:

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Patient Care and Planning
  3. Treatment and Rehabilitation
  4. Research 


This is just what it sounds like: to diagnosis the problem area that the patient is experiencing. Many times, a patient is referred for a neuropsychological assessment to determine the exact cause of his/her symptoms, for example, to determine whether symptoms such as memory problems, difficulty with language, or confusion, are psychiatric or neurological in origin. Before the development of tools such as computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neuropsychologists also played a major role in the location of brain problems such as tumors or strokes. However, this function of neuropsychology has diminished. But helping to distinguish between different causes for cognitive problems (e.g., depression vs. Alzheimer’s Disease) is still and important function of neuropsychology. 

Patient Care and Planning

Neuropsychological assessment is sometimes recommended to get a more detailed analysis of a patient’s personality characteristics and cognitive function. In turn, this detailed information can be used to obtain the best possible care for the patient. 

Treatment and Rehabilitation

This area is constantly growing due to the fact that neuropsychological assessment is necessary for the treatment of various brain dysfunctions. In these cases, neuropsychological assessment can give the patient’s treating professionals a clearer idea of how to adapt their programs, goals, and treatment for that specific patient. Evaluation is also valuable for tracking progress during rehabilitation. 


Neuropsychological assessment is also used to study the organization of brain activity and its translation into behavior, as well as investigations of specific brain disorders and behavioral disabilities. Neuropsychological research directly influences clinical neuropsychology and many of the same tests used to help with the research of brain dysfunction help the clinical neuropsychologist fully assess the referred patient.


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Fayetteville, NC 28305

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