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  • Dr. Carrie Jaffe

Common Neuropsychological Assessments Your Psychologist May Order

Psychologists use different types of assessments to help them determine the nature and severity of their patient’s mental illness. This is a necessary step during the first sessions with a patient because it provides the psychologist with information on the best treatment plans. If you have begun individual psychotherapy, your therapist may have ordered a neuropsychological assessment for you. Here are some common examples that you may take.

Memory test

If your psychologist thinks you have a disorder that affects your memory, or you have noticed that you have trouble remembering things more than usual, you may be asked to take a memory test. This test may ask you to do things such as repeat a list of words, numbers, or sentences, or remember certain patterns.

One example of a memory test is the Benton Visual Retention Test. This test asks the patients to memorize specific designs and then reproduce them on a piece of paper. Another test is the California Verbal Learning Test, which asks the patient to memorize and repeat a series of nouns.

Motor skills and coordination test

Another common type of neuropsychological assessment is one that analyses a patient’s fine motor skills and coordination. These types of tests measure finger dexterity, balance, motor speed, and hand-eye coordination. Patients may be asked to write out sentences or pick up objects.

An example is the Box and Blocks Test. This test requires patients to move blocks from one side of a box to the other, using only one hand. The Purdue Pegboard Test examines a patient’s motor skills by asking them to place pegs in a pegboard.

Verbal communication test

The verbal communication test is a neuropsychological assessment that is used when a patient has trouble communicating through speech. Patients may be asked to name items that the person administering the test is pointing to, or list items that have a certain characteristic.

The Controlled Oral Word Association Test is one example. In this test, patients are tested on how quickly they can do verbal tasks, such as think of words that start with a certain letter.

Before prescribing individual psychotherapy, a psychologist needs more information about a patient’s condition. If you are seeking mental healthcare, you can expect to be given one or more neuropsychological assessments. This will allow your psychologist to have a better understanding of your condition and can therefore provide you with better treatment options.

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