The master’s specialisation in Clinical Neuropsychology provides a theoretical background and practical training in neuropsychology and (clinical) neuropsychological research.
There is increasing recognition of the role neuropsychologists play in the management of brain diseases. The demand for their services is becoming greater as the population ages and medical (neuro)technology advances. Neuropsychologists assess and treat the cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences of brain dysfunction. These are a result of various neurological and psychiatric conditions:
The specialisation is grounded in the neurosciences relevant to neuropsychology with a strong focus on evidence-based practice. This means that you are taught to focus on the conscientious, explicit and well-judged use of current best scientific evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients; this in terms of diagnostics, prognostics and interventions (the ‘scientist-practitioner’ model).
The specialisation is attractive not only if you wish to become professionally active in the field of clinical neuropsychology, for instance as a Health Care psychologist/Gezondheidszorgpsycholoog BIG, Clinical Neuropsychologist/Klinisch Neuropsycholoog or Clinical Psychologist/Klinisch Psycholoog’. The programme is also suitable if you are interested in a scientific career. You are involved in the neuropsychological assessment, treatment and guidance of patients with brain damage.
“I am conducting research on the effectiveness of a psychosocial education programme for patients and partners.”
“I have always been interested in the medical and psychological aspects of human beings. This is why I was so attracted to neuropsychology, which combines both these interests. I really enjoy neuropsychological theory, and during my internship at a psychogeriatric nursing home I had my first practical experience with treating patients and dealing with their families.
I now have a PhD position at the Leiden University Medical Center, in the Department of Neurology/Neuropsychology where I am conducting research on the effectiveness of a psychosocial education programme for patients and partners. Most of the patients I study are suffering from Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease, but some also have other diseases. My job is particularly fulfilling and enjoyable because of the variety of patients I treat and because, as well as conducting research, I also have the opportunity to apply and learn about different psychosocial treatments. There are currently three master’s students involved in my research and I am their thesis supervisor.
What I most appreciated about my master’s was that it was very variable, from theory to testing and applying treatment skills in practice. It was an excellent preparation for this job, which has just the same kind of variable challenges.”
Brain scars. How trauma affects the brain.
“The practical subjects from clinical and health psychology were very useful to me as a starting psychologist.”
“In my time as a student in Leiden, from 1999 to 2003, I was a member of a student association. I learned a lot from my experiences in committees and boards. I especially enjoyed my time as a student!”
“After graduating I completed my training as health care and clinical psychologist. At the end of my internship at a large mental health institute, I was offered a job there. I enjoyed finally being able to put theory into practice. This was the first time that I saw psychotic patients and I found this particularly interesting as I couldn’t quite imagine what psychosis would be like after reading about it in text books.”
“I worked at this institute for ten years. Alongside it I worked in a primary care practice and as a Pro Justitia rapporteur. Four years ago I started my own practice. An average work week of about 32 hours looks as follows:
- Monday 20.00-23.00: online treatments, administration, processing mail
- Tuesday 08.00-17.00: appointments with clients, 20.00-23.00: online treatments, administration, processing mail
- Wednesday 08.00-17.00: appointments with clients, 20.00-23.00: online treatments, administration, processing mail
- Thursday 20.00-23.00: administration, processing mail
- Friday: telephonic consultations with colleagues throughout the day, processing mail (2 hours in total)
- Saturday: reading psychology literature
- Sunday 20.00-23.00: online treatments, administration, processing mail
Since having my own practice I am very flexible. This makes it easy to combine with having a family.