The Neuropsychology Program, a part of the Neurocognitive Disorders Center at UTHealth, was established in 2012. The dynamic program faculty are dedicated to providing exceptional, patient-centered clinical services, contributing to UTHealth’s academic mission by providing formal training at the graduate and postdoctoral levels, and engaging in research that advances neuropsychological science. The program faculty specialize in the neuropsychological evaluation of a broad range of acquired central nervous system disorders that affect cognitive and psychological/behavioral functioning in adults, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, cerebrovascular disease, traumatic brain injury, and epilepsy. We are also often consulted to assist with diagnosis, address concerns of capacity such as return to work, and recommendations to enhance patient care and quality of life. Pre- and post-surgical evaluation for deep brain stimulation (DBS) is also a significant component of the program’s services. Additional clinical services include cognitive rehabilitation/training and psychotherapy offered through the Neuropsychology Division’s Brain and Behavioral Health Clinic (BBHC).
What is Clinical Neuropsychology?
According to the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN), “clinical neuropsychology is a specialty field within clinical psychology, dedicated to understanding the relationships between brain and behavior, particularly as these relationships can be applied to the diagnosis of brain disorder, assessment of cognitive and behavioral functioning, and the design of effective treatment.”
What is the Role of a Clinical Neuropsychologist?
The role of the clinical neuropsychologist is to apply their advanced knowledge of brain-behavior relationships to the assessment of an individual’s cognitive abilities. We administer tasks that assess for changes in brain functions, such as memory, attention, language, and problem solving. Neuropsychological evaluations are typically requested by physicians and other healthcare providers to identify changes in brain function and to assist in determining a cause of cognitive symptoms.
Some of the conditions evaluated include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Frontotemporal dementias/other dementias
- Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, including deep brain stimulation (DBS)
- Epilepsy/seizure disorders
- Head injuries/sports concussion
- Brain tumors
- Brain infections (encephalitis, meningitis, etc)
- Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
- Exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals
- Heart attacks and cerebrovascular disease
- Autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis
- Capacity/competency issues
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
What to Expect During a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
At some point during the evaluation, you and a family member will be interviewed to obtain a thorough understanding of what your symptoms are, when they first began, and how they have progressed. The tests you will be given examine how certain systems in your brain are functioning. You will be given a wide variety of tests that examine these functions. Some of the tests will be quite easy for you and others will be quite difficult. The length of testing will vary depending on several factors, but may take much of the day, with breaks as needed. After the evaluation is complete, your healthcare provider will receive a report of the findings. It is also suggested that you schedule an appointment with the neuropsychologist to discuss the results and recommendations.
The Brain and Behavioral Health Clinic
The outpatient Brain and Behavioral Health Clinic within the Neuropsychology Division in the Neurocognitive Disorders Center is directed by Dr. Christina Burrows. The clinic offers cognitive rehabilitation and cognitive compensatory strategy training for individuals with objective cognitive impairment due to medical or neurological conditions, such as brain injury, stroke, brain tumor, and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Outpatient individual and group treatment sessions are available.
Psychotherapy services are also offered in the Brain and Behavioral Health Clinic. Services involve psychoeducation and evidence-based psychotherapy for a variety of emotional concerns. Treatment includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for individuals with neurological and medical conditions who may be experiencing insomnia, depression/mood changes, anxiety, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), or adjustment difficulties. Outpatient individual and group psychotherapy formats are available.
How to Schedule an Appointment
We welcome your call and the opportunity to assist with your healthcare, whether for neuropsychological evaluation, cognitive rehabilitation/retraining, or psychotherapy services. A referral from your physician or other healthcare provider is necessary to schedule an appointment, however. Upon receiving the referral our helpful staff will contact you to schedule your assessment for neuropsychological evaluation or intervention services with one of our providers. We thank you for allowing us to be a part of your care.
Bethany R. Williams, PhD
Director, Neuropsychology Program
Behavioral & Biomedical Sciences Building
1941 East Rd, Suite 4358
Houston, TX 77047
Call Center Appointment Line: (713) 486-0500