Psychology Specialty Definitions

Medical Psychology

Medical Psychology Organizational Chart Medical psychology views the body and mind as intertwined and strives to understand each patient in the context of his or her unique environment.

Thus, medical psychology encompasses “the study of psychological factors related to any and all aspects of physical health [and] illness and its treatment at the individual, group, and systems levels.”  (Asken, 1979)

Medical psychology is an umbrella term that encompasses the subspecialties of clinical psychology and includes health psychology, rehabilitation psychology, pediatric psychology, clinical neuropsychology, and psychopharmacology. The subspecialties of pain management, primary care psychology, and hospital-based (or medical school–based) psychology are also included under this umbrella.

Clinical Neuropsychology

Clinical neuropsychology is a specialty field of clinical psychology that is dedicated to understanding the relationships between brain and behavior, particularly as these relationships can be applied to the diagnosis of brain disorders, assessment of cognitive and behavioral functioning, and the design of effective treatment.

Pediatric Neuropsychology

Pediatric neuropsychology is a specialty of clinical psychology that is concerned with the study and understanding of brain–behavior relationships in children and adolescents who have known or suspected brain injury or disease, neurodevelopmental disorder, learning disorder, or other congenital or acquired disorders that affect brain development and function.

Health Psychology

Health psychology is a specialty within clinical psychology. Health psychologists have specialized training and can implement cognitive behavioral therapy during various stages of a chronic medical disorder. Specifically, health psychologists can meet with patients to develop healthy habits that may improve overall health-targeting behaviors related to exercising regularly, adhering to a diet or medication regimen, improving sleep, and coping with pain.

Health psychologists also work closely with physicians to help patients and their family members adjust and cope with issues such as:

  • Medical symptoms
  • Medication side effects
  • Psychosocial stressors that accompany chronic illness

Rehabilitation Neuropsychology

  • Rehabilitation neuropsychology is a specialty within clinical psychology that aims to help patients and their families manage physical, cognitive, and emotional changes subsequent to illness or injury.
  • Rehabilitation neuropsychologists often work as members of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Rehabilitation neuropsychologists conduct neuropsychological evaluations to identify patients’ emotional, cognitive, and behavioral strengths and weaknesses, and they provide interventions tailored for each patient’s specific needs. Interventions can include facilitating compensation strategies and assisting with emotional adjustment to functional changes.

Under the supervision of a clinical psychologist or clinical neuropsychologist, a psychometrist is responsible for the administration and scoring of psychological and neuropsychological tests. Psychometrists have worked with psychologists and neuropsychologists since the 1930s. However, it was not until 2006 that the American Medical Association and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a billing code (96119) to be used exclusively for testing performed by a “supervised technician” (psychometrist). The clinical services provided by the practitioners at LifeBridge Health are certainly enhanced by the expertise of our team of psychometrists.