1st Edition

Mistakes in Clinical Neuropsychology Learning from a Case-based Approach

    152 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    152 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This innovative book uses a case-based approach to discuss mistakes made in the practice of clinical neuropsychology to form a helpful tool in the training of early career clinicians. By allowing readers space for critical reflection during clinical practice, the book teaches competency in clinical neuropsychology, through the examination of errors as a central part of the learning process.

    The core of this book is a diverse series of mistakes, each embedded as a patient narrative. Each chapter is based around an example error, typically one that was made, by the authors, as early career clinicians. Early chapters focus on mistakes in neuropsychological assessment, and the diagnostic process. Later chapters focus on errors in rehabilitation and management. Each chapter is framed to reflect the situational context, for example the role of history, what constitutes normal performance, the way that complex tasks rely on foundational skills, or the treatment of patients with dysexecutive impairment. Towards the end of each chapter there is reflection on the nature of each error type. As such, each chapter follows the structure SEER (Situation, Example, Error, Reflection), helping the reader to imagine the situation around the mistake, its nature and relevance. The book especially emphasises small phrases of insight (axioms, or gnomes) that are widely used by experienced clinicians.

    This is valuable reading for students of clinical neuropsychology, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy as well as professionals in these fields such as neurologists, psychiatrists and other rehabilitation therapists. It is especially appropriate for those in the earlier stages of their career in clinical neuropsychology, or in related disciplines which involve the assessment and treatment of patients with neurological disorders that impair cognition or disrupt the regulation of emotion. However, experienced clinicians will also find it includes interesting insights to improve their practice.

    1. We Live or Die by History. 2. The Wrong Amnesia. 3. No such thing as a neuropsychological test. 4. Absence of Evidence. 5. Problematic Pyramids. 6. Cutting Corners. 7. Blind sight. 8. I did it my way. 9. Rudderless rehab. 10. Thinking inside the box. 11. Concrete patients need concrete therapists. 12. It’s getting worse, Doc. 13. Not built in a day. 14. This is not neuropsychological rehabilitation! 15. Epilogue: Accepting and appreciating errors.


    Oliver Turnbull is a neuropsychologist and clinical psychologist, with an interest in emotion, especially as related to emotion regulation, memory, decision-making, false beliefs, and the neuroscience of psychotherapy. He is a Professor at Bangor University in Wales (UK), where he is also Deputy Vice Chancellor.

    Rudi Coetzer is the Clinical Director of the Disabilities Trust, and an Honorary Professor in the School of Human and Behavioural Sciences at Bangor University. Prior to his current role he worked in the National Health Service for 20 years as a Consultant Neuropsychologist and Head of Service.

    Christian Salas is a clinical neuropsychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He is Associate Lecturer at the Center for Human Neuroscience and Neuropsychology and Director of the Clinical Neuropsychology Unit (Diego Portales University). His work focuses on understanding emotional and personality changes after brain injury and how psychoanalytic tools can be adapted to facilitate socio-emotional adjustment and well-being.

    "Case studies are making a comeback in neuropsychology, especially for teaching. They are memorable and come closer to teaching the skill of neuropsychology than abstract knowledge can. Mistakes are especially memorable, but also shameful and so they are understudied. I salute the courage and wisdom of these thoughtful and skilled authors in modeling for all of us how to learn from our mistakes in assessment and treatment. If, through their example, we can all learn to focus on the lessons of our mistakes, we may be able to improve and accelerate
    neuropsychological training."

    Ted Judd, Clinical Neuropsychologist and Cross-Cultural Specialist, Associate Professor Seattle Pacific University

    "A decidedly human and entertaining account of some of the mistakes we can make while learning and practicing our profession. A very useful resource for training and expanding our development."

    George P. Prigatano, Ph.D., Emeritus Chairman of Clinical Neuropsychology, Barrow Neurological Institute