Frequently asked questions

Neuropsychological Assessment

What is a Neuropsychological Assessment?


It maps out the profile, including strengths and weaknesses, of your cognitive functions in order to look at how your brain works. It covers a broad range of cognitive functions, such as attention, language, visual-perception, memory, executive functions, etc. Your emotional and mental functions are also assessed because they also affect how your cognitive functions perform. The assessment is conducted via clinical interviews and a number of psychometric tests. You will be asked to answer different questions and perform different tasks to see how your brain works. The assessment results are derived from an intergration of your demographic background, symptom presentation, neuroimaging record, and your performance on a number of psychometric tests that tap on different cognitive abilities.




My medical doctors did some cognitive tests (MMSE or MoCA) with me already. Why do I have to do a Neuropsychological Assessment now?


MMSE and MoCA, which consists of relatively simple items, serve as a screening for cognitive deficits. They usually work well for people of average intelligence, who have already showed significant cognitive problems that affect everyday living. However, they may not be sensitive enough to detect mild cognitive deterioration or change in people who have a higer baseline cognitive abilities. Examples of these people are those with high intelligence and premorbid functioning, those who are talented with certain living skills, and professionals who have been practising high level of cognitive tasks for many years. Relatively more sensitive psychometric tests are used in neuropsychological assessment, aka neurocognitive testing, in order to measure your cognitive abilities. Moreover, the assessment does not rely on a single score on a particular test; rather the impression is formed by an intergration of your performance on a number of psychometric tests specific to certain cognitive abilities with your background, symptom presentation and medical information. Sometimes your medical doctors would like you to undergo a more formal and detailed testing so as to confirm the medical diagnosis.




Who is qualified to conduct a Neuropsychological Assessment?


A Clinical Neuropsychologist or a Clinical Psychologist specializing in Neuropsychology, who has professional training in psychometric measurement, neuropathology and psychopathology, and practical internship or placement.




What is the difference between Clinical Psychology Assessment and Neuropsychological Assessment?


They overlap. The focus of a Clinical Psychology Assessment is placed on a person's mental condition, although it may also tap on the person's cognitive abilities. Neuropsychological Assessment involves more detailed and extensive assessment and testing on a person's cognitive abilities, although it also involves the person's mental state. It is very common that one's emotional and mental states, and one's cognitive performance interact and affect each other.




How do I know which type of assessment I should go for?


If you want to know more about your mental condition, particularly your emotion and behaviour, you may go for a Clinical Psychology Assessment. If you are concerned with your cognitive performance (for example, memory) or if you show any cognitive changes in relation to your brain condition (for example, dementia, epilepsy, brain tumour, etc.), you should opt for a Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment. Talk to your Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist or Medical Doctors for more information and clarification.




Why do I need to come for three sessions in order to get the Neuropsychological Assessment completed?


This is designed in order to get a more accurate, comprehensive and detailed assessment. The first session is spent on understanding your condition, difficulties and problems in everyday life. This helps the psychologist to form different hypotheses so that he can select the appropriate tests to administer in the next session. The second session is focused on test administration where you will be asked to perform different tasks to see how your brain works. The third session is a follow-up testing session, before which your performance on the tests in the second session has been analyzed. There are usually areas where further tests are needed to clarify ambiguity for a clearer impression. In addition, some people may not be able to finish all the tests that were planned for the second sessions. You may need to finish them in this third session too.





General

Who may come to your clinic?


Any one who wants to - 1. find out if he/she has suffered from cognitive changes or deteroriation, particularly if he/she has or has been told to have experienced some problems in everyday cognitive performance. 2. understand his/her emotional and mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety, behavioural problems, psychosexual issues, etc. 3. seek psychological treatment on his/her psychological distress or difficulties. 4. look for advice on rehab plan after brain injury, brain disease or brain surgery. Some people are referred by their medical doctors, lawyers and insurance agents for various purposes. Talk to the above professionals to see if you need an assessment. If you are unclear, just send an email kkleung@drkkleung.com or call me at +852 55056960 for more information.




Why can't I audio or video record what's going on in the sessions?


You are normally not allowed to record, audio or video, anything in the sessions. All information in the sessions, particularly the assessment sessions, is kept confidential. All psychologists are obligated to keep all testing materials confidential as a code of ethics; otherwise, it would spoil the validity of the test. Imagine everyone knows before the asessessment what he/she is asked to remember in a memory test, the test will not be valid at all to reflect the true learning ability. It is for the good of the public, so that they can use the same tests as you do. When there is no recording in progress, you are free to talk whatever you feel comfortable, so that you can share your vulnerability and secrets that you may not feel easy to talk about in front of other people. There is only one exception to the no-recording rule: only if the recording helps you to gain more during the therapy process. Some clients will be asked to follow some audio instruction to practise certain skills, such as relaxation and mindfulness. Some clients may be asked to listen to some therapy content to remind themselves and reflect on what have been touched upon during the session.




Can I hire you to "prove" to a third party that I have or have not suffered from some sorts of cognitive impairments and psychological loss?


Yes and no. If you do suffer from some impairments, the assessment can help to show the types and severity of the impairments. If you don't, the assessment can help to show that your performance on certain cognitive abilities are at the level expected for your age. All assessments are based on facts and I can only conduct the assessment on a neutral stance. You should present your conditions as a matter of fact, so that the asessment is accurate and unbiased. Any signs of minimization, exaggeration or making up of the symptoms will be documented and will discredit the validity and credibility of the assessment.




Is there any possibility to pay less for the services?


There is promotional price list from time to time. The fee is normally set according to - 1. The experience of the psychologist - Dr Leung has more than 24 years of experiences in clinical practice, research and teaching. 2. The qualification of the psychologist - The highest qualification of Dr Leung obtained is PhD, and he is a registered Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist in New Zealand Psychologist Board, and a registered Clinical Psychologist in Hong Kong Psychological Society. For more information about his experiences and qualification, please refer to the Profile section of the website. 3. The use of psychotherapeutic methods are based on research findings and clinical judgement in order to help you to achieve your goals as soon as possible. At the same time, my goal is to help you to help yourself to solve the problem, so that you don't need to come back as soon as you can. I do not use the approaches, which may carry some fancy names but are not supported by empirical research and the scientific understanding of our brain and mind. 4. The complexity of the instruments and tools used in the assessment. A number of tools are used to test specific brain functions in the neuropsychological assessment. 5. More importantly, you will be given enough time to express yourself and find yourself being understood during the encounter. The fee is at the discretion of Dr Leung for some particular group of young people. Talk to Dr Leung for more information.




Are you LGBTQ affirmative?


I respect diversity in all dimensions, including age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental differences. I am committed to the principles set out in the Position Paper for Psychologists Working with Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexual (LGB) Individuals by the Division of Clinical Psychology, the Hong Kong Psychological Society. http://hkps.org.hk/en/publications/download/9/




Do you accept Health Care Voucher?


I don't. Clinical Psychology service is not included in the list of healthcare service providers of the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme (HCVS). For more information about HCVS, please refer to www.hcv.gov.hk/eng/pro_service_area.htm





Psychological Health

What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?


Clinical Psychologists are professionally trained experts in cognitive, emotional and behavioural functioning, and their interaction with the environment. They have acquired at least a Master degree in Clinical Psychology and underwent several clinical placements being supervised by qualified Clinical Psychologists. Clinical Psychologists in Hong Kong are not allowed to prescribe medications. They base their intervention on scientific understanding of people's cognition, emotion and behaviour, and the empirically validated psychological methods or psychotherapy to treat mental and psychological disturbances. Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in psychiatry. They make psychiatric diagnosis and prescribe medications to treat mental disorders, while some also conduct psychotherapy.




Who shall I see, a Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or both?


Depends on your mental conditions and various factors. Some people are concerned about taking medication, so they prefer seeing a Clinical Psychologist for psychotherapy. They are usually ready to work hard and learn ways to manage their emotions and behaviour. Psychotherapy can be as effective as pharmacological treatment for some conditions. Some people benefit more from having both psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment at the same time. Some people prefer taking medications and let the drugs take into effects. Pharmacological treatment may work better in some conditions than psychotherapy does in some mental conditions. Talk with me or consult your family doctors when necessary.