The Pathway to Clinical Neuropsychology

The Pathway to Clinical Neuropsychology

This story gives insight into the journey of being a student at Leiden University to what is like to be a clinical neuropsychologist. It shows that a career path after graduation is full of challenges that we can see as opportunities to grow.

The journey from a student to a clinical neuropsychologist

I took my bachelor's in the International Bachelor in Psychology program followed by a Master's in Clinical Neuropsychology at Leiden University ( see the blog Facing the limits living with spastic tetraparesis for my previous post). During my master’s I did my internship in a mental health center, where I first encountered the clinical side of psychology and I realized that doing neuropsychological testing was something that I enjoyed, and I decided to pursue in that direction. What I like about neuropsychology is how it connects the behavior and mind to the central nervous system and how they influence each other. Because I took a minor in Gender and Sexuality in Society and Culture, I became part of the Queer Neuropsychology Association which offers education, consultation, and mentorship to neuropsychologists who work with people who belong to the LGBTQ community. Additionally, I am a member of the Romanian Psychologists’ College, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, AIM-AHEAD (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity), and the National Research Mentoring Network.

The beginning of Clinical Neuropsychology and Neuroscience in Romania

I joined the Mindlifeline Association which is involved in disseminating information and bringing the field of clinical/ cognitive neuropsychology to Romania through organizing conferences, mentorships, and workshops. Among our speakers, we had Julia Belger, Justine Moonen, Kent C. Berridge, Georg Northoff.

We also presented in a podcast at Radio Romania Cultural, where we highlighted the need for Neuroscience and Neuropsychology in Romania. The field of Clinical Neuropsychology, a science on the intersection of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, is under-represented in Romania. In the future, I would like to bring neuropsychologist tests to my country and even make digital neuropsychological testing because, in Romania, no therapists or psychologists are trained to deal with the components of Neuropsychology.

I participated as an alumni of Leiden University, to workgroup meetings for the course Perspective on Career Planning for second-year Psychology bachelor students.

Whenever there is a challenge, there is also an opportunity to face it, to demonstrate and develop our will and determination.-Dalai Lama

Another personal interest of mine is cerebral palsy. Although there are books that include all types of cerebral palsy and provide guidelines for the families, they do not describe specifically the spastic tetraparesis diagnosis. They address the plegia type of the diagnosis and not the paresis one, which are two different conditions. This prompted me to write a book that arose from all of my difficulties and unanswered questions about what the diagnosis of spastic tetraparesis implies beyond the physical limitations, aiming to provide a broader look at the challenges that a diagnosis of spastic tetraparesis can bring. The book, entitled ‘’ A Patient's Perspective on Spastic Tetraparesis Diagnosis: Specially Abled’’ has just been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in January 2024.