FAQs 2

How to become a neuropsychologist
If you are not yet a registered psychologist and would like to become a neuropsychologist, there is one university in South Africa that currently runs a Master’s degree in neuropsychology: the University of Cape Town (UCT). It seems likely that students completing this course and an HPCSA-approved internship, will be able to register as neuropsychologists. For more information and the entrance requirements into the course, please contact UCT directly.

If you are already a psychologist and have been working in the field of neuropsychology since 15 November 2014, there is a window period in the years 2020 and 2021 in which you can apply to be considered to register as a neuropsychologist. The application form needs to be completed before 31 December 2021. In order to apply, you will need to include proof of any relevant postgraduate course work or study in neuropsychology, proof of any relevant work experience in the form of a portfolio of evidence of core competencies in neuropsychology, a copy of all you qualifications certified by a notary public, proof of South African citizenship or permanent residency (e.g. Passport or Identity Document), and you will need two referees who can swear before a Commissioner of Oaths that they consider you to be a “fit and proper person to be registered as a neuropsychologist”.

If you are a psychologist but do not meet the criteria to register as a neuropsychologist, do not be discouraged. The HPCSA indicated at a meeting at the PsySSA conference in 2018 that clinical, counselling and educational psychologists will still be allowed to work in the field of neuropsychology, even if they are not registered as “neuropsychologists”. For current certainty on this matter, please contact the HPCSA.
May you use the term "neuropsychologist" to refer to certain psychologists in South Africa?
In South Africa there is a recognised category of neuropsychology, but the HPCSA is still in the process of deciding what qualifications one needs to register in that category. While no person can yet call him/herself a “neuropsychologist”, there are many psychologists that have specialised knowledge of neuropsychology and practice in the field of neuropsychology. It is foreseen that in the near future some psychologists would be able to register in the category of neuropsychology with the HPCSA and will thus be able to officially call themselves “neuropsychologists”. For more information in this regard, contact the Professional Board of Psychology of the HPCSA.

What does a psychologist practicing in the field of neuropsychology do?

Such psychologists assess brain-based behavioural disorders for the sake of clarifying diagnoses, helping with treatment decisions, monitoring treatment efficacy, research and giving opinions regarding medico-legal matters. They are also sometimes involved in cognitive rehabilitation.
When is a neuropsychological assessment needed?
Neuropsychological assessments are needed if a brain-based impairment or disturbance in thinking or behaviour is suspected, such as with:

  • Traumatic brain injury (e.g. concussion, coma and open head wounds)
  • Strokes
  • Memory difficulties with unknown cause
  • Brain tumours
  • Dementing conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Seizure disorders (epilepsy)
  • Effects of toxic chemicals or chronic substance abuse
  • Movements disorders
  • Forensic cases (e.g. if a person needs a curator)
How can a neuropsychological assessment help you?
A neuropsychological assessment can:

  • Confirm or clarify a diagnosis
  • Quantify cognitive and behavioural strengths and weaknesses to guide rehabilitation and vocational or educational needs
  • Pick up changes in functioning since prior assessments
  • Help guide the person to others that can help with treatment and/or rehabilitation and/or management of quality of life issue
How do I find a "neuropsychologist" in my area?
Go to the tab “Find a Neuropsychologist” from the home page of this website to find a psychologist practicing in the field of neuropsychology in your area.