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Treatment for Brain Injury: FAQs

Types of Treatment after a Traumatic Brain Injury

By DeAnna Frye, Ph.D.

What is the difference between a physiatrist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a counselor?

Physiatrists and psychiatrists are professionals who have graduated from medical school and earned either an M.D. or D.O. degree. Physiatrists complete special training in rehabilitation medicine and typically provide services to individuals with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and chronic pain. A psychiatrist completes additional training in mental health treatment. Physiatrists and psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

A psychologist is an individual who has graduated from a doctoral program and earned a Ph.D. or Psy.D. Psychologists receive training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues. Psychologists administer psychological tests and provide therapy services to address mental health concerns.

Counselors are individuals who typically have earned a Master’s Degree in counseling or a related field. Counselors may or may not have a license and may work under the supervision of other health care professionals. Counselors provide therapy services for mental health issues.

What is the difference between a psychological evaluation and a neuropsychological evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is used to evaluate personality characteristics and on occasion will also include some tests of cognitive abilities, such as intelligence or academic abilities.  Psychological evaluations are typically completed when an individual is concerned about emotional abilities, such as depression or anxiety.

Neuropsychological evaluation is a more extensive evaluation of how an individual is functioning with regard to cognitive and behavioral abilities.  A neuropsychological evaluation typically includes evaluation of attention, memory, intelligence, visual-spatial skills, executive functions, language abilities and personality/behavior.  A complete neuropsychological evaluation typically takes at least 4 hours to complete, depending on the specific tests administered and the abilities of the individual completing the testing.

Dr DeAnna Frye has a B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Counseling Psychology, Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. She is currently employed by Neurology Neuroscience Associates of Akron. Her special interests are psychotherapy and counseling to patients with neurological disorders with special expertise in brain injury. She is a founding member and the current co-chair of the Summit County Traumatic Brain Injury Collaborative located in Akron, Ohio.

Recommendations for more information:

The Get Well Soon…Balloon!

By Vicki Sue Parker and Susan Beebe

Story book helps children understand their emotions and reactions when a parent has a brain injury. Describes coma, rehabilitation, coming home, and therapy from a child’s perspective. Recommended for families of injured veterans and service members.