*Bill Mautner was a patient in Burke's inpatient and outpatient neuropsychology programs.
Burke Rehabilitation Hospital has long recognized that coping with a neurological illness or injury is difficult for patients and families. Burke’s clinical neuropsychologists, including Heidi Spitz, Psy.D., in Outpatient, are specialists in evaluating and treating the brain-behavior relationship. They work with patients who have cognitive impairments, such as personality changes, brought on by brain injury or stroke.
Clinical neuropsychology is a specialty within psychology that focuses on the relationship between the central nervous system and behavior. It is based on the scientific study of human cognition (i.e., thinking), emotion and behavior as it relates to normal and abnormal brain functioning. A clinical neuropsychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology, with at least two years of advanced training and experience in the science and practice of neuropsychology.
Neuropsychological assessment and intervention at Burke are conducted in an inpatient or outpatient setting. In the outpatient setting, the neuropsychologist does a comprehensive examination of how the different areas and systems in the brain are working. Patients often have concerns about attention, concentration, memory, language, organization, perception or changes in personality or mood. The cause of these complaints may be medical, neurological, psychological or genetic.
The results of the examination serve a variety of purposes, depending on the individual situation. These purposes include:
- Diagnosing and differentiating causes of cognitive and/or emotional complaints.
- Assessing cognitive decline or improvement.
- Establishing a “baseline” to monitor changes in neuropsychological functioning over time or following treatment.
- Objectively measuring neuropsychological strengths and weaknesses.
- Planning intervention or rehabilitation.
- Determining capacity to return to work or make important decisions.Formulating an individual course of cognitive rehabilitation
- Restoring functions that can be restored and learning to compensate for functions that cannot, through cognitive rehabilitation, or “physical therapy for the brain.”
Outpatient neuropsychology services may be covered by insurance but will need to be verified by each patient's particular plan. A prescription from a physician may also be required for the neuropsychological evaluation.
Heidi Spitz, Psy.D., Director, Outpatient Neuropsychology
Dr. Spitz has been practicing psychology for over 25 years. She has trained and worked in leading hospitals in New York City, including Rusk Rehabilitation at New York University Langone Medical Center, New York Presbyterian (Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medical Centers), Mount Sinai, Bellevue and Lenox Hill. In this capacity, she has also supervised interns and postdoctoral students in psychology. She also maintains a thriving private practice.
Dr. Spitz is primarily interested in brain injury of any cause, whether as a result of trauma, chronic illness or any other condition. She is committed to helping individuals improve their cognitive and emotional functions either individually or in group settings. This process also involves active participation and involvement of family members which is critical for a successful outcome. Dr. Spitz is a member of the American, New York State and Westchester County Psychological Associations and is on the Alumni Council of Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at New York University and her doctoral degree in clinical child school psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University.
For more information about Burke's outpatient neuropsychology program or to schedule an appointment, please call the Burke Medical Group at (914) 597-2332.