Burke’s clinical neuropsychologists and neurorehabilitation fellows 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 may be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. In the inpatient setting, assessments and treatment are provided to patients with brain injuries or stroke. These patients often experience changes in thinking, concentration, memory, organization, sequencing, and carrying out basic tasks. Such changes are often disruptive to individuals and their families. Weekly education and support groups focus on coping and adjusting to stroke or brain injury, education, about stroke and brain injury and cognitive rehabilitation education. Brief, cognitive-behavioral and individual psychotherapy can be provided on a case-by-case basis.
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.”
Julieanne Shulman, Psy.D., Director of Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology
Dr. Julieanne Shulman received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Rochester and her M.A. and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School. She completed an APA accredited internship at the Rusk Institute/NYU Langone Medical Center, where she focused on neuropsychology, cognitive remediation and psychotherapy with a medically complex patient population. Dr. Shulman went on to further specialize in neuropsychology with children, adolescents and adults during her post-doctoral training. Prior to becoming Director of Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology at Burke Rehabilitation Center, she served as the Coordinator for the Neuropsychology Service at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and was appointed Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Shulman also brings a strong background in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to her work, applying the latest, research-based advances in her treatment of patients with a variety of adjustment, anxiety and mood disorders.
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.
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.