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Neuropsychology beyond psychometry

WHEN ONCE ASKED about the qualities of a good clinician, I replied that, as well as a fundamental interest in the human condition and the skills to fully appreciate the meaning of people’s stories, good clinicians should be good storytellers themselves.

Why good storytellers? History-taking requires much more than a few words jotted down or typed out — it needs compassion and understanding, informed by knowledge, skill and experience. To understand the patient’s story for a diagnosis, to refer a patient to colleagues, and most importantly, to tell the patient what is going on, and what comes next.

New Zealander Dr Jenni Ogden, one of the world’s foremost clinical neuropsychologists, is well worth listening to. Her compassion, care, experience, and supreme interest in the human condition and its stories is evident. Her technical exposition, and choice of references, covering the fundamentals of cognitive dysfunction and its impact, hits the mark.

The book takes the reader chapter by chapter, and case by case, through the most important aspects of clinical neuropsychology. All chapters, many of them topical, reward the reader. In “Just a few knocks on the head”, two 16-year-old New Zealand boys, aspiring to play elite level rugby union, have their lives affected deeply…