Hardy and Associates consists of a team of dedicated, approachable and friendly staff who specialise in various aspects of psychological and neuropsychological functioning. The predominant area of interest is neuropsychology in which we assess, guide and provide support for those who have suffered brain injuries (for example, as a result of a motor vehicle accident or a stroke) and also for their families.
Our lead psychologist has over 20 years of experience working with brain-injured individuals and their families. She is registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa, is a Full Member of the South African Clinical Neuropsychological Association and is a Certified Independent Medical Examiner (accredited by the AMA). She is also the only South African facilitator of the Certified Brain Injury Specialist course through the Brain Injury Association of America (accredited by the University of Michigan).
The rest of the Hardy & Associates team consists of psychometrists, registered counsellors and certified brain injury specialists (accredited by the Brain Injury Association of America).
Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology that deals predominantly with individuals who have sustained some form of brain damage whether it be congenital, developmental, neurodegenerative or acquired.
Neuropsychology is very much valued as not simply involving the assessment of cognitive abilities in patients with cerebral pathology, but also as playing a major role in the rehabilitation of such people.
The scope of this neuropsychological practice includes both neuropsychological assessment and cognitive rehabilitation.
We provide assessments for motor vehicle accident claims to the Road Accident Fund, insurance claims and medical disability/boarding. A typical neuropsychological evaluation will involve assessment of the following:
Following a brain injury, one may feel lost, “foggy”, impulsive, easily stressed, easily frustrated and fatigued, amongst other symptoms. Neuropsychologists are psychologists who have specialist knowledge about how the brain works, how it affects thinking, behaviour and emotions, as well as the impact of various disorders (for example, Aspergers or Dementia) and injuries on these processes, and an understanding about how this affects a person’s life and that of their family and friends. Our team of staff are here to provide more information about brain injury and its effects, as well as offering full neuropsychological assessment, cognitive rehabilitation and psychotherapy for individuals of all ages.
One of the roles of a neuropsychologist is to assist the individual in ameliorating and compensating for their deficits. In the rehabilitation of memory, for example, the emphasis is typically on alleviating the impact of memory impairment and, as a consequence, improving day-to-day functioning. Following brain injury, through head injury, stroke or infection, there is usually some improvement in cognitive functioning, including memory functioning over a period of weeks and months, and possibly years. The extent of the recovery of function is very variable. Cognitive rehabilitation aims to maximise this recovery.
In terms of cognitive rehabilitation itself, it is tailor-made to suit the needs of each patient. It involves an aspect of psycho-education, particularly regarding brain functioning and the patient’s injuries and common deficits. Once the individual understands the nature of their injuries, we engage the patient in various exercises and activities that aim to improve cognitive function by using various programmes (both the pen-and-paper-based and computer programmes) as well as setting homework for patients to complete at home. As mentioned previously, cognitive rehabilitation is different for each patient depending on their deficits, goals and needs.
Another role of the neuropsychologist is also to provide the family with education regarding the brain injury itself and supportive counselling in order for them to better cope and care for their brain injured relative.