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Neuropsychology General

Diagnosis as a Trail Marker

August 14, 2022

Diagnosis as a Trail Marker

A big part of neuropsychological evaluation involves diagnostic considerations. I want to take a minute and give my perspective on diagnosis, because it can be scary or off-putting sometimes. 

Let’s think of diagnosis as a trail marker that designates the path one is traveling on, rather than a label of the person who is walking the path.

The whole idea behind making a diagnosis is to say 

  1. This pattern of behaviors/feelings is occurring in an individual

  2. Other humans have experienced this pattern before

  3. In fact, this very pattern has occurred in enough humans that scientists have studied it and put a name to it (message: you are not alone!)

  4. Thanks to these studies, we have an understanding of the biology/brain science behind the pattern 

  5. We have a good idea of things that can help the individual along the path

It’s a path that others have traveled on. It doesn’t mean you’ll walk it the same exact way, notice the same things. You’ll have your own unique experience on the path.

Getting a diagnosis doesn’t change the person. It doesn’t say anything new about them. 

Here’s the point of diagnosis:

  1. To clarify the path the person is walking on 

  2. To let them know they’re not alone

  3. To open the opportunity to learn about how others have fared along this path

  4. To give some suggestions about next steps and options for support