FAQ | Institute of Clinical Neuropsychology HKU

Clinical Psychology Service

What is Clinical Psychology?
Clinical Psychology is a branch of applied psychology, with an aim to reduce psychological distress and to enhance and promote psychological well-being. Along with other professions, clinical psychologists are highly qualified professionals working in the field of mental health.

What is the difference between Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists?

Clinical psychologists and Psychiatrists are both trained to assess and treat individuals who suffer from mental health issues. But clinical psychologists mainly apply psychological theories and methods to assess and treat psychological problems. Assessments are done through behavioral observations, clinical interviews and psychological testing. Evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are adopted when devising individualized treatment plan. In Hong Kong, clinical psychologists also receive adequate training in neuropsychology which enables clinical psychologists to perform neurocognitive assessments and rehabilitation.

Psychiatry, on the other hand, is a branch of medicine. As psychiatrists are medical doctors, they are able to prescribe medications. Often, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists work together to provide comprehensive psychological and pharmaceutical treatment for patients.

How do I arrange an initial consultation?
Please call us at (852) 2831 5299 or e-mail at neuropsy@hku.hk to arrange a consultation.

Neurocognitive Assessment

What is neurocognitive assessment?
Neurocognitive assessment aims to assess individual’s cognitive and behavioral functioning. It involves clinical interviews and standardized testing procedure to examine our brain’s processing speed, attention, memory and executive functioning, etc. Neurocognitive screening and assessment is helpful in identifying specific cognitive and psychological changes in the brain function of patients suffering from brain injury or brain disease. Neurocognitive assessment has been used as diagnostic tools and also serves as the key to pave way for rehabilitation.

Neurocognitive assessment is recommended when there is a suspected cognitive dysfunction related to neurological disorders (e.g. stroke, brain tumor, epilepsy, dementia, etc.) or behavioral changes (e.g. decline in attention or memory that interferes with daily functioning).
How long does a neurocognitive assessment take?
It depends on the complexity of the case. Usually, a comprehensive neurocognitive assessment takes about 3-4 hours to complete. Breaks will be given in between.

How should I prepare myself for a neurocognitive assessment?

  • Please bring along related medical reports or previous neuropsychological reports to the assessment.
  • Try to have enough sleep the night before. You will be tested individually in a quiet room. You will take some tests that involve thinking and information processing.
  • You are advised to arrive 15 minutes earlier to complete a form on personal information and medical history.


    What are psychotherapy sessions like?
    Psychotherapy sessions are designed according to individual’s psychological concerns. These treatment sessions include therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Stress Management and Relaxation Training, which enable individuals to cope with and work through their concerns. Treatment sessions require collaboration between the client and clinical psychologist and client’s participation and adherence are essential.

    How long does a consultation/psychotherapy session take?
    It depends on the complexity of the case. Clinical consultation usually lasts for 45 minutes. Subsequent psychotherapy sessions are about 45 minutes per session, and usually 6-8 sessions are recommended.

    How should I prepare myself for a psychotherapy session?

  • Please bring along related psychological report, if any, to the clinical consultation.
  • Be prepared to provide information related to your psychological concerns (e.g. since when it developed, and the progress).
  • You are advised to arrive 15 minutes earlier to complete a form on personal information and medical history.