Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital provides inpatients and outpatients with a comprehensive array of Neuropsychological, Behavioral Medicine and Rehabilitation Psychology services across the lifespan by an expert staff. We are able to provide “seamless care”, from acute through rehabilitation, and transitioning to outpatient services, as well as comprehensive outpatient services to individuals from the community who have not been on our inpatient units. Our neuropsychologists/psychologists help patients and their families to set personal goals at each stage of recovery/treatment.
Evaluations: to determine diagnoses and make recommendations for home, school, and community
- Psychoeducational/School Evaluations
- Expert Witness
- Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
- Cognitive Retraining
- Health & Behavior Interventios
- Individual Psychotherapy
- Behavior Modification
- Family/Couples Therapy
- Group Therapy
- School Re-entry/Transition
- Vocational Reintegration
- Behavioral Pain Management
- Free Parent Support Group
- Free Family Support Group
Our services are provided in English and Spanish and offered to the following individuals:
- Children (Age 3 and up), Adults and Elder Adults
- Children and adults who have experienced accidents or neurological illnesses including traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy, tumors and other neurological conditions, who may have impairments of memory, attention, problem solving/organizational skills, language or spatial-perception skills.
- Children and adults who have experienced traumatic injuries, such as spinal cord injury, amputation, multiple trauma or chronic illnesses such as cancer.
- Children and adults with continuing rehabilitation or adjustment needs, such as anxiety/depression, anger management, chronic pain, medical adherence, adjusting to lifestyle changes, or coping with medically related impairments.
- Children and adolescents with learning problems, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, behavior problems, developmental delay and other childhood/adolescent issues
Gisela Aguila-Puentes, PsyD, Neuropsychologist
Dr. Aguila-Puentes is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University and completed her internship and post-doctoral training at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Aguila-Puentes is the director and attending neuropsychologist in the neuropsychology service, where she has over 20 years of experience. Her clinical interests are in the neuropsychological diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurological dysfunctions, as well as psychotherapy with adults.
Susan Ireland, PhD, Neuropsychologist
Dr. Ireland is a graduate of the University of Miami and completed her internship at the Miami VA Medical Center and her post-doctoral training at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Ireland is the Director of Outpatient Adult Neuropsychology and an attending neuropsychologist and rehabilitation psychologist on the inpatient and outpatient neurorehabilitation service, where she has over 20 years of experience. Clinical and research interests include recovery of function from neurological disorders (e.g., traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accidents), including the role of psychotherapeutic, cognitive retraining, and psychopharmacological interventions; and the impact of psychoactive substances and other co-morbid psychopathology on neurological insults and recovery.
Mario Olavarria, PsyD, Behavioral Medicine/Rehabilitation Psychologist
Dr. Olavarria graduated from the California School of Professional Psychology and completed his internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Olavarria specialized in Behavioral Medicine and Rehabilitation Psychology. During his post-doctoral fellowship at the Biscayne Institutes of Health Living, Dr. Olavarria continued his training in Behavioral Medicine while working along with Integrated Healthcare team which included an interdisciplinary approach. As such, he worked along with a number of healthcare professionals such as oriental medicine clinicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and recreational therapists. This unique opportunity has given Dr. Olavarria a more comprehensive and integrated appreciation for his patients’ circumstance. Currently, Dr. Olavarria is the attending psychologist on Jackson Memorial Hospital’s rehabilitation unit. In this capacity, he focuses on improving the quality of life, restoring hope and meaning in order to maximize a patient’s ability to cope with the effects of a disability, chronic illness and/or traumatic injury.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Neuropsychologist?
A clinical neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist who specializes in understanding brain-behavior relationships. They have an expertise in how thinking skills, emotions and behavior are related to brain structures and systems. In this context, they provide detailed recommendations to treatment providers, patients and the patient’s family and/or care providers to help improve the care for and quality of life of the individual needing services.
A clinical neuropsychologists’ training includes evaluation and assessment of cognitive impairments, cognitive remediation, behavioral management and methods of psychotherapy and counseling related to assisting patients with coping and adjustment to their injuries. Clinical neuropsychologists also provide therapeutic services and treatments to patients/families in need of education and emotional support concerning their neurological injuries or illness.
What is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist?
A pediatric neuropsychologist is a clinical neuropsychologist further trained in child development, brain development and assessment/treatment procedures for children and adolescents. They are uniquely qualified to understand the impact of brain functioning on a child or adolescent’s academic, social, emotional and family functioning and to provide appropriate recommendations, as well as treatment and interventions.
Why you may need neuropsychology if you experience certain symptoms.
Neuropsychological assessments and/or testing will help doctors and patients understand the sequela of an injury/illness and determine the necessary steps in reaching an optimal outcome in recovery. Have you or your family member/child experienced any of these symptoms?
- Memory Loss
- Difficulty Communicating
- Difficulty Writing or Reading
- Attention or Concentration Problems
- Difficulty Organizing or Planning
- Difficulty Multitasking
- Changes in Spatial Skills or Vision
- Disturbed Thinking or Confusion
- Behavior difficulties that have not improved through conventional treatment
What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
Neuropsychological evaluations assist patients, family members and/or care providers, and treatment providers better understand the thinking skills, emotional functioning and behaviors of the individual undergoing the evaluation.
- The neuropsychological evaluation assists doctors and other professionals understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working.
- Through the use of standardized tests and procedures, a completed neuropsychological evaluation provides an in-depth understanding about the patient’s thinking skills (e.g., attention, memory, language skills, visuo-perceptual skills, motor and sensory skills, intelligence quotient, higher-order executive functions – planning, organizing, problem solving), as well as behavioral functioning and emotional state.
- A very detailed assessment of abilities is completed, and the pattern of strengths and weakness is used to assist in diagnosis, treatment and recommendations to improve quality of life.
When is a neuropsychological evaluation needed?
A neuropsychological evaluation is recommended whenever brain-based impairment/disturbance in thinking skills or behavior is suspected. Common patient populations include:
- Brain injury as the result of an accident, stroke, anoxia or infection
- Neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, brain tumors, hydrocephalus or cerebral palsy
- Dementing conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease)
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
- Developmental Disorders (e.g. ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, etc)
- Medical illness (e.g., cancer, genetic disorders, etc )
- Effects of toxic chemicals or chronic substance abuse
- Movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease)
- Forensic Cases
How can the Test Results help you?
- Confirm or clarify a diagnosis
- Discuss practical implications of the patient’s difficulties with thinking skills (e.g., return to work or school; living disposition; capability to operate a motor vehicle; determining decision-making capacity, etc.).
- Provide a profile of strengths and weaknesses to guide rehabilitation, educational, vocational or other services.
- Discuss the recovery process and possible outcomes resulting from various neurological conditions
- Provide the information needed for educational planning, remediation, and accommodations a child will need, both at home and school.
- Document changes in functioning since prior examinations, including effects of treatment.
- Clarify what compensatory strategies would help optimize the patient’s functionality (using the patient’s strengths to compensate for weaknesses).
- Result in referrals to other specialists, such as, neurologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, special education teachers/tutors, or vocational counselors
How do I schedule a Neuropsychological Evaluation or learn more about them?
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call 305-585-1878.
Rehabilitation Psychology/Behavioral Medicine FAQ’s
What is Behavioral Medicine?
Behavioral Medicine is the application of behavioral and psychological principles to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical disorders.
What is Rehabilitation Psychology?
Rehabilitation Psychology is the specialty of clinical psychology focused on achievement of optimal psychological, physical and social functioning in patients and families impacted by a disability or medical condition. Rehabilitation psychologists strive to improve quality of life and restore hope and meaning to the lives of those dealing with the effects of disability, chronic illness or traumatic injury.
What services are offered?
Rehabilitation Psychologists provide clinical interventions and psychotherapy to assist patients and families in coping with physical, sensory, neurocognitive, behavioral, emotional and/or developmental disabilities. These conditions may be acute or chronic; traumatic, progressive or congenital in nature.
Who benefits from these services?
Populations often treated by rehab psychologists include, but are not limited to: spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, amputations, neuromuscular disorders, chronic pain, and other medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or limb weakness, that have the potential to limit functioning and participation in valued life activities. Rehabilitation psychologists address the implications of the injury or health condition as the person’s needs change over time.
For additional information, or to make an appointment call:
Juan Socarras (adult)
Suzan Tanner Woodward, Ph.D. (pediatric)
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Ryder Trauma Center
1800 NW 10th Avenue
Fourth Floor, Suite 451
Miami, FL 33136
Jackson Memorial Hospital
1611 NW 12th Avenue, Second Floor
Miami, FL 33136