Early Childhood Intervention: Module Three – The Professionals

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

The child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of thinking, feeling and/or behavior that affect children, adolescents, and their families.  A child and adolescent psychiatrist offers families the advantages of a medical education, the medical traditions of professional ethics, and medical responsibility for providing comprehensive care.

Practice 

A child and adolescent psychiatrist combines knowledge of biological, psychological, and social factors in working with patients.  Initially, a comprehensive examination is performed to evaluate the current problem paying close attention to its physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peer, and social components.

The child and adolescent psychiatrist arrives at a diagnosis which is shared with the patient and family.  The psychiatrist then designs a treatment plan which considers all the components and discusses these recommendations with the child or adolescent and family.

An integrated approach may involve individual, group or family psychotherapy, medication,  and/or consultation with other physicians or professionals from schools, juvenile courts, social agencies or other community organizations.

In addition, the child psychiatrist is expected to act as an advocate for the best interests of children and adolescents.  Child and adolescent psychiatrists perform consultations in a variety of settings (schools, juvenile courts, social agencies).

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