The child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes
in the diagnosis and, if indicated, the treatment of disorders of thinking,
feeling and/or behavior affecting 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.
The child and adolescent psychiatrist uses a knowledge of biological,
psychological, and social factors in working with patients. Initially,
a comprehensive diagnostic examination is performed to evaluate the
current problem with attention to its physical, genetic, developmental,
emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peer, and social components.
The child and adolescent psychiatrist arrives at a diagnosis and diagnostic
formulation which is shared with the patient and family. The child and
adolescent psychiatrist then designs a treatment plan which considers
all the components and discusses these recommendations with the child
or adolescent and the responsible adults. An integrated approach may
involve individual, group or family psychotherapy; medication; or consultation
with other physicians or professionals from schools, juvenile courts,
social agencies or other community organizations. In addition, the child
psychiatrist is prepared and expected to act as an advocate for the
best interests of children and adolescents. Many child and adolescent
psychiatrists perform consultations in a variety of settings (schools,
juvenile courts, social agencies).
Child and adolescent psychiatric training requires 4 years
of medical school, at least 3 years of approved residency training in
medicine, neurology, and general psychiatry with adults, and 2 years
of training in psychiatric work with children, adolescents, and their
families in an accredited residency in child and adolescent psychiatry.
In the general psychiatry training years, the physician achieves competence
in the fundamentals of the theory and practice of psychiatry. In the
child and adolescent psychiatry training, the trainee acquires a thorough
knowledge of normal child and family development, psychopathology, and
treatment. Special importance is given to disorders that appear in childhood,
such as pervasive developmental disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, mental retardation, mood disorders,
depressive and anxiety disorders, drug dependency and delinquency (conduct
disorder). The child psychiatric trainee applies and develops psychiatric
skills by treating youngsters and their families.
The evaluation and treatment of inpatients and outpatients is important
throughout the training, with a concentration on delivery of appropriate
treatment within the family's financial and psychological means. An
experience in consultation to other physicians, mental health professionals,
schools, and community agencies is an important part of training.
Certification and Continuing Education
Having completed the child and adolescent psychiatry residency
and successfully passing the certification examination in general psychiatry
given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), the
child and adolescent psychiatrist is eligible to take the additional
certification examination in the subspecialty of child and adolescent
psychiatry. Although the ABPN examinations are not required for practice,
they are a further assurance that the child and adolescent psychiatrist
with these certifications can be expected to diagnose and treat all
psychiatric conditions in patients of any age and to contribute in many
ways to serve the welfare and interests of children and their families.
The child and adolescent psychiatrist, as any other physician, continues
to study and learn about the new advances in the specialty by reading
scientific literature and attending conferences to be able to apply
new knowledge effectively in daily diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultive
Finding a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Child and adolescent psychiatrists can be found through local
medical and psychiatric societies, local mental health associations,
local hospitals or medical centers, departments of psychiatry in medical
schools, and national organizations like the American Academy of Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association.
In addition, pediatricians, family physicians, school counselors, and
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) can be helpful in identifying child
and adolescent psychiatrists.
Daycare.com would like to thank American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare
a more productive and efficient service. You can contact them at: 3615
Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 voice: 202-966-7300