What Does A Child Psychologist Do?
The responsibilities of child psychologists center on helping children and teenagers who are suffering from emotional, behavioral or psychological problems. The specific work they do or the kinds of patients they face will depend on where they work. Child psychologists may be employed by schools, the court system or by hospitals and clinics. Some also undertake research to further deepen their understanding of children while continuing to see patients.
Child psychologists who work in schools help children who are faced with various issues that affect their academic performance. They may conduct tests to determine if a child has a learning disorder that is preventing him from understanding the concepts presented. They also determine if a child’s behavioral problems in school are due to bullying and work with school authorities to provide the necessary interventions.
They may also work together with school district supervisors and help craft individualized educational programs for students with special needs. They may also work with teachers and school heads to determine ways to improve the behavior and general academic performance of students.
Child psychologists who are hired by government agencies and work within the country’s legal system help children who have witnessed or even committed crimes. They help these traumatized kids not only to remember what happened so that they can testify accurately in court but also to process these events correctly so that it will not continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives. At other times, they may be called upon as expert witnesses to help the court understand the motivations behind a child’s actions especially when it brings about the commission of a crime. Child psychologists who work with the legal system also help make arrangements for the protection of child especially if he has been a witness to a violent attack.
Child psychologists who work in clinics and hospitals may be called upon to work with patients who are brought to the facility for various disorders. The kinds of patients they deal with will vary. They may be helping adolescents who are suffering from substance abuse disorders one moment and then with those who are suffering from depression and tried to commit suicide the next.
Child psychologists who have their own private practice may also meet different kinds of clients. They may work with those who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, trauma, depression and developmental delays. Some kids may be brought to them because of the child’s refusal to talk or interact with others after experiencing violence. They may also work with those who have issues with their self-confidence and esteem.
In a typical day, child psychologists meet clients. If this is the first time that the child has been brought in for evaluation, the psychologist will observe his mannerisms and gestures. He will also talk with the child and administer various tests to determine what the problem is. To put young children at ease, the child psychologist will often initiate role playing activities or allow them to draw or paint. The results of these activities will help the child psychologist determine what to do next.
If the child psychologist finds that another specialist will be able to help the child then he will make the necessary recommendations. For example, there are times when the psychologist will suspect that a client needs further evaluation by a psychiatrist for a psychiatric disorder. In these cases, they will refer the child to a psychiatrist who can diagnose the ailment and prescribe medication.
On the other hand, if the psychologist has arrived at a diagnosis for the patient’s condition then he will recommend the necessary treatment interventions. These can be in the form of individual or family counseling sessions or cognitive behavioral therapy sessions at regularly scheduled days of the week. In many cases, play therapy has been successfully used by child psychologists as a way for children to express their feelings and cope with trauma.
Some child psychologists combine their clinical duties with research work. They may delve into learning disabilities, child development or some other area where they are interested in. Doing research does not only enrich their own practice but also allows them to help other psychologists and laypeople understand children better. Research also accomplishes the purpose of cementing their expertise in a particular field of child psychology.