As Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists we are medically qualified doctors. After qualification we gained general medical experience and worked as junior doctors in Psychiatry with patients of all ages. This was followed by our specialist clinical training in the mental health of children and adolescents.
We incorporate many therapeutic models within our practice including, where appropriate, the use of medication.
The profession has it’s origins in the nineteenth century, initially working with children who were considered to be “delinquent”. Since that time Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has developed into a robust branch of medicine with an increasingly evidence based approach to meeting the challenges of the range of emotional and behavioural difficulties experienced by children and young people.
Our assessment of young people includes a detailed exploration of the current concerns, their development, life experience, physical health and strengths and weaknesses. The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist meets with the young person, their parents/carers, and often gathers information from other sources including teaching staff and professionals who work with the young person. Questionnaires can also be used to develop a full understanding.
Child Psychiatrists incorporate medical, sociological and psychological models in developing an understanding of a young person’s difficulties. In addition to considering appropriate diagnoses, a formulation-based approach is standard practice. This is a process of integrating and summarising all the relevant factors implicated in the development of the young person’s problems. We assess and treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, poor attention and concentration, developmental disorders, psychosis and conduct difficulties. Some mental health difficulties do not fit clearly into diagnostic categories.
Within our talking we adopt a broad range of therapeutic approaches including family-based, behavioural, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and problem-solving techniques with or without the use of medication. We work with clinicians from other disciplines, most commonly in teams. This helps us secure the most appropriate therapy in helping children and their families.
In addition to our direct work with children and families we provide training and support to many professionals who work with children and young people. Service development and research often forms part of our work.