A child psychologist is a clinical psychologist who is trained to doctorate level, specialises in working with children and young people, and addresses the unique psychological needs of each individual. A clinical psychologist is a legally protected title which means only professionals meeting the criteria set out by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) may use it.
What does a child psychologist do?
Key roles of a child psychologist include assessment, formulation, and intervention to support children’s psychological functioning, development and emotional wellbeing. Child Psychologists support children and young people, with a variety of emotional, social, behavioural, psychological and neurodevelopmental difficulties. This can include difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, self-harm, suicidal behaviour, feeling angry, and also the assessment and support for ADHD and autism.
Through careful observation, clinical interviews and standardised assessments, child psychologists work to formulate a comprehensive understanding of the individual’s challenges. A formulation is a way to bring all the information about the child together to help make sense of the child’s experiences and why they might be experiencing or presenting with some areas of difficulty. A formulation includes hypothesis for why a child might be experiencing difficulties which will lead to suggestions and recommendations for therapeutic input.
Child psychologists also work in a flexible, creative and responsive way with the childs network recognising that others supporting or looking after the child should understand their needs and work to support them in a consistent, therapeutic way.
In order to gain a better understanding of a child’s needs, a child psychologist will explore many areas of a childs life including:
- Family history
- Significant events including adverse childhood experiences
- Emotional, social and behavioural presentation
- Family relationships
- Education experiences
- Physical health
Child psychologists undertake these assessments to gain information on which factors may have contributed to the development of their difficulties, what motivates them and what may be the best form of help and support. Following an assessment of need direct therapy might be indicated. There are different types of evidence-based approaches used depending on the individual’s needs. Meadows Psychology Service offer a number of evidence based approaches including:
- Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy
- Creative Therapies – such as Art, Drama or Play
- Cognitive Analytic Therapy
Working together with other clinicians
Child psychologists often work very closely with supporting clinicians to offer joint working, as well as providing supervision and psychological consultations which can support them in understanding a child’s needs. They also provide training to colleagues on psychological problems and therapeutic approaches.
Meadows Psychology Service has a wealth of experience offering child psychology services. We have an extensive team of experienced, qualified, accredited child psychologists who have the expertise to provide individuals with psychological assessments (including specialist assessments such as those involving risk), psychological consultation and individual therapy. Contact us today to find out more.