Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist


Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is the branch of Psychiatry that specializes in the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychopathological disorders among children, adolescents and their families. This branch of Psychiatry encompasses the clinical investigation of phenomenology, biological factors, psychosocial, genetic, demographic, environmental factors, history and the reply to interventions of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. An important predecessor to the child psychiatry specialty is the social recognition of childhood as a special phase of life with its corresponding developmental stages that starts from the neonatal period until adolescence.

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist utilizes the knowledge on biological, psychological and social factors in dealing with the patients. Primarily, a comprehensive diagnostic examination is done to evaluate the existing problem with emphasis to the physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peers and social factors.

The diagnosis and diagnostic formulation devised by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is discussed with the patient and his or her family. It is then the responsibility of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to design a treatment plan which takes into consideration all the components and discusses these recommendations with the family of the child or adolescent. An integrated approach makes use of the involvement of the individual, group or family psychotherapy, medications and/or consultations with other medical physicians or professionals from different schools, juvenile courts, social agencies or other organizations of the community. It is also expected from the Child Psychiatrist to act as an advocate for the best interests of the child or adolescent. They also perform consultations in various settings such as schools, juvenile courts or social agencies.

It takes a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to train for four years in medical school, at least three years of approved residency in medicine, neurology, and general psychiatry with adults and two years of extra specialized training work with children, adolescents as well as their support systems in an accredited residency in children and adolescents. After successfully passing the certification examination in general psychiatry which is given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist will be eligible to take additional certification examinations other subspecialty. ABPM examinations are not required for practice by they are an assurance that the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is expected to diagnose and treat all psychiatric conditions in patients of any age competently if they have these certifications.

A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist need to be skilled in biological sciences especially in math. They also need to possess excellent communication skills for them to successfully work with patients and their significant others, learn to show empathy while still maintaining professional distance from the patients.

In the year 2004, the median compensation for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists with less than two years of experience and practice was $ 173, 922 as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because of the shortages of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, the job outlook is extremely favorable for this area.