1. What is a child psychiatrist and what do they do?
A psychiatrist is a physician (i.e a graduate of a medical school) who is trained to evaluate, diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions. Psychiatric disorders are a deviation from normal behavior and emotional, or thinking process. Since many physical health issues can cause or complicate emotions and behaviors, training in medical school and other branches of medicine gives the psychiatrist the advantage of taking in considerable physical aspects of the person’s suffering. A psychiatrist will then prescribe appropriate medication (if needed). Although they typically do not conduct psychotherapy (talk therapy.) Psychiatrists are trained in those therapies and apply their knowledge of them to appointments when needed. They then communicate and coordinate with other professionals involved in the patients care.
Child psychiatrists are trained in general psychiatry, then they spend two more years training in the psychiatric care of children. Psychiatrist study developmental and neurological aspects of children's health and are followed by applying more age appropriate tools in diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents.
2. What is the difference between a therapist, counselor, psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Therapists and counselors are professionals who are trained in the field of psychology, which is a field dedicated to the study of behavior and emotions. They look at every individual as unique, trying to apply their knowledge of the mind into understanding the relationship between the person and their environment.
Both psychiatrists and psychologists refer to each other when necessary, to help a person with their suffering. Psychologists do not (in general) prescribe medications, psychiatrists do. A psychologist assess testing to diagnose mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that evaluates a patients mental health and typically see's them long-term.
3. How does a child psychiatrist evaluate my child?
The essential task of a child psychiatrist is to assist families in their attempt to understand whether their child is displaying normal (or some sort of normal variation) behaviors/emotions, or he/she is suffering from a clinical disorder that is known to have specific course and treatment. By interviewing the child, the parents, and communicating with school, the psychiatrist will establish an understanding of what might be going on. He/she will then proceed with necessary tests (labs, Xray, psychological testing etc.) to further confirm that initial impression, then explain the findings to the family and suggest treatments based on established medical practices and evidence for a state of the art approach to the problem.