Use various types of therapy to help kids with emotional or mental illness.
What does a Child Psychologist do?
Child Psychologists examine the mental and social development of children. A Child Psychologist can work in either therapeutic or research settings, analyzing children as young as infants and toddlers, and as old as adolescents. While they don’t prescribe medication, Child Psychologists refer patients and their parents to Psychiatrists when they feel medicine is necessary. They also help clients assess their emotional responses to medication once they start taking it.
Though most Psychologists have the ability to treat children, what makes you stand out in this position is your creative mind and dedication to helping kids. Treatments that work for an adult are very often not successful when applied to a child, so your tool kit will contain more strategies from Big Bird and fewer from Sigmund Freud. If you counsel very young children, for instance, traditional talk therapy may not be effective because children simply have not developed the mental or motor skills to communicate their thoughts this way. Here, you will use art, music or roleplaying to get inside the child’s head.
If you choose to focus on research, you can work anywhere from the courthouse to the schoolhouse. Child Psychologists in these settings study why children do the things they do. Your duties may include testifying before a jury about the kinds of developmental pressure that could lead a teen to act out and violate the law. You can also help school districts evaluate the student body’s mental health and implement programs designed to identify at-risk youths before their psychological issues turn to violence.