Child and adolescent psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a full range of clinical conditions of thinking, feeling and behaviour which affect children, adolescents, and their families.
They have a primary medical degree and will have completed further training and examinations in general psychiatry followed by a specialist training in child and adolescent psychiatry to reach the level of consultant.
They will be skilled in completing a comprehensive assessment of a child’s difficulties, taking into account biological, psychological, and social factors. In the child and adolescent psychiatry training, they gain knowledge of normal child development, psychopathology, and treatment.
Special consideration is given to conditions that may develop in childhood, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood disorders, tics, trauma, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, self-harm and psychosis. Their particular training enables them to consider the contribution of medical, genetic, emotional, developmental, family, and social issues to these conditions, which they use to develop a formulation of the current difficulties.
They may reach a diagnosis where appropriate, using standardised diagnostic criteria (eg. ICD-10 or DSM-V). This formulation and/or diagnosis will be shared with the young person and family and they will agree a shared treatment plan.
They have specialist training in the use of medication to treat children and adolescents where indicated. At TTC we also believe that most people also benefit from therapeutic treatment and would recommend a combination of both. Most child psychiatrists will also have experience of a range of therapeutic models which they draw on in their treatment, and many will have completed one or more additional therapeutic trainings eg. psychodynamic psychotherapy, family therapy or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). They may also refer families for further treatment such as Psychotherapy.
To practice in the UK, they will be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) with whom they have to undergo revalidation every 5 years; gained a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in child and adolescent psychiatry, and also be members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych), which indicates that they have completed the necessary examinations. Their ongoing registration requires that they keep up to date with current developments in the field eg. by reading scientific papers, and attending courses and conferences, which they continue to apply to their clinical work.