Child Psychology: An Overview

Posted on: 21 January 2022

This article provides a general introduction to child psychology services. Read on to discover everything you need to know about this subject.

What is child psychology?

Child psychology is a field that looks at how children develop and learn about their environment. Child psychologists include consulting with parents, educators and social workers to help understand a child's mental health support needs. They may also conduct assessments or observations to determine a child's mental health or developmental status. The overall goal is to identify a few risk factors that might impact a child's development, provide support for children going through difficult times, and promote healthy behaviours to prevent future problems down the road. If a support need is identified, the psychologist can recommend a few treatments and medications to help a child manage their condition.

Who provides child psych services?

The services themselves are provided by psychiatrists and psychologists who have specialised training in developmental disabilities and behavioural issues, such as disruptive behaviour disorders (e.g., oppositional defiant disorder) or anxiety disorders (e.g., separation anxiety). The treatment is often outpatient-based and will involve attending a local community medical centre. In acute cases, a child may be admitted to a local hospital for observation or treatment.

What should you and your child expect during an appointment?

During an initial assessment, you can expect your child to be asked questions about how they're feeling and behaving at home and school. The goal is for your child's psychologist to understand their unique strengths and difficulties so they can make recommendations. A thorough assessment typically involves psychological testing (e.g., intelligence testing, achievement tests), clinical interviews with parents and teachers to gather information about behavioural patterns, direct observations in certain settings (e.g., home or school) and a detailed report from your family doctor or paediatrician. This report will form the basis of a treatment plan.

How can you find a child psychologist?

If you suspect your child is having difficulties, it's best to bring up your concerns with their primary care physician to get a referral for a psychological assessment. Alternatively, many hospitals have professionals who offer these services. You may also want to ask the school principal if any psychologists on their staff provide assessments to students if they have been experiencing academic problems or behavioural issues while at school.

Contact your local adolescent mental health team today if you want more information. A medical professional will be happy to provide further advice and information about child psychology services in your area.


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