If you think back to your own childhood, the likelihood is that it was not all plain sailing.
Thankfully for the vast majority of us the stresses, strains, concerns and confusions of childhood were all part and parcel of growing up and learning to understand life.
While this may be the case, everyone is aware that certain children in today’s world have issues that are far deeper and are in desperate need of help.
This is where a Child Psychologist can make the world of difference.
Help, advice and encouragement:
The role of a Child Psychologist involves many strands. In some extreme instances, they can be a child’s last resort.
This is why their help, advice and encouragement offered to each and every child they deal with is so important and ultimately so rewarding.
Could you fit this vital role?
Let’s start by saying that this role is certainly not for everyone. It is a position that will take you through a roller-coaster of emotions, yet demand that you must remain focused, positive and determined.
To qualify for such a position, it is very likely that you will already have substantial experience of working in some capacity with children and adolescents. Examples here could be in social care, health or an educational setting.
What does the role entail?
You will be responsible for offering psychoanalytical treatment to children and adolescents who are suffering from emotional or behavioural difficulties.
The issues these children will have include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Development delay
- Child abuse and its consequences
- Learning difficulties and disabilities
- Eating disorders
- Psychosomatic disorders
- Gender dysphoria
Every child is a unique individual
While you are very likely to deal with children that have the same types of problems and issues, it is vitally important that you treat every child as a unique individual.
As we are all aware, everyone is different and children will have their own individual traits that need identifying.
This means among many other attributes a competent child psychologist will need empathy, sympathy, trustworthiness, enthusiasm, good communication, objectiveness and specialised knowledge relating to child issues and treatment.
A multi-disciplinary approach is a must
You will need to adopt multi-disciplinary approaches. This will allow you to work within the context of each child’s life.
The point here is that your relationship with the child concerned will be central to any treatment that is put in place.
It is possible that you will see children individually, in groups with other children, with parents, other family members or carers.
It is also the case that you will see parents, carers or others without the child being present. In the latter instance this is where objectivity is an important asset.
Individual responsibilities but good at team working
As a child psychologist you will have individual responsibilities to each young person you treat.
Decisions will need to be made relating to the care and treatment of the individual concerned. To achieve this successfully will mean that strong team working skills are required.
You will work within a team that includes other professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, special educational needs coordinators, family therapists and community psychiatric nurses.
In terms of welfare you will also come into regular contact with a child’s family, schools, hospitals, police, children’s services and agencies responsible for child protection.
Demanding, challenging but ultimately highly rewarding
Children at risk or those who are suffering serious issues are highly vulnerable. There are countless who need help.
By choosing to become a child psychologist you will be entering a demanding, tough and challenging arena, but one where your skills can do the power of good.