Handbook of Conceptualization and Treatment of Child Psychopathology

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Always be professional and courteous with their time. I specialize in young children e. More specifically, I am passionate about working with young children and families that have experienced various traumas e. I especially love working with underprivileged families, as they often do not have services readily available to them. In addition, I work with parents to assist them with parenting their infant or child and helping children learn to manage their own difficulties e.

Given that I am still a student, I work at a couple places part time rather than having a full time job at one location. I spend a majority of my time at UCF in our outpatient clinic. This is something all students in our program do and we see various types of clients for both assessment and therapy. I am mainly staffed on the Autism project, which aims to evaluate young children suspected of developmental delays. The clinical psychology program at UCF initiated both of these positions for me.

The great thing about child clinical psychology is that there are so many career options. For those who are interested in teaching and doing research, academia is a perfect fit.

The Medical Model

For those who enjoy clinical work, you can always go into private practice or work for a hospital if they have a behavioral health department. Most students gain exposure to some of these job options in graduate school and can start fostering relationships with professionals. These relationships can definitely come in handy when it comes time for applying to jobs. I would say that it was a personal hurdle for me to be away from my family and close friends for many years; balancing that was difficult at times.

In addition, I would add that trying to keep up with the changes in the field is an ongoing hurdle. Halfway through my training, a new version of the manual came out the DSM-5 and we were all required to learn the modifications and new diagnoses. The same goes for psychological assessment tools, such as IQ and achievement tests. Those are updated every few years and it is our responsibility to keep up with those changes.

But I would say the hardest hurdle is that there is often delayed gratification. Sometimes I feel like I'm not making progress or moving forward because there isn't always an immediate reinforcement. Because I am a student, every day looks a little different. Most days, I am working in the outpatient clinic at UCF seeing a few daily clients. Usually I spend some time prepping for each session e.

Following each session I write a progress note, which delineates exactly what took place during the appointment. I also spend a good amount of time receiving supervision from my major professor so that we can talk about cases and future treatment plans. A lot of psychologists spend time consulting with colleagues on cases because many are not black and white, and there are many ethical and legal standards to consider. In between sessions, I am usually working on my research.

We have a number of ongoing projects in our lab, so sometimes I am running research protocols with participants and sometimes I am analyzing statistical data and writing up manuscripts for publication.

Child Anxiety Tales - Generalized Anxiety Disorder

My particular lab also volunteers a lot of time in the community at various organizations, such as a residential facility for substance-abusing women and their children and a school for low-income children. We typically spend 1 to 3 hours per week at these agencies providing direct services to children and families. First off, my day is never predictable which I love! Kids definitely keep me on my toes and I enjoy my time with each of them, even when they are being difficult. I laugh often with the adorable comments made in session and I am reminded every day of how smart kids can be.

I also love when a client or family has a successful outcome and makes improvements towards better functioning. I think it goes without saying that most psychologists love this part of their work! One thing I really love is that it allows me to grow as a person every day. It is a constant reminder of what really matters in life. Perhaps the most beautiful part of my job is what an honor it is to serve these families. Whether they are ready for change or just processing the possibility of change, they chose me to be with them every step of the way. That is never to be taken for granted and I am so thankful for each and every person I have had the opportunity to work with.

To be a good child psychologist, you not only have to be patient with the people you work with but with the process itself. It is also important to be very conscientious, non-judgmental, and curious. You never know what kinds of difficulties a person will present, so it's incredibly important to keep an open mind and stay empathetic.

Description

I would also say it helps to be a resilient person. This trait is not only critical to get through graduate school, but also to be able to handle the stressors of the job. Not really, but there are definitely difficult days. For example, not every client walks through the door ready and able to make the necessary changes for themselves and their children. Every once in a while you also have to do something you know your clients will be upset by.

For instance, having to report child abuse or neglect or admitting a suicidal patient to a hospital. Nonetheless, knowing I made the right choice for their safety and consulting with my colleagues can help me to cope with these moments. Everyone has to find their own way to deal with these aspects of the job. I sometimes wish I could keep in touch with my clients. Ethically, a therapist is not allowed to contact clients just to check in once they have completed treatment. You need to give the client room to grow on their own and you can disturb that by reaching out. Every once in a while, I reflect on past clients and wonder how they are doing or what the child has grown to be like.

I just have to remind myself that if they are not in my office, then they are likely doing okay. Because of confidentiality, I am not able to give the specifics about any one particular case without consent. I am able to speak, however, to the kinds of cases you might come across in the field. For me, I work with many individuals who have experienced things like childhood maltreatment e. Usually this kind of work involves working with families to break the intergenerational cycle of these types of traumas by talking about all of the details and brainstorming plans for safety.

Because these families have experienced so many difficult situations and may not trust the process, it can be difficult to build rapport and get them on board with the treatment goals. Nonetheless, there are so many different disorders and despite having a specialty, you will likely see a variety of disorders and clinical presentations. For example, a child may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and have a very specific hand washing ritual compulsion to assist them with their fear of germs and getting sick obsession.

One experience that stands out to me actually was not a client but someone I met in the community. This mother exhibited Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which basically means she exaggerated or fabricated medical symptoms in her young child, despite the child being relatively healthy. Although this is not a clear-cut "childhood disorder" it is a good example of why we often need to work with parents in treatment.

Despite the disorder or client presenting, I think each case is unique and challenging in its own way, which is why it is so important to keep up with the research. In doing this, psychologists can provide the best care possible. I first joined in undergrad mainly because I was told to. I soon learned that a membership to APA allows you to stay up on all the new and exciting research happening in the field. APA sends a magazine monthly that highlights research. APA also holds a convention each year where universities can go and present all the awesome work they are doing.

A lot of these organizations also post job announcements on their websites, email listservs, and magazines. I also have memberships to various other organizations e. Once you find your area of interest, there are tons of organizations you can get involved with! This is a really difficult question to answer because there are so many amazing researchers out there doing really great work.

In my opinion, I like that the field is moving towards trauma-informed care, which focuses on delivering services to people who have experienced violence or trauma and are looking for support in their recovery. According to the U. That said, many people present for services because of underlying symptoms of trauma so it is very important for providers to be knowledgeable about how to treat it.

Specifically, there is a lot of interesting research on Child-Parent Psychotherapy, which is an intervention for children birth to 5-years of age and their caregivers who have experienced a traumatic event and are struggling with subsequent symptoms.

Adlerian Psychology / Psychotherapy

You can refer to the work of Dr. Alicia Lieberman and Dr. Patricia Van Horn for more information. Furthermore, the Infant Team at Tulane University is doing a lot of interesting research about infant-parent relationships and understanding attachment disorders. The director of this team is Dr.

Charles Zeanah and they have some really cool studies looking at infant development. The Yale Child Study Center is also doing some really interesting work looking at mothers in substance-use treatment facilities and their infants. In one study, Suchman and colleagues found that following an attachment-based intervention, mothers were better able to acknowledge personal emotions as well as the emotions and behaviors of their children.

Of course, I also think the work my research lab is conducting is interesting! We hope the information we obtain from these studies will be helpful for identifying at-risk families and intervening early to prevent further problems. In my opinion, "Heeling Neen," was an incredible documentary and really influenced how I approach working with clients who have experienced multiple traumas. It covers the emergence of a woman from drug addiction, multiple incarcerations, and two decades of homelessness and how she worked to become an advocate and educator on the devastating impact of childhood abuse.

She also has a book called, "Healing Neen" if you would prefer to read the story. Another really great documentary is, "The Dark Matter of Love," which covers a few children who grew up in Russian orphanages and were adopted into an American family.


  1. Coal Creek.
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  4. Conceptualization of Developmental Psychopathology | SpringerLink?
  5. Conceptualization of Developmental Psychopathology.
  6. Psychopathology.

Zeanah Jr. Start now! Find a professor at a university or someone in the community that does what you want to and reach out to them for guidance.

Bryce D. McLeod, Julia R. Cox, Ruben G. Martinez, and Lillian M. Christon

Get as many experiences as you can so that you can find your niche and become an expert in it. That said, don't get wedded to the first experience that you like. I have met many people who changed their area of study halfway through their graduate training and couldn't be happier. Sometimes you may think that certain disorder or specific type of client is not for you until you get experience with it.

In general, keep an open mind. You should definitely ask yourself why you are interested in the field. If your answer is just to get a doctoral degree, then you might want to rethink your decision. This career is extremely rewarding but also has its tough times. Also be sure you are someone who can handle working with people on some really difficult situations. Another consideration is that it is really tough to get into a doctorate program.

You may have to move across the country to pursue the degree and then move again to complete your internship. My final note is to think about your life trajectory e. Graduate school is really time consuming and can be stressful at times, so it can sometimes get in the way with other life plans.

Just make sure you are being true to yourself and what you want to get out of life.

Treatment of Attachment-Based "Parental Alienation"

There are many days I leave work laughing. Unfortunately, I am unable to talk about most of my funny stories, either because they breach confidentiality or because they came from teenagers and are way too inappropriate for this forum. One thing is certain: there is never a dull moment. One story that sticks out in my mind actually happened to a colleague. She was testing a young boy with behavioral problems and administered a test that used pennies as a testing material.


  1. Handbook of Conceptualization and Treatment of Child Psychopathology;
  2. Assessment and Case Conceptualization - Oxford Handbooks.
  3. Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown.
  4. Deeper Than Midnight (The Midnight Breed, Book 9);
  5. Psychopathology - Wikipedia;
  6. Services on Demand!

When she turned her head down to write on her paper, the pennies "went missing. Watching this happen on camera was hilarious and a good lesson that you always have to be one step ahead! This is a really exciting time to be in the field of child clinical psychology. There are many changes happening and there is so much room for growth. Although it is a long process and I had to make many sacrifices, it was worth every minute!

If you think you might be interested in the field, start now.



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