A child psychologist is a person with a doctorate degree in psychology, who has a special interest in working with children. Typically, there are not specific degrees for the child psychologist. A student may choose in a doctoral program to make working with children, or doing research regarding children and child development her focus. In addition to studying other aspects of psychology the child psychologist usually takes specific interest in subjects regarding children and family, and may do her doctoral research or thesis on a matter that concerns these subjects.
Once a child psychologist has completed her doctorate degree, she must complete additional supervised hours of training prior to being licensed by the state to practice. The process can take several years, depending upon state or country requirements. It should be noted that any psychologist can work with children, and that there is no clear distinction between a psychologist and a child psychologist. When people claim to be a child psychologist, they merely are expressing their interest in working with children, and their possible experience and training that focused on counseling or aiding children.
A child psychologist can do any number of things. She may work as a therapist, with the bulk of her work centered on counseling children. She might be part of a research team that evaluates child learning disabilities and comes up with new psychometrics (testing) for the evaluation of child development. She could work as an adviser to a school district and help in formulating special education programs. Alternately, a child psychologist could combine different areas of work, like counseling and research, or research and student evaluation.
Some child psychologists are gifted social workers, or therapists who may work for the government to counsel children and families that need therapy. They may help ease the transition of a family that has been apart for a while or help teach parents who have been questionably abusive in the past to learn how to be better parents. A child psychologist might also be employed by the state or the courts to evaluate children who have been victims of crimes, or who have committed crimes, and they may give testimony as to the psychological impact or reason behind certain behaviors.
You’ll find many a child psychologist exercising his/her talents as a writer after spending many years in therapy or working as a school counselor. A well-written keen observation of a certain aspect of child development, or of a specific mental disorder and how it affects children can be a fantastic guide for parents and others in the medical/therapy field. The occasional child psychologist may also write books specifically designed for children to help get them through difficult periods in their lives, or to help kids understand a specific condition.
In the therapeutic setting, the child psychologist direxts therapy approaches toward the child. This can mean, especially for younger children, that therapy can occur through play, art, music, or a variety of other tactics. Young children lack the ability to analyze their problems in the same way that adults do, so specific therapy techniques may be employed (used) that will help the child psychologist best address the communicative abilities of the child. As children age, a child psychologist may employ a number of methods, perhaps talk therapy, and/or adult “play” therapy to help kids work through their problems.
A child psychologist does not prescribe medication. This is the province of psychiatrists who have a medical degree. A child psychologist may help a child cope with medications they are taking, and help parents deal with addictions to medications. Yet, as licensed, they cannot prescribe meds. If a child requires medication, the child psychologist works in concert with a medical doctor, pediatrician or psychiatrist to add his/her observations to how the child is responding to meds.