What does a child psychologist do?

Psychology is a very broad science, and precisely because of this, those who work in it cannot afford to try to cover everything: to offer a quality service, you have to specialize.

Now… What are the functions of each of these branches of psychology? In many cases, the tasks of people engaged in one of them differ significantly from the daily work of other specialist psychologists. In this case, we will endeavor to explain what child psychologists do by putting their knowledge and experience at the service of people.

    What is child psychology?

    Child psychology is the study of the psychological processes of children and the intervention on them where there are problems, to improve the quality of life of minors and their carers and relatives. Although it may seem the opposite because of its name, in practice this branch of psychology also encompasses the experiences of adolescents, which is why this discipline is often called “Child and adolescent psychology”. .

    Thus, one could say that in general the psychology of the child researches and intervenes on the behavioral patterns of minors, on their way of managing their emotions and their thoughtsand also provides support to caregivers and families so that they can, from their home, generate an appropriate context in which the child can develop properly, taking into account their characteristics and needs.

    It is also important to know that although this definition is very broad, in practice most child psychologists focus their work on the clinical and/or health field whether it is performing therapy, support families with children with developmental disabilities, etc. However, it is relatively common for them to collaborate with schools and institutes, to be part of the perinatal psychology services of a health center, to be involved in the field of social work, etc.

    On the other hand, although the two disciplines partly overlap, we must not fall into the error of believing that child psychology and educational psychology are the same; on the one hand, the context of education goes far beyond the stage of childhood, and on the other hand, child psychologists work with situations and experiences that are not directly related to the way a child lives educational processes (formal or informal education). education) in which he is involved.

      What are the roles of the child psychologist?

      More specifically, the tasks that define the daily life of child psychologists are, in general, the following (although not all professionals should devote themselves to all of them).

      1. Help parents

      Some of the most common work of child psychologists involves inform and provide psychological help to parents who have doubts about the well-being of their child, or on the most effective and appropriate parenting methods. This type of task can be done either in private sessions by requesting time in the consultation, or through general training and awareness programs, such as courses, conferences and workshops.

      2. Establish child protection programs and protocols in schools

      This includes apply bullying prevention and management models, participate in communication tasks with parentsdetect signs of neurodevelopmental disorder or learning disabilities, ensure that schools meet standards of inclusion and psychosocial support for functional diversity, etc.

        3. Facilitate the diagnosis of childhood and adolescent disorders

        The training of child psychologists allows them early detection of signs and symptoms possible mental, developmental or neurological disorders that may affect the process of psychological growth of toddlers, thus leading to early diagnosis.

        4. Intervene in child and adolescent therapy

        Psychological disorders that affect children and adolescents have a number of characteristics that require the attention of psychologists specializing in these age groups.

          How to train to become a child psychologist?

          In order to develop professionally in the field of child psychology, it is necessary to study a master’s degree in this field after obtaining a university degree in psychology; in this way, students will be able to learn the theory and practice of this discipline, going beyond the basic training they have.

          Some courses focus on specific areas of child psychology (such as therapy applied to neurodevelopmental disorders in children) and/or related sciences (such as perinatal psychology or psychopedagogy in a school context), while others offer a comprehensive perspective that encompasses all the skills of the Child Psychologist. This is the case of the Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology at European Universitya 100% online option with live virtual classes, based on experiential learning and theoretical-practical content to know how to practice professionally.

          The program of this Master addresses relevant topics such as psychological intervention in emotional disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and behavioral disorders in children, the application of techniques of observation of child behavior and of the adolescent, the development of communication skills necessary to adapt to the needs of minors and their families, and more. On the other hand, it includes stages of external practices in two different but complementary domains: the clinical domain and the domain of psychosocial and functional diversity.

          This Master, aimed at graduates and graduates in psychology, has a duration of 12 months and 60 ECTS credits. Upon completion, students will obtain an official degree issued by the European University of Valencia.

          Bibliographic references

          • APA Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice with Children and Adolescents (2008). Dissemination of evidence-based practice for children and adolescents: a systems approach to improving care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
          • Lafuente, E., et al (2017). History of psychology. Madrid: UNED.
          • Lieberman, AF (1992). Infant-parent psychotherapy with toddlers. Development and Psychopathology, 4 (4): pp. 559 – 574.
          • Myers, DG (2005). Psychology. Mexico DF: Medica Panamericana.
          • West-Eberhard, Mary Jane (2003). Developmental plasticity and evolution. Oxford University Press.

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