It can be confusing for parents to decide whether or not to get professional help for their child or teenager, and when this should occur. Often times if a problem is left to go on untreated it can worsen. For more serious concerns and for behaviours that have persisted for more than a few weeks, It is worthwhile consulting a mental health professional, such as a psychologist.
How does a Psychologist differ from a Psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have additional training in psychiatry on top of their medical degree. Psychologists are not medical practitioners and are described as allied health professionals, along with other helping professionals. A psychologist will provide therapeutic counselling, assessment or treatment.
There are a range of different treating practitioners and the treatment method will depend on the professional's training background and expertise. If you are thinking about seeing a professional, enquire about their approach and methods in treating children and young people. Effective therapy with children will involve the parent. The therapist will want to meet with you and discuss the concerns, and collect a thorough history of your child's development and behaviour. For assessments relating to learning and developmental disabilities, this process will be much more detailed and involve thorough assessment of the child using assessment tools and observation.