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What does a Child Psychiatrist do? (And how do I find one near me?)

Updated: May 1

Anxiety treatment and symptoms mental health psychiatry


Often, the recommendation for a child psychiatrist can be met with an array of feelings: frustration, anger, confusion, sadness, anxiety. What does this mean? Is there something wrong with my child? Was there something I did wrong as a parent? Most of all, what IS a child psychiatrist?

In the realm of mental health, the role of child psychiatrists is crucial in understanding and addressing the unique psychological needs of children and adolescents. While the term "psychiatrist" might bring up images of talk therapy on a couch, or heavy doses of medications, the truth is that child psychiatrist involves a much more complex process. A child psychiatrist is a specialist who analyzes the developmental and psychological needs of children & adolescents in order to assess and treat young minds.

Child psychiatrists are medical doctors who have undergone extensive training in both general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. This rigorous education equips them with a deep understanding of the complex interplay between biological, psychological, societal and environmental factors that shape a child's mental health. Often, this training may occur over 6-7 years, and involves experience in a number of settings including inpatient, outpatient, emergency room, and consultation settings.

One of the primary responsibilities of child psychiatrists is to assess and diagnose mental health conditions in children and adolescents. This involves conducting thorough evaluations, which may include interviews with the child, parents or guardians, and other relevant individuals such as teachers or counselors. Through these assessments, child psychiatrists aim to identify any underlying issues contributing to the child's emotional or behavioral struggles.

Once a diagnosis has been made, child psychiatrists work collaboratively with the child and their family to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. This plan may involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication management, and other interventions tailored to the specific needs of the child. Occasionally, these interventions may include holistic or natural treatments as well. Child psychiatrists take into account factors such as the child's developmental stage, family dynamics, and cultural background when formulating treatment recommendations.

Child psychiatrists may occasionally provide psychotherapy or "talk therapy" to children and adolescents. This may involve various approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), play therapy, or family therapy, depending on the child's age, diagnosis, and individual preferences. Through therapy, child psychiatrists help children develop coping skills, process difficult emotions, and improve their overall well-being.

In cases where medication is deemed necessary, child psychiatrists have the expertise to prescribe and monitor psychotropic medications safely and effectively. They carefully consider factors such as medication efficacy, potential side effects, and the child's unique biology to ensure optimal treatment outcomes. Additionally, child psychiatrists educate families about the benefits and risks of medication and provide ongoing support and monitoring to ensure the child's safety and well-being.

Child psychiatrists often collaborate with other mental health professionals, educators, pediatricians, and community resources to provide comprehensive care for their patients. They advocate for the needs of children and adolescents within various systems, such as schools or healthcare settings, to ensure they receive the support and services they require to thrive.

Child psychiatrists play a vital role in promoting the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. Through their expertise in assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and advocacy, they provide invaluable support to young individuals and their families navigating the complexities of mental illness. By addressing mental health concerns early and effectively, child psychiatrists help empower children to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Seeking out child and adolescent psychiatrists depend on your location, and the availability of providers. Often there are web resources, online directories, and the recommendations of trusted providers such as therapists or school systems.

At Palm Tree Psychiatry, Dr. Tzvi Furer is an experienced child and adolescent psychiatrist who is well-equipped for treatment of your child. If you are interested in a consultation, please visit our website at

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