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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

What is a child and adolescent psychiatrist?  

 A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems in infants, children and young people. In addition to the primary medical degree and mandated experiences in general medicine, child and adolescent psychiatrists have undertaken a minimum of five years of specialty training prescribed by the RANZCP. Child and adolescent psychiatrists undertake specific training leading to the advanced certificate in child and adolescent psychiatry. 
Child and adolescent psychiatrists are engaged in promoting emotional wellbeing and the prevention, early intervention and treatment of all types of mental illness, emotional disturbance and abnormal behaviour across a continuum of patients with mild episodic disorders to those with chronic and enduring disorders.

Child and adolescent psychiatrists recognise the importance of trusting, positive and empathic relationships when engaging with young people, their families, and other care givers, and acknowledge the challenges associated with personal and family functioning. Infant, child and adolescent mental health problems often have complex biological, psychological, and systemic origins. Training in the use of behavioural, cognitive, systemic, psychodynamic and cultural frameworks and psychopharmacology is invaluable for accurate diagnosis, formulation, treatment planning and delivery.

The role and responsibilities of the child and adolescent psychiatrist

The primary role of a child and adolescent psychiatrist is to use their skills and medical expertise to achieve the highest quality of care for young people experiencing mental health problems in partnership with their families or carers. To do this child and adolescent psychiatrists:

(excerpt from RANZCP Professional Practice Guidelines)

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