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Psychologist for children

25 February 2023

As parents, we all want our children to be happy and healthy. However, sometimes our children may struggle with issues that we cannot easily resolve on our own. That's where a psychologist can help. In this blog post, we'll discuss what a psychologist is, why your child might see a psychologist, how to get a referral, what to expect in an appointment, and more.

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of mental and behavioral health issues. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of psychological conditions that affect children's emotional, cognitive, and social functioning.

Why Might Your Child See a Psychologist?

Your child might see a psychologist for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Anxiety, stress or worry
  • Depression or mood disorders
  • Behavioral problems
  • Social skills and communication difficulties
  • Learning difficulties or disabilities
  • Trauma or grief
  • Family issues or conflict

If your child is experiencing any of these issues or if you have concerns about their behavior or emotional state, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a psychologist.

How to Get a Referral to a Psychologist

To see a psychologist, you will typically need a referral from a healthcare provider such as your child's pediatrician, family doctor, or school counselor. Some private psychologists may allow self-referral, but this can be costly.

What to Think About Before You See a Psychologist

Before seeing a psychologist, it is important to think about what you hope to achieve from the appointment. Consider what specific issues your child is struggling with and what goals you have for their treatment. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your child's medical history, behavior, and any medications they may be taking.

What to Expect in an Appointment

During the first appointment, the psychologist will typically conduct an assessment to evaluate your child's mental and behavioral health. They may ask your child to complete questionnaires or participate in activities to assess their emotional and cognitive functioning. The psychologist may also ask you and your child about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to gain a better understanding of their needs.

Based on the assessment, the psychologist will develop a treatment plan that may involve therapy, counseling, and/or medication. They may also work with your child's school, teachers, or other healthcare providers to ensure that your child receives comprehensive care.

What Tests a Psychologist Might Complete

Psychologists may use various assessment tools and tests to evaluate your child's mental and behavioral health. These may include:

  • Intelligence and cognitive assessments
  • Behavioral rating scales
  • Personality assessments
  • Aptitude tests
  • Diagnostic tests for specific disorders

What Does a Psychologist Diagnose?

Psychologists can diagnose a wide range of mental and behavioral health conditions that may affect children, including:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Learning disorders
  • Conduct disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Eating disorders

What Treatments and Therapies Might a Psychologist Recommend?

The treatment plan recommended by a psychologist will depend on your child's individual needs and the diagnosis they receive. Treatment may involve:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Play therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medication management

What Financial Support is Available in Australia to See a Psychologist?

In Australia, Medicare provides financial support for mental health services, including psychology services, through the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This initiative provides up to 20 sessions of therapy per year for individuals with a diagnosed mental health condition. Additionally, some private health insurance policies may provide coverage for psychology services.