The child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and the treatment as well as prevention of mental disorders in children, adolescents, and their families. The child and adolescent psychiatrist is specialised on difficulties of thinking, feeling and/or behaviour affecting children, adolescents and their families. He offers families the advantages of a medical education, the medical tradition of professional ethics and medical responsibility for providing comprehensive care.
The child and adolescent psychiatrist uses the knowledge of biological, psychological and social factors in working with patients. Initially, a comprehensive diagnostic examination is performed to evaluate the current problem with attention to its physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peer, and social components. The child and adolescent psychiatrist arrives at a diagnostic formulation which is shared with the patient and family, then designs a treatment plan which considers all the components and discusses these recommendations with the child or adolescent and family. An integrated approach may involve individual, group or family psychotherapy; medication; and/or consultation with other physicians or professionals from schools, juvenile courts, social agencies or other community organizations. In addition, the child psychiatrist is prepared and expected to act as an advocate for the best interests of children and adolescents and performs consultations in a variety of settings (schools, juvenile courts, social agencies).