Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Clinical child and adolescent psychology is a specialty in professional psychology that develops and applies scientific knowledge to the delivery of psychological services to infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents within their social context.

Specialized knowledge

Of particular importance to the specialty of clinical child and adolescent psychology is an understanding of the basic psychological needs of children and adolescents, and how the family and other social contexts influence the socio-emotional adjustment, developmental processes, mental and behavioral disorders and developmental psychopathology, behavioral adaptation, and health status of children and adolescents.

Problems addressed

The specialty of clinical child and adolescent psychology involves the study, assessment, and treatment of a wide range of interrelated biological, psychological, and social problems experienced by children and adolescents. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Treating psychological, cognitive, emotional, developmental, behavioral issues.
  • Biological vulnerabilities.
  • Behavioral, psychological, mental, emotional, developmental, and family problems.
  • Cognitive deficits.
  • Trauma and loss.
  • Health related problems.
  • Stress and coping related to developmental change.
  • Problems in social context.

Populations served

Clinical child and adolescent psychology involves research and service delivery for infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents displaying a variety of psychological, behavioral, developmental, academic, family, peer, and health-related difficulties in a variety of settings.

Skills and procedures utilized

Clinical child and adolescent psychology employs a wide range of procedures and skills addressing the population of infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents. Essential skills and procedures include:

  • Assessment (e.g., psychological, intellectual, cognitive, behavioral testing and evaluation).
  • Intervention (e.g., psychotherapy and behavior management).
  • Development of prevention programs (e.g., bullying, addictions, teen pregnancy, obesity).
  • Consultation with other professionals working with children.
  • Design and utilization of research.

Credit to: American Psychological Association


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