It has been established that working with children requires specific assessment and interview techniques that differ from those employed with adults. It is true for multiple disciplines, including psychiatry (Smith & Handler, 2015), which is my specialty. At the same time, successful, accurate assessment is required for successfully establishing the diagnosis and treatment (King, 1997). Therefore, the customization of an approach to child assessment and interviewing is necessary.
As pointed out by Smith and Handler (2015), child assessment techniques in psychology and psychotherapy have been extensively researched, which produced multiple tools used in the field. Naturally, the type of a particular assessment depends on its aim; for instance, some of the well-established practices that can be applied to children include the Behavior Assessment System for Children or the Personality Inventory for Youths (Smith & Handler, 2015). The names of these methods imply that they were developed for children because of the specifics of the process of their assessment. Indeed, the specifics of mental illnesses, including the symptoms, differ for various ages (International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses [ISPMHN], 2010, p. 9). Moreover, developmental processes can manifest in behaviors and states that are regarded as psychiatric symptoms (King, 1997, p. 5S). Thus, developmentally informed approaches are required when working with children.
Apart from that, children are more vulnerable than adults, which also presupposes limitations (ISPMHN, 2010, p. 3). Consequently, children may be apprehensive when working with a specialist, and trust establishment may be more important and challenging in their case (King, 1997, pp. 5S-6S). At the same time, children do not always realize the need for assessment, and the impetus for it does not typically originate from them (King, 1997). Thus, there can be third-party interests involved, and children might need extra incentive to participate in assessment activities. Taking into account these facts, many specialists choose techniques that are based on playing, drawing, storytelling since they can be more engaging (Smith & Handler, 2015).
Finally, culturally savvy approaches are beneficial for accurate assessment. In fact, a child is assessed within a context: that of “the family, school, community, and culture” (King, 1997). It is also noteworthy that cultural awareness is required for one of the elements of the holistic, integrated approach: the work with parents and communities (ISPMHN, 2010, p. 7). This social context is of great importance to a child’s psychological well-being, which is why it is of interest to a psychiatrist (King, 1997).
I have never worked with children, and I do not believe that I will choose to work with them in the future. The fact that child psychiatry is different is the primary reason for my opinion. I tend to consider child psychiatry more complicated, and the specifics that are mentioned above can serve as examples to this idea. However, I still find this session interesting, and the lessons that I can learn from it include that of the need for the customization of one’s approach to practice and every particular case. The age of the patient is among the many factors that are crucial to take into account when searching for a method. Apart from that, the brief research for child assessment techniques shows that they are numerous, and each of them has an application with its advantages and disadvantages. This research implies that the study of the methods that can be used in one’s practice is bound to be continuous to ensure that more tools which can help one to achieve positive results are gathered and studied. Smith and Handler (2015) also mention that the integration of varied practices and approaches is common, which implies that practitioners tend to think that combinations of tools are likely to yield more positive results. This conclusion appears to be logical, and it indicates that the customization of techniques may be the key to better care.
International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses. (2010). White paper: The educational preparation of advanced practice nurses to address the mental health needs of children and adolescents. Web.
King, R. A. (1997). Practice parameters for the psychiatric assessment of children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36 (10), 4S-20S. Web.
Smith, S. & Handler, L. (2015). The clinical assessment of children and adolescents. New York, NY: Routledge.