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Where can young people under 18 and their parents go if they have concerns with mental health or parenting? Here we explain what child and adolescent psychiatry is and how it can help.

What is child and adolescent psychiatry?

Child and adolescent psychiatry is a specialization within the public healthcare system that offers psychological and psychiatric care and treatment to children and adolescents up to 18 years of age.

Child and adolescent psychiatry works with a range of mental health problems and disorders. This includes anxiety, depression, eating disorders, behavioural concerns, ADHD, and autism. These clinics provide services such as assessment, diagnosis, individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy and, if necessary, medical treatment. The aim of this service is to support children and adolescents in their mental health, promote their development and well-being, and provide support to families.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

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What can child and adolescent psychiatry help with?

Children and adolescents up to 18 years old can get help with a range of mental health concerns and disorders. They offer assessment, support and treatment through individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy and in some cases medication. These clinics tailor treatments to the specific needs of the child or adolescent. The team consists of psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together to provide comprehensive care.


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Do psychologists have a duty of confidentiality?

Yes, psychologists have a duty of confidentiality. This means that they must keep the information they receive in their professional work confidential. They may not disclose this information to third parties without the consent of the client or patient, except in certain exceptional cases regulated by law. These exceptions may include situations where there is a risk of serious harm to the client or others, or where the psychologist is legally obliged to report certain information, such as in cases of suspected child abuse. Confidentiality is fundamental to maintaining trust between psychologist and client. It is a central part of the professional ethics of psychology.


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Treatment in child and adolescent psychiatry

Seeking help from a child psychologist is an important step when a child is experiencing mental health difficulties. A first step in getting help can be to call or contact the clinic with a self-referral. You can also get a referral through your family doctor. Treatment usually begins with an assessment. The child or young person’s needs are carefully mapped through interviews, observations and sometimes psychological tests. An individual treatment plan is created based on this. This may include various interventions such as individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and possibly medical treatment.

Talk therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are common. The aim is to provide the child or adolescent and their families with tools and strategies to deal with specific psychological challenges. The clinic focuses on creating a safe environment where the child or adolescent can feel understood and supported through their treatment process. Collaboration between therapists, parents, schools and other relevant stakeholders is often an important part of treatment. This ensures a holistic approach to the child or adolescent’s situation.


12 common questions about child and adolescent psychiatry

What is child and adolescent psychiatry?

Child and adolescent psychiatry is a specialization within the public healthcare system that offers psychological and psychiatric care and treatment to children and adolescents up to 18 years of age.

What can you get help with at child and adolescent psychiatry?

They work with a range of mental health problems and disorders, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, behavioural concerns, ADHD and autism. Clinics provide services such as assessment, diagnosis, individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy and, if necessary, medical treatment.

Do you get to meet different professionals?

These clinics usually include a team of psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together to provide comprehensive support.

What is a child psychologist?

A child psychologist is a licensed professional with knowledge and experience in working for the well-being and mental health of children and parents.

What does a child psychologist do?

They offer one one-on-one therapy and counselling, but also work with families and parents when needed. They also collaborate with schools to create healthy environments for children.

Does a psychologist have a duty of confidentiality?

Psychologists are bound by confidentiality, which means that they are not allowed to disclose information about their clients to third parties without consent, except in specific exceptional cases provided for by law, such as risk of serious harm or suspected child abuse.

Can I see a child psychologist privately?

It is also possible to see a child psychologist privately. At Lavendla we have several psychologists who have extensive experience working with children and young people. For more severe concerns, it is good to seek help from a child and adolescent psychiatrist, which can be accessed by referral from your family doctor.

What are the signs that a child is not well?

There are several signs that a child is not doing well, including engaging in risky behaviours, difficulties engaging with peers, changes in sleep or eating patterns, and feelings of persistent worry.

I am having difficulties in my parenting, how can I get help?

Child psychologists also work with parents to provide support. If you are having difficulties, you can seek professional help to get more support.

What does treatment through child and adolescent psychiatry involve?

Treatment in child and adolescent psychiatry usually begins with an assessment phase in which the child’s or adolescent’s needs are carefully identified through interviews, observations and sometimes psychological tests. Based on the assessment, an individual treatment plan is drawn up which may include different interventions such as individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and in some cases medical treatment.

How long is treatment?

Treatment is tailored to the nature of the child’s or parent’s concerns. It can range from a few sessions to longer treatment over a couple of years.

Where can I go if I or my child needs help from a child psychologist?

Child psychologists are usually available through referral from a family doctor or local clinic. At Lavendla we have experienced child psychologists who can also help.

How can a treatment at a child and adolescent psychiatry clinic work?

Seeking medical help is an important step when a child is experiencing mental health difficulties or if you are having difficulties as a parent. Here is a brief overview of what treatment can look like:

1. Initial Assessment

An initial consultation involves the psychologist assessing needs through conversations with the child and parents.

2. Treatment plan

An individualized plan is developed based on the child’s specific situation and needs. Common approaches include play therapy for younger children, where play is used as a tool for expression and processing. Talk therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are also useful for older children. CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours. Other methods such as family therapy can also be helpful.

3. Parental counselling

Parents receive guidance and support to better help their child at home.

4. Monitoring and adjustment

The treatment plan is continuously evaluated and adjusted as needed to ensure the best possible outcome.

A first step in seeking help

It is important to remember that each child is unique, and therefore treatment may vary. Working together with a child psychologist can give you and your child the tools needed to manage emotions and behaviours in a healthy way. At Lavendla, we have child psychologists who can help make the difficult easier.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.