Approved by Council, June 1998
To be reviewed
Psychotherapy is and must remain a core skill and central to the practice of child and adolescent psychiatry. The psychotherapies* remain essential treatment modalities for children's cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems. Additionally, psychotherapy knowledge and skills inform all psychiatric clinical activities, including diagnostic assessment, pharmacotherapy, and consultation to agencies, schools, and other physicians, as well as collaboration with and supervision of staff and trainees. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are trained to differentiate the presentation and treatment of other medical illnesses from psychiatric and developmental disorders, including psychological factors affecting somatic complaints, and to integrate psychotherapeutic with biological and social interventions. Child and adolescent psychiatrists, by the nature of their training, inextricably combine the skills, knowledge, and mind set of physician and psychotherapist.
Psychotherapy is not a skill that is learned and then either "used" or "not used." Psychotherapy concepts, including psychodynamic concepts, should be integral part of the thinking of the psychiatrist in all endeavors, including medication management. The ability to consistently incorporate psychodynamic principles and psychotherapeutic techniques in the physician-patient interaction is one of the skills that differentiates the child and adolescent psychiatrist from the pediatrician or other physician. Similarly, the ability to incorporate a knowledge of biology, physiology, pathology, and the various domains of medicine into these interactions differentiates child and adolescent psychiatrists from other mental health professionals.
* "The psychotherapies" refers broadly to the many established schools of psychotherapy, including but not limited to psychodynamic psychotherapies, psychoanalysis, behavioral and cognitive therapies, family therapies, and group therapies.