Child psychological services can be diverse, but usually have, as a goal, serving children in some important way. Many people are quick to assume that child psychological services means offering therapy to children and possibly their families. This is the only way in which such professionals may impact the lives of children, and there are many reasons for which a parent/guardian or other caretakers might seek out the services of a psychologist.
It is true that child psychological services definitely include counseling. Some psychologists have trained and specialized in this area, though in many countries the name “child psychologist” may be claimed by anyone with a PhD, Psy.D or Ed.D. The best way to determine the experience of these specialists is to ask. This can help people choose the most experienced counselors for their kids.
While counseling can be a valuable task, another of the child psychological services, is testing, especially for certain forms of mental illness or behavioral issues. An area of psychology that is continually improving is psychometrics, which can evaluate strengths and weaknesses in cognition. After gathering information through tests, a child psychologist may be able to make diagnosis that fits in with testing results. Some child psychological services specialize in this, and a few advanced specialists are called neuropsychologists. They may be the only people qualified to make certain types of diagnoses, and their services could be required to determine specific forms of learning disabilities.
Psychological services for children might occur at the school level too. In fact, many times, schools hire psychologists to perform testing and diagnosis of learning disabilities. They also may hire psychologists who are primarily counselors and who work with kids that are in need of mental health counseling due to a variety of factors. Those who perform tests and those who counsel aren’t always the same people, since these can be two different specialties, but sometimes one psychologist serves a whole school in both a diagnostic and counseling capacity.
Other state agencies frequently have child psychological services. Departments of social work and especially child protective agencies could utilize psychologists to interview and/or counsel children that have been referred to the agency. Forensic departments might require the skills of child psychologists too, especially when it comes to investigating allegations of abuse against a child, or if a child is a primary witness to a crime. Understanding how to talk to children, especially traumatized children, is greatly needed when assessing, helping, or making recommendations regarding children in the public system.
An additional area in which people might want some form of child psychological services is if they are establishing any form of business that will serve or need to appeal to children. Someone planning to start a day care program might consult with a child psychologist for advice on best learning materials, most appropriate décor, or details of building or program structure that will hopefully serve children best. Consultancy is not the only possible service though. People who teach in this profession are indirectly offering a service to anyone who might use a child psychologist because they are training new people to enter the field and serve children in a variety of ways.