Child psychiatry, branch of medicine concerned with the study and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders of childhood. Child psychiatry has been recognized as a division of the field of psychiatry and neurology since the mid 1920s. By about the mid-1950s,
Because the child is living through active and critical phases of development, the approach to the diagnosis and treatment of children’s mental and emotional disturbances is necessarily different from that used with adults. Given the personality changes that occur as a child grows, the child psychiatrist must have extensive knowledge of the developmental stages of personality.
Although many of the general principles relating to the therapy of adult psychological disorders apply to child psychiatry, a major distinction is that the child psychiatrist must obtain much of the critical information about the child’s behaviour from the adults who have been in frequent or close contact with the child—parents, pediatricians, psychologists, teachers, or social workers.