Discuss the role of the mental health professional provider in the care of the abused, neglected, or traumatized child. Describe how to approach this patient and what local resources are available to you to meet the needs of caring for these children within the clinical setting.
The role of the mental health professional provider
Mental health professionals promote healthy human development and functioning through clinical work and/or teaching and research. Mental health professionals include several disciplines with varying professional orientations and length of education/training. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers engaged in therapeutic intervention with children and families provide clinical evaluations, psychotherapy, consultation to child protective service agencies, and expert testimony in court. Effective therapeutic interventions for physically abusive and neglecting parents have also been developed by mental health professionals. Examples include standardizing parenting education curricula for parents ordered by the court to attend classes as a condition of family reunification, expanding didactic parenting education to include adult-child group play sessions facilitated by staff to teach parents how to interact with and discipline children, and refining home-based services programs as intervention methods for physically abusive and neglecting parents.