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Clinical guide to psychiatric assessment of infants and young children

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  • This book provides a clinical guide to the psychiatric assessment of infants and young children, birth through five years, and their families. It offers a comprehensive, data-rich framework for conducting mental health assessments of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The book includes a step-by-step guide for evaluation and assessment, reviewing relevant literature and best practices for working with very young children. It begins with an overview of the purpose and principles of psychiatric assessment and offers a protocol for planning and executing a thorough evaluation. Chapters examine critical aspects of the assessment process, including children's relationships with parents/caregivers, assessment of parents, cultural considerations, and play behaviors. Chapters also provide illustrative case vignettes and information on specialized tools that can be adapted for use in a private office or training clinic. Topics featured in this book include: Play-based assessment models for accessing the inner world of young children. The effect of caregivers and their reflective functioning on the mental health of young children. The use of adult-report rating scales in the clinical assessment of young children. Psychopharmacologic considerations in early childhood. The Clinical Guide to Psychiatric Assessment of Infants and Young Children is a must-have resource for researchers, clinicians, and related professionals, and graduate students in infancy and early childhood development, pediatrics, social work, psychiatry, and public health. "The volume is both highly practical and up to date, impressively bridging the gap between science and practice. The book is an invaluable guide for students and trainees and an important reference for seasoned clinicians." David Oppenheim, Ph.D., University of Haifa "The book integrates relational, developmental and social-emotional health dimensions within each chapter, reviewing subjective and objective measures in a range of domains. The book is clear and user-friendly. I wholeheartedly recommend it!" Daniel S. Schechter, M.D., New York University School of Medicine "This important new volume provides multiple perspectives on the entire range of assessment methods and procedures used in early childhood mental health. This is a vital read for students and practitioners." Charles H. Zeanah, M.D., Tulane University.


  • Includes index.
  • "Proper" Goodbyes and Reflections on the Interview Process


  • Intro; Foreword; Preface; Acknowledgments; Contents; Contributors; About the Editors; Chapter 1: Introduction Assessment in Early Childhood; Introduction; Defining Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health; Important Influences in Infant Mental Health; Sigmund Freud; Anna Freud; Jean Piaget; Donald Winnicott; Erick Erickson; John Bowlby; Selma Fraiberg; Contemporary Theorists and Contributors; Development and Infant Mental Health; Ecological Theory and Transactional Relationships; Risk and Protective Factors; Development and Early Childhood Assessment; Language and Communication
  • Motor DevelopmentSocial-Emotional Development; Contextual Factors Impacting Early Childhood Assessment; Child Temperament and Personality; Dyadic Considerations: The Early Caregiving Relationship; Environment and Culture; Goals of Early Childhood Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning; Infant and Early Childhood Assessment: Strategies and Tools; Screening; Standardized Assessment Tools; Nonstandardized Assessment Tools; Overview of Chapters; Challenges and Rewards of Assessing Very, Young Children; Conclusions; References
  • Chapter 2: The Art and Science of Obtaining a History in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health AssessmentBackground; The Narrative Process; The Caregiver/Family Interview and Taking a History; Artificial Distinction Between Taking a History, Conducting Assessment, and Treatment; Consideration on Trauma in the History-Taking; Setting Up the Interview and History-Taking Process; First Contact: Introductions and Engagement; Setting the Therapeutic Frame; Reason for Referral; Presenting Problem; Family/Caregiver History; Family's Sociocultural and Historical Context
  • Relational History of Family MembersThe Interview Setting; The "How" of the Interview Process: Guiding Principles; The Practitioner's Stance and Interpersonal Processes: The Power of Affect and Relationships and the "How" of History-Taking; Validating Experiences and Meaning-Making; Parenting as a Relationship Not a Skill; The "What" of the Interview Process: Domains to Be Addressed; Pregnancy, Birth, and Infant/Child Information; Current Members of the Household and Other Significant Family Supports; History of Significant Caregivers, Moves, Changes, Separations, Losses, Traumas, etc
  • Educational, Skill and Employment HistoryAccess to Services; Involvement of Collateral Agencies, Including Child Care and Education/Special Education; Current Health/Dental/Mental Health Care and if One, a "Medical Home"; Legal Involvement and Concerns; Immigration Status/Concerns About Documentation and Fears of Deportation; Concrete Needs: Safety, Housing, Food, Clothing, and Financial Concerns; Protective and Risk Factors; Family, Cultural, and Religious Values and Beliefs; Exploring the Parent's "Internal" Representation of the Infant/Child
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