Child psychology is one of the most crucial specializations of psychology subject. The demand for child psychologists has increased because of various reasons. Nucleated families, child growing up on his own with his parents working, television, internet and video games replacing the tradition forms of sports and recreation and negative influence of his surroundings etc are the main reason behind increasing cases of psychological problems in children. Additionally, many children also have to go through effects of dysfunctional family, and unhealthy dietary habits. All these issues have made the job of a child psychologist very important in our society. A child psychologist is a trained professional who deals with emotional, mental or behavioral problems experienced by a child. He evaluates the problems, assesses and diagnoses the prevalent conditions and suggests remedial measures. Usually, these professionals deal with a child on one-on-one basis. This is a very responsible job that demands extensive research and mental strength. Child psychologists also educate social workers and parents.
Child psychologists are responsible for promoting well being and healthy development of the children. They are trained in diagnosing and treating mental disorders affecting children. He studies the mind and behavior of children from infancy to adolescence. A child psychologist deals with mental issues caused by separation anxiety, physical abuse, mental illness, psychological abuse, drugs and alcohol abuse, divorce, death and peer pressure etc. Apart from these, many children are affected with problems related to learning disabilities and developmental delays. These trained professionals carefully create and implement age-appropriate treatment plans. Psychological treatment is more of an ongoing process. He uses therapy sessions and different other forms like drawings, art, music, sports and play etc during the treatment process. He also has to explain the issues to the parents of the affected child and how they should behave in the given situation.
Child psychologists must have a master’s degree however; a doctoral degree in child psychology is preferred by the employers. Child psychology is a specialized subject under the umbrella branch of clinical psychology. One must receive intensive training to be eligible to work with child and his parents. Most of the child psychologists complete their core coursework and research along with 1 to 2 year internships and a postdoctoral fellowship in child psychology. A child psychologist must obtain the license before they can practice independently. The licensing requirements include a doctorate degree in child psychology from an accredited institution, at least 1 to 2 years of experience, an approved internship, and passing a state examination.
Because of increasing demand for psychological services for children in many parts of the world, the employment opportunities for a qualified and experienced child psychologist are very high.
Talking about child psychology courses in India, many colleges and universities offer psychology as a subject right from Plus Two levels. One can study this subject as an Honors subject at graduation level and later on at the master’s and doctoral level. Those with specialization in child psychology can seek employment in schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, nursing homes, developmental agencies, rehabilitation centers, child/ youth guidance centers and NGOs.
Some of the Indian institutes offering courses in psychology are:-
University of Delhi,
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
University of Calcutta, Kolkota
Sardar Patel University, Gujarat
Gurunanak Dev University, Amritsar
Kuruskhetra University, Haryana
Courses offered are Bachelor, Master, M.phil., Ph.D. and other applied courses in different streams of psychology including child psychology.