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Child & Adolescent Psychopathology & Treatment

This course presents the genetic, neurodevelopmental, biological, and systemic bases of psychopathology and abnormal behavior in children and adolescents as specifically defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2022) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition – Text Revision (DSM-5-TR). Students develop skills for conducting psychiatric interviews with parents/guardians and pediatric populations, appropriate use of psychodiagnostic tests and assessments, developing treatment plans, and providing developmentally appropriate, culturally aware, and systems-based psychotherapeutic interventions. The course will also examine the unique symptom presentations and treatment approaches for pediatric populations with mental illnesses as mediated by exposure to drugs/diseases while in utero, perinatal complications, early childhood disease/injuries, parent/caretaker and peer relationships, and trauma/chronic stress as it relates to normal versus abnormal neurodevelopment and psychological development. Additionally, this course will review the common primary medical etiologies of psychopathology and psychiatric comorbidities seen in pediatric populations, as well as contemporary theories and practices of clinical psychopharmacology in children and adolescents. This course will satisfy the Texas State Board of Professional Counselors' board rule §681.83 (c) (3). It is both ethically and clinically essential that students at Amberton University, who are pursuing a master’s degree in professional counseling, and who wish to obtain licensure as an LPC in the state of Texas, possess knowledge and skills in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of child and adolescent clients suffering from mental illnesses.



  • Understanding the importance of self-examination and critiquing self as an effective change agent in counseling relationships.
  • Comprehending and examining the developmental theories upon the manifestation and treatment of mental disorders in child and adolescent clients.
  • Understanding basic psychopharmacological intervention with regard to the treatment of mental disorders in child and adolescent clients.
  • Developing comprehensive skills with regard to effective collaboration and consultation with schools, parents, and caretakers of children and adolescents.
  • Demonstrating proficiency in utilizing the DSM-5-TR to apply accurate diagnostic labels to mental disorders.
  • Performing a differential diagnosis while integrating an advanced understanding for the bases of neurodevelopment in relation to psychopathology in early/middle childhood, pre-adolescence, and adolescence.
  • Comprehending and assessing for the most commonly encountered medical etiologies vs. primary psychiatric illness, as well as the commonly encountered general medical, psychiatric and neurological comorbidities of mental illness in children and teen.
  • Conceptualizing child and adolescent psychopathology using both DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria and counseling theory(ies) to formulate evidenced-bases treatment plans utilizing both individual counseling interventions and systemic approach.
  • Understanding the ethical, legal, and clinical application of various psychological assessment instruments available for psychodiagnostics, educational diagnostics, and measurement of treatment progress and outcomes.
  • Understanding ethical, legal, and cultural factors related to psychiatric use of evidenced-based therapeutic interventions, prognostics, treatment planning, and treatment outcomes.
  • Comprehending and examining the role of prenatal, perinatal, early childhood, and general neurodevelopment as it pertains to mental illness in children and adolescents.
  • Synthesizing and integrating the general physical psychosocial, educational, systemic, cultural, and neuropsychological factors associated with the clinical presentation and treatment of mental illness in children and adolescents.


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