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Wider recognition for the role of child psychotherapists in Australia

September 30, 2008

While some parents may balk at the idea of consulting a psychotherpaist for their toddlers, the role of psychotherapautic interventions for young children is getting government-level consideration in Australia.

Toddlers’ mental health may need check-up – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

… some of Australia’s leading experts in child mental health say the mental well-being of toddlers and young children is not getting enough attention.

They would like to see greater intervention in the early stages of a child’s life to prevent problems emerging later.

The head of the Mater Child Mental Health Service in Brisbane, Brett McDermott, says early mental development can shape the way someone behaves for life.

“We know that the origins of attention deficit disorder has its onset in the first seven years of life,” he said.

“We know that some kids are very oppositional and defiant and they have the beginnings of later conduct problems early in life.

“There’s also an interesting bunch of conditions called ‘attachment disorders’ where you know kids really feel very anxious about relationships and anxious about exploring and interacting with the world. So there’s quite a range of different disorders.”

Professor McDermott says health workers can give themselves a higher success rate if these types of problems are addressed at an early age.

“Not every little kid has got a mental health problem and we’re not interested in pathologising little kids,” he said.

“What we’re saying is that if you’re going to intervene in the life span, there’s more bang for your buck if you intervene at a very early period of someone’s life,” he said.

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