The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach

The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach

The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach

The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach


The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology is a comprehensive, thorough and practical guide to modern child and adolescent clinical psychology. It covers all central concerns for practitioners in a single manual, including: conduct problems, emotional problems, learning disabilities, child protection, somatic illness, major depression, suicide, drug abuse, schizophrenia, divorce, foster care and bereavement. Each chapter opens with a broad chapter plan and case study, followed by sections on classification, epidemiology and clinical features. Written with practice in mind, it includes a section on report writing.


This volume has been written as a core textbook in the practice of clinical child and adolescent psychology for postgraduate psychology students who are undertaking a professional training programme in clinical pychology. The aim has been to offer an overall set of conceptual frameworks for practice and then to cover most of the problems commonly encountered in clinical work with children and adolescents.

I have used the term contextual to describe the broad approach taken, although I was tempted to describe it as multisystemic, developmental and pan-theoretically integrative, since it is all of these things. The approach is multisystemic in so far as it rests on the assumption that children's psychological problems are most usefully conceptualised as being nested within multiple systems including the child, the family, the school and the wider social network. It is also multisystemic in so far as it assumes that assessment and intervention must address the systems relevant to the aetiology and maintenance of the particular problem with which the child presents. Ecological models of child development and family-based intervention strategies have been a particularly strong influence on the development of this approach.

The approach is developmental because it takes account of the literature on individual lifespan development, developmental psychopathology, and the family lifecycle.

The approach is pan-theoretical in so far as it rests on an acceptance that useful solutions to youngsters' difficulties may be developed by considering them in the light of a number of different theoretical perspectives rather than invariably attempting to conceptualise them from within a single framework or theoretical model. Biological, behavioural, cognitive, psychodynamic, stress-and-coping, family systems, ecological and sociological theories are the main conceptual frameworks considered within this approach.

The approach is integrative, in so far as it attempts, through a commitment to rigorous case formulation, to help clinicians link together useful ideas from different theories in a coherent and logical way when dealing with particular problems. A piecemeal eclectic approach is thereby avoided.

The overarching framework that has guided the development of this approach is social-constructionism; that is, an assumption that for children, families and

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