It is estimated that up to a quarter of American children will experience a psychiatric disorder at some point in their development. Concerned parents whose children struggle with issues such as depression, anxiety, learning disorders, and attention problems face tough questions including:

  • Does my child need medication?
  • How do I get an appropriate diagnosis?
  • What do I need to know to find the most competent professional and how can I ensure that my child gets the best possible treatment?

Learning the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and social worker or understanding clinical terms such as cognitive–behavioral therapy and mood dysregulation can be overwhelming. Therefore, finding the right resources is critical to addressing a child's mental health needs and moving forward toward effective care.

In How to Find Mental Health Care for Your Child, seasoned child psychologist and author Ellen B. Braaten offers clear and expert guidance to help anxious parents navigate the complexities of mental health care.

Divided into three thorough and well-organized parts, the book first provides an overview of the issues involved in diagnosing and treating children. It then gives detailed information on the most common childhood disorders and addresses key symptoms, possible causes, and treatment options. In the final chapters, Dr. Braaten discusses the primary treatment approaches in more depth, such as their typical course, what disorders they are used to treat, and how to determine their effectiveness.

Parents seeking the best mental health care for their child will learn what other parents did in real situations when confronted with similar problems and will be reassured, supported, and empowered throughout their journey.

Table of Contents


I. What Every Parent Should Know About Child Psychology and Mental Health Disorders

  1. Does My Child Have a Problem?
  2. The Evaluation: Finding Out What Is Wrong
  3. Diagnosis and Treatment: What Are the Possible Treatments, and How Well Do They Work?

II. Common Childhood Disorders

  1. Attentional and Disruptive Behavior Disorders
  2. Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
  3. Mood Disorders
  4. Anxiety Disorders
  5. Learning Disabilities
  6. Eating Disorders
  7. Other Psychological Problems and Issues

III. The Treatments

  1. Psychotherapy: Interpersonal and Insight-Oriented Approaches
  2. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  3. Family Therapy
  4. School-Based Services
  5. Other Treatment Options

Additional Resources


About the Author

Author Bio

Ellen B. Braaten, PhD, is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, the director of the Child Psychology Internship Training Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Braaten is a licensed child psychologist who specializes in pediatric neuropsychology and psychological testing. She has authored numerous scientific articles and chapters on children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, and parenting. She is the coauthor of Straight Talk About Psychological Testing for Kids and the author of The Child Clinician's Report-Writing Handbook.