Working with Children and Adolescents in the Emergency Room

Over the years, I have enjoyed working with children and adolescent psychiatric cases. I had the opportunity of providing crisis intervention services within a family dynamic framework. However, a useful part of the clinical work has been the family therapy component of the work, and how time and time again this has proved to be vital to the improvement of the patient. I have attended family therapy seminars, and I took part in a child and family therapy certificate program for a year. This has been extremely helpful in exploring the family dynamic and psychosocial stressors affecting the patients I work with.

So many children arrive to the emergency room with a multitude of family issues, such as lack of communication, bullying, lack of one or both of their parent’s involvement, deaths, and history of generational trauma, abuse, and neglect. Once these familial issues are explored further, I have found it to be essential and gratifying work.

I have learned that taking one’s time to explore and listen to each party is beneficial in the process of opening the lines of communication in the family, especially when trying to explore what brought them to the emergency room. Displaying empathy and bridging the issues at hand within a supportive nonjudgmental manner is extremely helpful. Participation in family sessions is also quite helpful for the patients and their families to understand the symptoms in order to help them get through the next phase of their treatment.

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