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Our commitment to psychiatric medication as a possible tool—not a solitary answer

Before a child is referred to Boston Children's Psychopharmacology Clinic, she must be participating in some form of psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” such as:

  • behavioral therapywhich teaches patients to reinforce healthy behaviors while learning to eliminate unwanted behaviors

  • cognitive-behavioral therapy, which sets specific short-term goals for patients to overcome their fears, anxieties and sources of negative thinking by changing thought patterns and responses to certain situations

  • dynamic therapywhich examines and addresses the root causes and motivations of patients'  behavior

  • psychoeducational treatment, which trains patients and their families to understand a specific mental illness and prepares them to better cope with its symptoms 

These psychosocial treatments can occur in individual, family or group settings. 

Scientific studies and patient experiences have proven that “talk therapy” combined with drug therapy is the most effective therapeutic regimen for children whose symptoms require psychiatric medication. There are several reasons behind our commitment to using medication as part of a two-pronged approach:

  • psychosocial treatment addresses the psychological aspects of mental illness, while medication targets the biological factors of the disorder

  • while medication can help the child feel much better, psychotherapy instills important lifelong skills for managing, understanding and coping with feelings and revising thought patterns

  • combining the positive effects of medication with the crucial lessons taught in psychotherapy maximizes the child’s ability to understand and manage feelings and to form positive, healthy relationships with others

  • continued psychotherapy ensures that the child always has an outlet to express concerns, worries and fears to a trained health professional  

Our team of expert psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other health professionals at Boston Children's will work closely with you and your child to devise a treatment plan that:

  • takes into account the particular circumstances of your child’s situation
  • helps your child feel and function better while adapting new coping skills for a happy, fulfilling adult life
  • involves you and your family at every stage of care
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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