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Chapter 3: Assessing and Diagnosing Children's Problems
Mental health practitioners spend most of their time engaging in three types of professional activities: assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Assessment refers to the process of gathering information about children and families in order to gain an accurate understanding of their psychosocial functioning. Diagnosis refers to the task of describing the client's functioning, usually by matching the client's functioning to descriptions of psychiatric conditions recognized by other practitioners. Treatment involves the use of psychosocial and/or medicinal therapies to alleviate distress or impairment and promote children's well-being. In this chapter, we will examine how clinicians assess and diagnose child and adolescent problems. In the next chapter, we will focus on psychotherapy for children, adolescents, and families.