Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) is a specialized health service, based on an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to deal with the behavioral problems of children and adolescents, who are not fully adjusted to their environment. The first child guidance clinic was started in Chicago in 1909.
The team: Child guidance is a team-work comprising of psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, educational psychologist, psychiatric social worker, pediatrician, public health nurses, speech therapist, occupational therapist and a neurologist.
The psychiatrist is the most important member of the team who, with others, arrives at a diagnosis and formulates the management plan. Pediatrician’s role is important in identification of problem, exclusion and treatment of physical causes as well as timely referral to the child guidance clinic.
Target problems: The individual problems attended in Child Guidance Clinic usually include mental retardation, learning disorders, habit disorders, personality disorders, psychosomatic disorders, antisocial behavior and established psychiatric disorders like autism and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Activities: Important functions of Child Guidance Clinic include —
a) Evaluation of new cases
b) Periodic follow-up of old cases
c) Comprehensive therapy
d) Parental counseling for home management
e) Training of medical and paramedical workers
f) Propagation of research.
Common therapeutic interventions in these clinics are —
a) Psychotherapy, which may be administered individually or in groups, to the child a well as parents;
b) Drug therapy as an adjuvant to other forms of therapy,
c) Creative & play activities to develop alternative areas of performance like clay/sand molding, painting etc.,
e) Speech therapy, and
f) Family therapy, Transactional analysis, Gestalt therapy, relaxation methods and hypnosis are also used in selected cases.