Best treatment plan for a child after molestation

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping to treat your child after he or she has been molested
The Best Treatment Plan For A Child After Molestation
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Best treatment plan for a child after molestation

When a child has been molested, parents often wonder about "What's the treatment plan? What should I do? What are the various thing that happen? What's the best recommendations that can be provided?". In dealing with a child that has been molested, really using a multidisciplinary approach. Meaning, there's going to be various professionals that are involved in the care of a child. There will be the medical component, and during evaluation. And, examining the child to make sure that's everything is okay. Providing any treatment that may be necessary, if treatment is required. Also, we need to be very cognitive of the mental issues that the child may have. And if the child may need someone to talk to. In terms of which therapist would I go to, which type of councilor I would go to. You want to make sure to pick somebody who specializes not only in children, but specializes in trauma. And, if happens to be sexual molestation, specializes in molestation. So there are specialized individuals. And, you want to get most expert person. Sometimes through your health insurance, you need to figure out what your health insurance covers. Often times, the health insurance may have a list of various providers for mental health services. You can talk to your pediatrician to see what the recommendations are. Or if there is someone who knows what kind of specialty this therapist have. And, it doesn't hurt either to contact office of a therapist, and specifically ask them. Are they involved with taking care of children? Do they have expertise in child molestation? And the therapists, I would say, are generally honest about what their specialties are. There are specific types of intervention that are used for child abuse and neglect. Particularly, child molestation. There's what's called trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy. And it can be used for very young children, as well as the older children. And, again, the treatment is going to depend on the developmental age of the child. And, depend on how the child is responding to the interventions. The other things that's important with picking a mental care professional is that you want to make sure there is a good fit. So, it will take time to build a little bit re-pour with the child. That you want to make sure that the child feels comfortable with the therapist, and that there's a good fit. That they're willing to talk to them. And, that may be that you might have to switch to another therapist, if you don't really have that good fit. So, again, in treatment plans, many times it's the multidisciplinary treatment plan of various health care professionals, there's going to be medical side, there's going to be mental health side. Sometimes depending on what symptoms the child is having. If they are very anxious or very depressed, a medication may need to be required as well. And, also taking good lifestyle. So, making sure your child exercises and is eating well. And, again, as we always talk about, providing a really safe, stable, nurturing environment for your child.

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping to treat your child after he or she has been molested


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Karen Kay Imagawa, MD

Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD: Director, Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Director, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program, Division of General Pediatrics; Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, is also the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and is a full-time attending within the Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). She received her medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is board certified in General Pediatrics, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, and Child Abuse Pediatrics.  Dr. Imagawa has made significant contributions to program development at CHLA: She is currently the Director of the Joint General Pediatrics – USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program ,expanding the program to its current position with the largest number of board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatricians (7) in a Southern California program, and was integral in establishing the ACGME accredited Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship program at CHLA . Dr. Imagawa is also one of the founders and the Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center at CHLA, a multifaceted interdisciplinary child protection center involving evaluation, treatment, prevention, education and research in the field of child maltreatment.  Dr. Imagawa is a court appointed expert (730 paneled expert in both Criminal and Dependency Court) in the field of child abuse, and was actively involved in the development of the Foster Care Hub at CHLA, one of seven designated Hubs in Los Angeles County that were initially established to provide forensic, medical, and mental health screenings for newly detained children entering the foster care system.  She previously served on the advisory group for The California Medical Training Centers formulating standardized training in child abuse, and collaborated on a task force to develop standards at the state level for mental health care for child victims of trauma. She is a medical consultant for the Inter-agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN – the official county agency which coordinates the development of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect), having participated in various medical task forces establishing protocols and best practice standards for the evaluation and treatment of suspected victims of child abuse, included those with developmental disabilities. Dr. Imagawa’s strength as a clinical educator is also seen in her dedication to education and training. She has been invited to participate in numerous speaking engagements, as well as requests from the media and entertainment industry, involving a variety of topics in the fields of child abuse and/or developmental-behavioral pediatrics. 

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