Course Description


Assessment of mental health problems in children and youth is complex. Attention to family, school, community, and cultural context is essential, as is a thorough understanding of how physical and psychological development may influence the presentation. When inquiring about these multiple issues, it is easy to lose sight of the need to nurture therapeutic relationships between the assessor, the client, and the family. Checklists and standardized measures may aid assessment, but they cannot replace these relationships. Forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships can be particularly challenging when working with adolescents. Organizing assessment information in a way that informs treatment is a further challenge. Manuals may identify evidence-based treatments to consider for large diagnostic groups, but the appropriateness and success of those treatments in a given child or youth often depends on an individualized case formulation. Such a formulation may also suggest additional interventions which can result in meaningful change, and may guide the intensity of intervention needed.

This two-day workshop will engage participants in learning and applying techniques of mental health assessment, case formulation, and treatment planning in children and youth. Experiential exercises using simulated cases will highlight key aspects of each topic, allowing participants to face and master the challenges mentioned above. Judging the most appropriate intensity of intervention in a given situation, including when to refer for medical or emergent care, will be illustrated as well. In the latter part of the workshop, participants will learn key principles of psychosocial treatment, with emphasis on cognitive behavioral and problem-solving interventions with children and youth.

Learning Objectives:

  • To identify key aspects of assessment in child & adolescent mental health care,
  • To understand how case formulation enhances diagnostic assessment,
  • To practice case formulation of mental health problems in children and youth,
  • To plan appropriate types and levels of mental health intervention in children and youth,
  • To learn key principles of cognitive behavioral and problem solving interventions, and how to apply these effectively with children and youth and
  • To review and practice skills needed to work effectively with adolescents.

Course Details


Dr. Katarina Manassis, M.D., FRCP(C) graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, in 1986 and practiced Child & Adolescent Psychiatry from 1991 until 2018, recently retiring. She founded and directed a clinical-research program in childhood anxiety disorders at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, for over 20 years. She studied the etiology and cognitive behavioral treatment of these disorders, and has published over 90 papers in professional journals in this field. She has written 7 related books for parents and professionals including "Case Formulation with Children and Adolescents" and "Problem Solving in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy". She supervised numerous graduate students through her appointments at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto. From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Manassis pursued a private practice in her home community of Pickering, Ontario. She remains Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.  She is the proud mother of two young adult children, and volunteers with her church and with Parks Canada.


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