Dr. M David Kurland’s training includes child development and family systems, with an additional degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. He has been the medical director of three agencies for children.

Both of the following are true…

  1. Each child is unique.
  2. Each child with problems has much in common with other children with similar problems.

An able child psychiatrist is highly trained in what children with the same disorder have in common: symptoms, history, a diagnosis, certain individual and family dynamics.

At the same time, an able child psychiatrist must respond creatively to the uniqueness of the specific child who comes to him in his need and his distress. The commonness can be taught. The creativity is the result of experience and is a gift.

There are several major dimensions to this work. No one excludes the others.

They include:

  1. Individual psychology
  2. Family systems and dynamics
  3. Physiological and chemical functions of the brain

Evaluation and treatment require that the child psychiatrist be expert in all. Psychotherapy, for example, involves not only the child as an individual but as a member of his family. To succeed, therapy must be well-informed by a strong sense of the child’s intelligence, developmental phase, and any neuropsychiatric deficits or particularities.

A medication, for example, is not only a chemical affecting brain cells and transmitters. The decision to medicate and the choice of medication are best determined not by some formula but by an understanding of the child and the family. There are no physical tests of the brain itself that would make this understanding of people unnecessary. In the same way, assessing the effects of a medication depends upon a firm grasp of the child’s feelings and ideation. A report from parents is only partially objective and we must understand them in order to appraise their observations and conclusions.

Some new advance in knowledge of the brain is not understood until it’s related to individual and family dynamics. A single great problem area, like trauma, occurs in all three dimensions and must be understood and addressed accordingly.

All of this is complex, but never so complex that it can’t be communicated in an understandable fashion to parents and child. In fact, much of any treatment success depends upon a shared understanding. A good child psychiatrist must have considerable ability to bring about such an understanding with parents and child. Difficulties in agreement tell us that much more about the nature of the disorder and are welcome indicators of the work we have to do together. To an able child psychiatrist, these are not irritants but a call to explore further and understand more in our search for progress.

A child psychiatrist must have broad experience. Dr. M David Kurland brings to each child a range of experience in multiple and varied sites. He has worked with children in private practice, in agencies, in private schools, in crisis centers, in residential placements. Whatever position he has held in any organization has never stopped him from working with individual children.

The field of psychiatry has rapidly and steadily developed. Each year’s national child psychiatry conference brings hundreds of new findings, some incremental, some dramatically new. Much develops at the same time in the related highly relevant fields of social and family systems, psychology, and neurophysiology/neurochemistry. These are all relevant to what an able psychiatrist brings to his individual child in treatment. Dr. M David Kurland has enjoyed and welcomed these developments as exciting and valuable. He has integrated them into his practice through study and conferring. He has also participated in the expansion of the field. These efforts were greatly enhanced at the Harvard School of Public Health, where Dr. Kurland received a Masters degree in Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Evaluation/Treatment of Individual Children

  • Private Practice, Cambridge, MA (6/13 – Present)
  • 4 Crisis Programs, MA (5/10 – Present)
  • Child Psychiatrist, Community Counseling of Bristol County (5/10 – Present)
  • Child Psychiatrist, Family Services of Greater Fall River (12/93 – 5/10)
  • Child Psychiatrist, Loomis-Chaffee School (’73 – ’93)
  • Child Psychiatrist, Manchester Children’s Clinic, CT (’90 – ’93)
  • Private Practice, West Hartford, CT (’68 – ’92)
  • Psychiatrist, U.S. Army (’63 – ’66)