Melanie A. Fernandez, PhD, ABPP
Director, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Program
Child Mind Institute
Melanie A. Fernandez, PhD, ABPP, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children’s behavioral problems, particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder. She has provided psychological evaluations and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to hundreds of children and adolescents. As one of fifteen master trainers in parent-child interaction therapy endorsed by PCIT International, she also has unique experience working with parents to improve their children's social behavior, self-esteem, organizational skills, and academic competence. Dr. Fernandez is a board certified psychologist with a specialty in clinical child and adolescent psychology.
Dr. Fernandez came to the Child Mind Institute in September 2010 after serving as an assistant research scientist and clinical assistant professor of psychology at the NYU Child Study Center’s Institute for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Behavior Disorders. She was also the clinical supervisor of the NYU Summer Program for Kids, a seven-week-long therapeutic program for elementary school-age children with ADHD. As clinical supervisor for three years, she oversaw staff, developed treatment plans, and led weekly workshops for parents who wanted to learn new behavior management techniques and nurture secure relationships with their children. She also brings valuable clinical and research experience from her work as co-developer of a teacher-child interaction therapy (TCIT) program at Astor Services for Children and Families.
Dr. Fernandez earned her doctorate in clinical child and pediatric psychology at the University of Florida, where her mentor was Dr. Sheila M. Eyberg, the developer of PCIT. Dr. Fernandez helped lead PCIT training workshops as a graduate student and later during her postdoctoral fellowship at NYU. While in graduate school, she worked as a research clinician, helping conduct clinical trials of CBT in different formats for children, adolescents, and adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She completed her predoctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center. She continues to assist in the development and implementation of TCIT programs in New York City schools.
Dr. Fernandez has published papers in several peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, for which she is an ad hoc reviewer; Clinical Case Studies; and Assessment. She is a member of the Treatment Adaptations Taskforce on the Advisory Board of PCIT International, as well as a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
A strong advocate for children with special needs, Dr. Fernandez is an increasingly important voice on innovative and empirically supported strategies that help children succeed at school, at home, and in their social relationships. She regularly shares her knowledge in a column for Scholastic's Instructor magazine and has appeared on CBS 2 New York to discuss PCIT.