Dr Yvonne Melia

Principal Clinical Lecturer

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

I have always had an interest in the personal and professional development of psychological professionals. I joined Staffordshire University in 2016, first as a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and since 2021 I have been a Principal Lecturer and the Academic Director of the programme. This role offers me the privilege of being able to strategically influence the training we deliver for our future Clinical Psychologists and to support the development of competent and compassionate professionals and future leaders.

Prior to joining the programme, I had extensive experience of clinical supervision of Assistant and Trainee Clinical Psychologists as well as experience of acting in a mentoring capacity to Trainees. I also acted as a clinical supervisor to qualified Clinical Psychologists and therapists and facilitated group supervision and reflective practice to staff teams. Whilst in full-time clinical practice, I contributed to other DClinPsy programmes through acting as a field supervisor for doctoral research projects, supervising Trainee service evaluations, teaching on DClinPsy courses and I was involved in programme accreditation and selection processes.

I completed my training as a Clinical Psychologist in 2007. Since qualifying my main area of practice has involved working with looked after children and adopted children. I have worked with this client group within the NHS (CAMHS), local authority and private sector. In this capacity, I have specific expertise in assessment and intervention for attachment difficulties and developmental trauma. More generally I have worked in Tier 3 and 4 CAMHS settings including adolescent inpatient settings and PICU contexts for adolescent females. I have some experience in assessment and intervention with young people who present with harmful sexual behaviour also. My practice is heavily influenced by attachment theory and psychoanalytic thinking.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Registered with the HCPC
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy - Co-Chair, Academic and PPD and Well-Being Subgroups, Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology (GTiCP)
  • Steering Group Member, West Midlands Therapy Network
  • External Examiner, University of Sheffield Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, 2022-
  • External Examiner, University of Southampton Doctorate in Clinical Psychology January 2019 –
  • Ad hoc DClinPsych viva examiner (University of Bath, 2019; Teeside University, 2020).
  • Member of the College of Reviewers, Staffordshire University
  • External Examiner, University of Southampton Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, January 2019-January 2023

Academic qualifications

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University of Sheffield
  • PgDip in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies, University of East London (completed at the Tavistock Centre, London)
  • PgDip in Psychological Research Methods, Open University
  • PgDip in Clinical Neuroscience, University of Surrey
  • PgCert in Higher Professional Education, Staffordshire University
  • BSc (hons) Applied Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University


  • Clinical psychology
  • Mental health of Looked After Children (LAC) and adopted children
  • Assessment of attachment insecurity including the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP), Child Attachment Interview (CAI), and Attachment Style Interview (ASI)
  • Intervention for attachment difficulties with a focus on children in substitute care or who have experienced developmental trauma, using approaches such as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), theraplay and DBT
  • Consultation, training, reflective practice and group supervision related to children in care
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Harmful sexual behaviour

Research interests

  • Attachment relationships
  • Developmental trauma
  • Applications of clinical psychology in social care contexts
  • Psychological issues pertaining to Looked After Children and adopted children, including improving the screening of mental health difficulties and psychological outcomes for children and young people, developing relevant measures to assess coping and parenting in carers, issues of inappropriate diagnosis, appropriate placement matching and trauma in sibling relationships
  • Mental health difficulties in young people, including self-harm, Eating Disorders, personality difficulties, gender identity
  • Systemic factors in mental distress and recovery e.g., how identity issues influence recovery and change in respect to mental health and the role of possible peer identification and group processes on emotional well-being
  • Gender and mental health
  • Trauma in organisations
  • Qualitative research methodologies especially IPA and thematic analysis



  • Psychological interventions to improve the well-being of looked after children
  • Pathways in Clinical Psychology


  • Module lead for three modules on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology; Assessment, Formulation, Intervention and Evaluation 2 (AFIE1), Assessment, Formulation, Intervention and Evaluation 3 and Leadership, Organisational and Systemic Influence (LOSI).
  • Module lead for the Introduction to Applied Therapeutic and Clinical Skills module for the MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology and MSc Health Psychology programmes.
  • I contribute to teaching sessions across all of the modules I am module lead for.
  • Additional teaching on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology:
  • Foundations of therapeutic practice
  • Attachment and relationship dynamics in therapeutic practice
  • 3 x therapeutic skills workshops
  • Introduction to assessment and formulation
  • Impact on the self of practice and learning
  • Self care
  • Third year specialist workshop on assessment and intervention for attachment difficulties with a focus on looked after children
  • Lived experience days
  • Service evaluation
  • Single case experimental design


Cucciniello, C. & Melia. Y. (2024). A fight to work with families, rather than against them: exploring social workers’ experiences of working within the Family Safeguarding Model; an IPA analysis. Journal of Child Public Welfare. Accepted for publication on 23rd February 2024.

Sleath, M. & Melia, Y. (2023). There is no point saying ‘I wish He wasn’t trans’ because He is”: Parental experiences of an adolescent child’s social transition. LGBTQ+ Family: An Interdisciplinary Journal (peer reviewed, accepted subject to revisions)

Vandewalle, K. & Melia, Y. (2024). "“For someone who already doesn’t understand the world, it’s that, you know, growing up”: Parental Experiences of Self-Harm in adolescents with ASD: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis", Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities (under review)

Keenan, A. Melia, Y. & Srejic, G. (2023). “I was still providing everything for their basic needs, but not necessarily meeting their emotional needs.” An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Foster Carers Lived Experience of Blocked Care. Child and Family Social Work (under review).

Young, H. Melia, Y. & Chance-Lawton, L. (2023). I had my guard up for a long time and that probably didn’t help’: Exploring care leavers’ experiences of the barriers to accessing mental health support during adolescence using photo-elicitation and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Adoption & Fostering. Accepted for publication on 11th December 2023.


O’Sullivan-Hayes, S. Melia, Y. & Nazir, F. (2023). A heavy weight, yet empowering: Grandparent Special Guardians’ lived experiences of the role and family dynamics - An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Adoption & Fostering, 47(4) https://doi.org/10.1177/03085759231211611

Coleman, J. & Melia, Y. (2023). Me, My Tics and I: An Exploration of Self-Identity and its Implications for Psychological Wellbeing in Young Women with Tourette’s Syndrome. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-023-09911-x

Scott, L. Dolan, E. Baker, N. & Melia, Y. (2023). Exploring attitudes of healthcare professionals towards those with fibromyalgia: A Q-methodological approach. British Journal of Pain. 17(4), 352-365. https://doi.org/10.1177/20494637231159502

Hall, S. & Melia, Y. (2023). What is known about the role of friendship in adolescent self-harm? A review and thematic synthesis. Child & Youth Care Forum, 52, 285-310. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-022-09686-w

Published 25th March 2022

Hall, S. & Melia, Y. (2021). I Just Pulled Myself Together and Realised I had to be Responsible: Adolescents’ Experiences of Having a Friend Who Self-Harms. Child & Youth Care Forum, 51(2), 291-311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-021-09629-x

Published 10th June 2021

Wormald, C. & Melia, Y. (2021). How effective are interventions for enhancing empathy in service users with an Intellectual Disability who engage in sexually abusive behaviour? A Review of the Literature. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. 34(6), 1373-1392. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12883


Balmain, N. Melia, Y. John, C. Dent, H. & Smith, K. (2021). Experiences of receiving Cognitive Analytic Therapy for those with complex secondary care mental health difficulties. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. 94(51), 120-136. https://doi.org/10.1111/papt.12326

Vandewalle, K. & Melia, Y. (2021). Psychosocial and behavioural factors associated with self injurious behaviour (SIB) in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 81: 101713 – 101713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2020.101713

Published 29th December 2020


Balmain, N. Melia, Y. Dent, H. & Smith, K. (2021). A systematic review of service user’s experience of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 94(S1), 36-63. https://doi.org/10.1111/papt.12305.

Published 15th September 2020

Woodward, K. Melia, Y. & Combes, H. (2021). Exploring Carers’ Experiences and Perceptions of Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) over Time, from the Point of Applying to Now. The British Journal of Social Work, 51(6), 1963-1982. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcaa086. Published 4th August 2020. 


Carlson, L. Hutton, S. Priest, H. & Melia, Y. (2020). Reunification of looked-after children with their birth parents in the United Kingdom: A literature review and thematic synthesis. Child & Family Social Work, 25(1), 192-205. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12663. Published 27th June 2019. 


Melia, Y. (2016). Feminine and masculine personality traits: reflections on opportunities and challenges to a career in clinical psychology. Clinical Psychology Forum, 285, 20-24. https://doi.org/10.53841/bpscpf.2016.1.285.20


Worthington, A. Matthews, S. Melia, Y. & Oddy, M. (2006). Cost benefits associated with social outcome from neurobehavioural rehabilitation. Brain Injury, 20(9), 947-57. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699050600888314


Worthington, A. & Melia, Y. (2006). Rehabilitation is compromised by arousal and sleep disorders: results of a survey of rehabilitation centres. Brain Injury, 20(3), 327-32. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699050500488249

Conference papers

Workshop presentation: Children and Mental Health Nursing Conference, 16th August 2019, Staffordshire University ‘Working with hard-to-engage young people: insights from Attachment Theory’

Panel member, Special Event: Fostering Focus “Team Parenting for Children in Foster Care: A Model for Integrated Therapeutic Care by Jeanette Caw & Judy Sebba” An exploration of this book and the issues raised. Northern LAC Forum, Leeds, 23rd May 2014.

Melia, Y. & Nattrass, A. Routine Evaluation and Research in Practice: experiences in a LAC CAMHS Service, Northern LAC Forum, Leeds, 15th February 2013.

Melia, Y. & Eaden, T. ‘Preventing Placement Breakdown among Looked After Children with Complex Mental Health Needs,’ Looked After Children Matter. Delivering Excellent Services for Children in Care, 3rd July 2012, ICO Conference Centre, London.

Melia, Y. & Nattrass, A. ‘Case study: Improving Mental Health Services for Looked After Children – Developing a New Model of Care,’ Inside Government Conference: Looked After Children: Improving the Outcomes for Young People in Care, 14th March 2012, 1 Wimpole Street, London.


Callaghan, A. Melia, Y. Rutterford, N. Hussain, I. and Worthington, A. (2003) Ascertaining needs and levels of psychological symptoms of family members of brain injured individuals in a residential setting: implications for service development (conference poster), Brain Injury – the Quality Agenda, The Jury’s Inn, Birmingham, 27-28 February 2003.

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021