Dr Yvonne Melia

Principal Clinical Lecturer

School of Health, Science and Wellbeing

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
  • 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

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

Expertise

  • 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

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Psychological interventions to improve the well-being of looked after children
  • Contemporary issues in clinical psychology

Postgraduate

  • 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

Publications

Hall, S. & Melia, Y. (2022). What is known about the role of friendship in adolescent self-harm? A review and thematic synthesis. Child & Youth Care Forum. Published 25th March 2022. DOI: 10.1007/s10566-022-09686-w

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. Published 10th June 2021. Doi: 10.1007/s10566-021-09629-x

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. Published 22nd March 2021. doi: 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. Mar;94 Suppl 1:120-136.

doi: 10.1111/papt.12326. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

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 (March 2021), published 29th December 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2020.101713

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. Published 15th September 2020, https://doi.org/10.1111/papt.12305.

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. Published 4th August 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcaa086

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. Published 27th June 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12663

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.

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

 

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. DOI: 

Contributing author to: Brain and Spine Foundation (2004). Headstrong. All about brain tumours. Brain and Spine Foundation.

Melia, Y. (2001). Research and consultation with children and young people. Considerations for good practice in projects involving children with brain tumours. Brain and Spine Foundation.

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.

Posters

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.

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

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

Research Excellence Framework 2021

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

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

Research Excellence Framework 2021

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022