Dr Yvonne Melia

Principal Clinical Lecturer

School of Health, Science and Wellbeing

I am a Clinical Psychologist whose main clinical expertise is in working with Looked After Children (LAC) 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 of attachment security and the use of attachment-based interventions and I am trained in using the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP), Child Attachment Interview (CAI), and Attachment Style Interview (ASI) with introductory level training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), theraplay and DBT. 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 and I have completed the PgDip in psychoanalytic observational studies at the Tavistock in London, which is the precursor to training in child and adolescent psychotherapy.

Whilst in full-time clinical practice, I contributed to other DClinPsy programmes through acting as field supervisor for doctoral research projects, supervising Trainee service evaluations, teaching on subjects such as systemic formulation and the therapeutic relationship and involvement in programme accreditation and selection processes. I have extensive experience of clinical supervision of Trainee Clinical Psychologists as well as experience of acting in a mentoring capacity to Trainees.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Steering Group Member, West Midlands Therapy Network
  • External Examiner, University of Southampton Doctorate in Clinical Psychology January 2019 -
  • Ad hoc DClinPsych viva examiner (University of Bath, 2019; Teeside University, 2020).
  • Secretary of the Academic Subgroup of the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology (GTiCP)
  • Member of the College of Reviewers, Staffordshire University

Academic qualifications

  • BSc (hons) Applied Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 1996
  • PgDip Clinical Neuroscience, University of Surrey, 1998
  • PgDip Psychological Research Methods, Open University, 2004
  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University of Sheffield, 2007
  • PgDip Psychoanalytic Observational Studies, University of East London (completed at the Tavistock Centre, London), 2016
  • PgCert Higher Professional Education, Staffordshire University, 2017

Research interests

My main research interests relate to attachment relationships, developmental trauma, applications of clinical psychology in social care contexts and psychological issues pertaining to Looked After Children and adopted children. I am also keen to consider how research can enhance clinical practice in respect to these service users including; improving the screening of mental health difficulties and psychological outcomes, developing relevant measures to assess coping and parenting in carers, issues of inappropriate diagnosis and trauma in sibling relationships. More broadly, I am interested in complex mental health difficulties in young people, including self-harm, Eating Disorders, personality difficulties; psychiatric symptom fabrication; gender identity issues in young people with personality difficulties. Finally, I am interested in 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.

My own doctoral research examined the impact of social contagion on self-harm in adolescents.



Module Lead for two modules on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology; Assessment, Formulation, Intervention and Evaluation 1 (AFIE1) and Personal and Professional Values and Skills (PPVS) and for the Introduction to Applied Therapeutic and Clinical Skills module on the MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology. Lead for Personal and Professional Development on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

I also deliver teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate psychology and social work courses.


Journal publications

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. Accepted for publication on 3rd March 2021.

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 (in press)

Vandewalle, K. & Melia, Y. (2020). Psychosocial and behavioural factors associated with self injurious behaviour (SIB) in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, (in press), to be published in Volume 81, March 2021

Balmain, N. Melia, Y. Dent, H. & Smith, K. A systematic review of service user’s experience of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. Accepted for publication on 12th August 2020.

Woodward, K. Melia, Y. & Combes, H. (2020). 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, published 4th August. 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. First 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. and Oddy, M. (2006) Cost-benefits associated with social outcome from neurobehavioural rehabilitation. Brain Injury. 20(9) 947-57.

Worthington, A. and Melia, Y. (2006) Rehabilitation is compromised by arousal and sleep disorders: Results of a survey of rehabilitation centres. Brain Injury. 20(3), 327-32.

Research papers

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


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.

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020