Melissa Bernstein Ph.D.

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Melissa Bernstein, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in California, with a caring practice working with children, youth, and families. Dr. Bernstein views healing from a family-systems perspective. Her approach is to teach children and caregivers the skills they need to navigate obstacles in their lives using treatments that work. Dr. Bernstein provides care that is informed by evidence-based practice but tailored to meet the needs and values of each family. She has extensive training in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which she utilizes to help children and youth master skills to generate insight into their thoughts, feelings, behavior and relationships. Dr. Bernstein builds authentic connection, trust, and true partnership to help children and families cope with challenges so they can become their most resilient selves.

Areas of Specialization Dr. Bernstein specializes in working with children and adolescents experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, and low self-esteem. She is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), considered to be one of the most effective treatments for children with trauma symptoms. She helps children and youth challenge unhelpful beliefs and learn to see themselves, their world, and their future in a more positive light. Dr. Bernstein takes special care to consider the diverse background and unique differences of each client she serves by exploring life experiences, goals, and personal values. She strives to nurture the curiosity, creativity, thoughtfulness, and openness in each of her clients. 

Education & Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Clinical Developmental Child Psychology from University of Maine, Orono, ME (APA-accredited)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Clinical Child Psychology at University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Center for Child Abuse and Neglect 
  • Interdisciplinary Training Program (ITP) in Child Abuse and Neglect, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center 
  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology, University at Buffalo

Contact Us

Encinitas Office

Carmel Valley Office