The Child and Family Connection is committed to providing you, your child and your family with the highest-quality care to realize your child's true potential.

We believe that all children want to do well. Children, like anyone, are limited by skills and tools available to them. This principle guides our work with children and families to identify the underlying cause through multi-modality approaches and bring out the best for both the child and caregiver.

Our skilled mental health professionals have the experience, training, and education to help with nearly all of your psychological, behavioral, and educational needs. Our individualized treatment plans will help make meaningful changes in your home, in school, and in the community, while staying true to who your child is.

Dr. Pedersen


Dr. Pedersen is a licensed clinical psychologist and has over 10 years of clinical experience in the field of child psychology.

She specializes in alleviating disruptive child behaviors while guiding parents within the framework of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, which is considered the gold standard for treating oppositional behaviors in young children. Her work is centered on a "whole-child" approach to contribute to their overall development, and will often work with multiple members of the family as part of treatment.

Dr. Pedersen received her Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) from Azusa Pacific University and Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University. She has a special emphasis in working with toddlers and young children, and is seasoned in helping children better manage anxiety, depression and ADHD. 

Dr. Pedersen has worked across a number of settings. She has provided clinical services within schools, homes, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and at early intervention centers. Her current clinical interests include the parent-child relationship and the neurobiology of attachment. Dr. Pedersen is committed to sharing her expertise within the Orange County community at local conferences and events.

To find out if The Child and Family Connection is the right fit for you and your child, schedule your brief complimentary consultation today.


Claire Sfregola

Claire Sfregola is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) that brings a calm and compassionate energy to her work. She believes that a strong therapeutic relationship is the basis of progress and growth in therapy, especially when working with children and adolescents. Claire uses her sense of humor and ability to engage playfully to build rapport and trust to engage clients in the therapeutic process. 

Claire has provided therapeutic services for children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings including schools, in-home, and outpatient clinics. She is experienced in working with a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, grief/loss, trauma, oppositional behavior, and Autism spectrum. She tailors therapeutic interventions specific to client needs and goals, but typically uses multi-modality approaches that include play therapy, art therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment-based therapy, and parent coaching.

Claire earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder before completing her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University, Irvine. Claire's love of animals has led her to begin studying to become certified in Animal Assisted Psychotherapy in order to utilize animals in the therapeutic process. She is excited about incorporating this skill set into her practice in the future.

Dr. Courtney Knapp

Dr. Courtney Knapp is a licensed clinical psychologist (PsyD). Dr. Knapp has over 10 years of experience working with children in the field of psychology. Dr. Knapp earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Northridge. She went on to complete her Doctorate of Psychology from Argosy University, Orange County. Dr. Knapp is a registered play therapist supervisor.

The majority of her work has been with children, adolescents, and their families. Her therapeutic approaches include play therapy, sandtray therapy, and client centered therapy. Her current clinical interests include positive parenting approaches as well as Polyvagal theory.

Dr. Knapp uses play therapy to help children use therapy effectively as play is the language of children and how they learn best. Dr. Knapp helps to empower parents through learning new ways to communicate with their children. Dr. Knapp focuses on improving relationships within the family as well as helping children and their parents navigate behavior challenges, depression, and anxiety.

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Dr. Brooke Herd

Dr. Brooke Herd is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families and has special expertise in pediatric psychology and behavior analysis. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University.

Dr. Herd completed an APA-accredited internship in pediatric psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and received further, advanced training in pediatric psychology by completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Additionally, she has trained at numerous children’s hospitals in Southern California including Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Dr. Herd focuses on partnering alongside children and their families to provide support in a way that allows for meaningful change. She integrates a child-centered, strengths-based approach with behavioral and cognitive-behavioral techniques to support a child’s growth and development. She has experience treating a wide array of presentations including behavioral concerns, parent-child relations, toileting issues, sleep problems, anxiety, specific phobias, depression, eating disorders, adjustments/transitions, and trauma. She also has experience serving neurodiverse children and families. Her specific expertise in pediatric psychology allows her clinical work to also support children coping with chronic illness, new medical diagnoses, and to provide help with medical regimen adherence.

Bee-Yu (Ariel) Yung, MA, LMFT

Ariel is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) with over 10 years of experience working with children and families.  Ariel received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Social Behavior from University of California, Irvine and her Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy from Alliant International University, Irvine.  Over the course of her professional career, Ariel has provided clinical services in a wide array of settings including home, school, community, and center-based/outpatient clinic, with Ariel having worked for local, non-profit community mental health agencies, the County, county-contracted early intervention centers, and ABA behavior therapy companies in the past.  

Ariel specializes in working with children and their families from all backgrounds and walks of life and has experience working with children ranging from 0-18 years old, with special emphasis on toddlers, young children, and early childhood development.  Ariel is experienced in treating commonly seen issues in therapy such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, behavioral problems in children, issues with parenting, parental divorce/separation, difficulty adjusting to major life changes/transitions, grief/loss/bereavement, and trauma.  However, Ariel is also highly skilled in treating more unique or specific issues in therapy such as children from the adoption/foster care system, oftentimes accompanied by complex trauma and attachment issues, as well as children with developmental delays, learning disabilities, and/or other special needs (e.g.: Autism, ADHD, Intellectual Disability, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc.).

Ariel has a warm, authentic, and empathetic demeanor and uses her natural ability to relate to others and her playful energy to engage and build therapeutic trust and rapport with her clients, no matter what age, background, or presenting issue.  Ariel works from a strengths-based, client-centered approach and tailors treatment to each client’s specific needs, however, generally uses a mix of treatment modalities including Play Therapy, Art Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Attachment-Based Therapy, Trauma-Informed Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy, whatever works best for the client (and/or their family).  Ariel aims to help each child grow, flourish, and reach their full potential as well as assist parents in learning to better connect with their child and build a deeper, more meaningful bond/relationship with their child.

Dr. Pederson NLM
Madeline Trujillo

Madeline Trujillo

Madeline is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist (AMFT) with almost 10 years of experience working with children and families. Madeline received her Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy from Chapman University and has provided clinical services in settings including home, school, community based outpatient clinic, and a non-profit community mental health agency.

Madeline specializes in working with children and their families from all backgrounds and has experience working with children ranging from 4-18 years old, with an emphasis on toddlers and middle to later adolescence. Madeline is experienced in treating symptoms and behaviors related to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, behavioral problems in children, parent coaching, difficulty adjusting to transitions, attachment, and complex trauma.

Madeline has a passionate energy, deep empathy and genuine relatability. She takes on a playful, strengths based, and collaborative approach to engage and build a relationship with her clients. Madeline is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and views therapy through a relationship based and solution focused lens. Madeline focuses on working with the children and family to thrive as they grow, increase communication, and build secure attachments.

Whitney Howell, MPH

Office Assistant

Whitney provides a wide range of administrative support to our staff and patients, including intakes, scheduling and managing our office.

Whitney received her undergraduate degree in International Relations from Penn State University and her Master's in Public Health from the University of Michigan.


Let's Get Started

Treatment begins by contacting us to schedule an appointment. During our initial conversation, we will review your questions, concerns and my policies and procedures to assess if The Child and Family Connection is the best fit for you and your child.