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.

Dr. Hayley Pedersen, M.S., Psy.D., founder of The Child and Family Connection, believes that all children want to do well. Children, like anyone, are limited by skills and tools available to them. This principle guides her work with children and families to identify the underlying cause through multi-modality approaches and bring out the best for both the child and parent.

As a former elementary school educator, Dr. Pedersen has been working with children for over 16 years. Her understanding of the unique challenges that can present in the classroom help inform individualized treatment plans to make meaningful changes in the 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.

Trisha Headshot

Trisha Church

Trisha Church is a Psychological Assistant in the state of California under the supervision of Dr. Hayley Pedersen. She is currently working on her Doctorate (PsyD) in Applied Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Anaheim, CA an APA-accredited program.

Trisha completed her M.A. in Forensic Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Irvine, CA.  During her graduate studies, Trisha gained experience in the field of clinical psychology working as an associate therapist at the County of Orange, Children and Youth Services providing therapy to children and adolescents.  Trisha is a registered professional clinical counselor and has practiced in a variety of treatment settings, including hospitalization, intensive outpatient settings, and private practice. Trisha has experience working with dual diagnosis, addiction, trauma, as well as psychological testing. She continues to be trained in CBT, Attachment Theory, Solution Focused Therapy, and Psychodynamic treatment modalities.

Trisha is also currently working on her dissertation, examining alternative outcomes in the foster care system for children affected by methamphetamine in families.

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.