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Felipa Chavez, Ph.D. - Florida Tech. Melbourne, FL, US

Felipa Chavez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor | School of Psychology | Florida Tech


Dr. Chavez pursues a program of research reflecting issues of family dysfunction as seen through parent-child interactions.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Comorbid Parental Psychopathology

Family Dysfunction


Child Psychopathology

Marital Conflict


Dr. Felipa Chavez is an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Florida Tech. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology, with a concentration in working with children and families, from the University at Buffalo (UB). She is a former NIAAA post-doctoral fellow at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions, where she trained in research examining early child development and parent-child relationships in heavy drinking alcohol families.

Currently, Dr. Chavez is the Director of Building Blocks: PCIT at Florida Tech, which disseminates Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to local families through the Community Psychological Services center, which operates out of the university's Scott Center for Autism. PCIT is an evidenced-based intervention in the treatment of children with behavioral disorders such as ADHD, conduct disorder, oppositional disorder and ASD

Dr. Chavez has trained over 60 clinical psychology graduate students in the dissemination of PCIT treatment services, and she is currently working toward becoming a regional-level trainer.

Dr. Chavez also conducts a program of research providing Teacher Child Interaction Therapy (TCIT) services to at-risk underserved community classrooms at schools, daycares and community centers through her Project Play research program, which has been partially funded by a Fight Against Community Violence Target grant.

Through her community-based outreach research, Dr. Chavez examines how improvements in disruptive classroom behaviors, through the implementation of TCIT, can improve classroom manageability and student academic performance and reduce teacher stress, with rippling effects for reduced child abuse potential in the home.

Dr. Chavez also has over 16 years of experience in teaching a multicultural course curriculum. Additionally, based on her years of experience in the delivery of both PCIT and TCIT services to underserved communities, she has developed a tip sheet offering clinical/training guidelines for the practical applications of PCIT principles in working with Black families in treatment, in support of the Black Lives Matter social movement. It is entitled: “We are Light that Overcomes Darkness as we strive to be our Brother’s Keeper: PCIT Applications for supporting Black Families in Treatment."

Other noteworthy accomplishments include her appearance on the Academic Minute program and a two-part series on how to address issues of the COVID-19 pandemic with children.

Research Focus (4)

The Power of Kin

Using archival data, this study seeks to examine cultural differences among black and white neglect and non-neglect populations in the use of kinship support networks. The study will also determine whether kinship support networks mediate the relationships between stress and neglect, stress and substance abuse, and substance abuse and neglect.

An Assessment of Maternal and Paternal Differences in Disciplinary Strategies

A Factor Analytic Validation of the Parental Response to Child Misbehavior (PRCM) questionnaire among a sample of alcoholic families: The current study is part of an ongoing longitudinal investigation on the effects of parental drinking on child development and family interactions. The goal of the present study is to examine group differences in paternal and maternal disciplinary strategies among at-risk families characterized by paternal alcoholism, and non-alcoholic families.

PCIT in the reduction of dyadic stress, child abuse potential, and parental substance abuse relapse

Utilizing a clinical trial design, the goal of this study will be to reduce parenting stress and substance abuse recidivism and oppositional defiant behaviors in children which are risk factors for child physical abuse.

Parents' reactions to videotaped children’s behavior

This is a pilot study to devise and standardize a video vignette instrument used to assess parental cognitions and affect associated with child maltreatment behaviors. Once standardized, this instrument will be the vehicle for studying the effects of alcohol impairment in child maltreatment behaviors in an alcohol administration study using an alcohol, no alcohol and placebo design.

Media Assets




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Media Appearances (5)

Eagles Autism Foundation Giving Tuesday

Philadelphia Eagles  online


Felipa Chavez, assistant professor of clinical psychology and director of Building Blocks: PCIT at Florida Tech, is featured in a video from the Eagles Autism Foundation.

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Florida Tech Professor Felipa Chavez Wins Grant to Train Clinicians in Parent Child Interaction Therapy

Space Coast Daily  online


Felipa Chavez, assistant professor of clinical psychology and director of Building Blocks: PCIT at Florida Tech, was awarded a $25,000 grant to train Philadelphia-based Black and Latino behavioral health clinicians in culturally sensitive Parent-Child Interaction Therapy.

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Palm Bay woman and son displaced due to lack of affordable housing on Space Coast

Florida Today  print


Felipa Chavez, associate professor of clinical psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology said moves can be hard for children in general. But, for children on the autism spectrum, it can be even harder, Chavez said.

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Felipa Chavez, Florida Institute of Technology – Anxiety in Children

Academic Minute  online


The rise of social media can leave kids anxious. Felipa Chavez, assistant professor of psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology, explores what can be done to combat these feelings.

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How Do I Explain This Pandemic to My Child? (Part Two)

Florida Tech News  online


In Part 2 of this question-and-answer series, Chavez talks about how to handle the daily deluge of news, how to respond to social distancing, guidance for how parents can deal with elevated stress, and suggestions for healthy family activities.

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Education (3)

SUNY@Buffalo: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology 2000

SUNY@Buffalo: M.A. 1997

New York University: B.A. 1990


Selected Articles (2)

Protective Buffers of Effective Parental Cooperation and Communication for Offspring of Divorce

Journal of Divorce & Remarriage


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A Transactional Model of Parent-Infant Interactions in Alcoholic Families.

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors


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Accomplishments (1)

Junior Investigator Award (professional)

2002 - 25th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA)

Event Appearances (3)

Infants of alcoholic fathers

World Association of Infant Mental Health Conference  Amsterdam, The Netherlands

An examination of the longitudinal impact of partner support and stress on parental drinking

25th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Scientific Meeting  San Francisco, CA

Racial and gender discrimination in attitudes regarding CPS: A new scale of measurement

APSAC 10th National Colloquium  New Orleans, LA