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James McHale

James McHale

Executive Director of the USF St. Petersburg Infant-Family Mental Health Center at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, USA

Research interests

Family Theory, Therapy and Research

After doctoral study at the University of California at Berkeley and training as a family therapist in both Palo Alto and Philadelphia, I was for several years the Director of Clinical Training at Clark University in Worcester, MA. I later was Founding Chair of the Department of Psychology at USF St. Petersburg.

My career’s work, reflected in over 70 published articles, books, and other manuscripts and in more than 200 conference research reports on the topic of coparenting, has brought to light the nature and impact of coparenting structures and processes across diverse family systems in which children are raised.

Two books – 2007’s “Charting the Bumpy Road of Coparenthood” (recipient of the Zero to Three Press’s Harris Book Award) and 2011’s “Coparenting: A Conceptual and Clinical Examination of Family Systems” (co-edited with Kristen Lindahl) offer roadmaps for scholars interested in this rapidly-evolving field of family science.

The concept of coparenting has perhaps made its biggest inroad with professionals who work with children birth to age 3. I first presented the concept of coparenting in diverse family systems to a 0-3 audience in a “Decade of Behavior” lecture at the World Association for Infant Mental Health at their biannual conference in 2004, giving a like plenary at ZERO TO THREE’s National Training Institute in 2007. In December 2016, ZERO TO THREE released the new DC: 0–5™  (Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood), which for the first time directs clinicians to provide a characterization of the network of family relationships in which the child develops.

This account includes portrayals of coparenting relationships and of the network of close relationships that impinge on the young child’s development and adaptation. A long time coming, the new DC: 0–5™ system designation at long last honors the functional coparenting relationships central in every child’s life.

You can see more of my work  on the USF St. Petersburg site.