About Dr. Melody Aguayo

I’m a wife, mom of two adopted children, and parent consultant for overwhelmed parents who are looking for support and solutions to navigate their parental journey.  

I have a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from East Tennessee State University and hold a Ph. D. in Psychology from Capella University. Although I am thankful for my educational background providing valuable tools for the families I work with, it is my own journey as a parent that has been my greatest teacher.

I was the desperate parent in IEP meetings, the isolated parent at birthday parties, and the parent who felt like I was failing my child because I could not help him. I was the parent dragging my child to specialists who quickly determined it was “my fault” or “my child’s fault” without managing to really “see” either of us. I felt so alone, scared, and desperate. I am the parent who has had to ask herself on many occasions, “Can I be OK, even if my child’s issues are never completely resolved?” The personal parts of my journey help me view every child and every parent with compassion.  It is in this non-judgmental space, I hope healing can begin. 

As a parent to a special needs child, I have a heart to provide support to all struggling parents.  I believe that parents are the greatest influencers in their children’s lives, and that they need a space to organize their own personal struggles. This space to brainstorm, be still, be seen, and be heard is essential to creating a peaceful environment.  You, as a parent, can’t keep pouring from an empty cup.  I have a heart for families where the balance has shifted so much that most resources, time, and energy are invested in one or two children.  This works in the short term, but in the long run it creates huge burnout for moms and dads. 

Sometimes my job is to provide parenting tips.  But often my job is to help parents see the imbalance and create some shifts in the whole family so that other needs can be tended to, not just those of the special needs child.  Sometimes my job is just to help a parent grieve the difference between what they thought parenting would look like and what it looks like, to help them create new expectations and find peace and joy in spite of things not being what they thought they would be.  People naturally want to move toward balance.  Parents don’t want to be agitated and upset all the time. 

Additional Qualifications

  • Trained Circle of Security provider to parent groups.
  • Professionally trained in TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) and also had the added benefit of attending Dr. Karyn Purvis’s Hope Connection Camp with her family to receive the intensive parent training course on site. 
  • Writes a blog and was a regular contributor to the online magazine “Springible”. 
  • Has spoken at CAFO, the Neuroscience and Educational Symposium, Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance, and many other notable locations.