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Elizabeth Brestan-Knight

Elizabeth Brestan-Knight

Alma Holladay Endowed Professor


Psychological Sciences

Elizabeth Brestan-Knight

Office Hours

By Appointment


PhD, University of Florida

BA, Emory University

About Me

Elizabeth Brestan-Knight is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at Auburn University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses. For the past 14 years, she has worked in the direct provision of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with families at the Auburn Psychological Services Center, training fellow therapists and supervising students in PCIT. She has held two professorships at Auburn, won several awards for her teaching, and served as the department co-chair and undergraduate program director. Brestan-Knight has authored PCIT-related chapters and articles as well as a book published by Wiley-Blackwell, A Guide to Teaching Developmental Psychology. She is the director of the Parent-Child Research Lab at Auburn where her research team evaluates PCIT training workshops, PCIT treatment fidelity, and implementation of the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System.

Brestan-Knight received a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and her PhD in clinical and health psychology from the University of Florida.  After completing an internship in pediatric psychology at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Most recently, Brestan-Knight has conducted projects focusing on the dissemination and implementation of PCIT to front-line mental health therapists in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.  


Auburn Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Lab

Research Interests

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy


  • Travis, J., & Brestan-Knight, E. (2013). A pilot study examining trainee treatment session fidelity when parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is implemented in community settings. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 40, 342-354.
  • Nieter, L., Thornberry, T., & Brestan-Knight, E. (2013). The effectiveness of group parent-child interaction therapy with community families. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22, 490-501.
  • Wilsie, C., & Brestan-Knight, E. (2012). Using an online viewing system for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy consulting with professionals. Psychological Services, 9, 224-226.
  • Thornberry, T., & Brestan-Knight, E. (2011). Analyzing the utility of the dyadic parent-child interaction coding system (DPICS) warm up segments. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 33, 187-195
  • Lee, E.L., Wilsie, C.C., & Brestan-Knight, E. (2011). Using parent-child interaction therapy to develop a pre-parent education module. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1254-1261.

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 2020: Orientation to the Psychology Major
  • PSYC 2010: Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC 2120: Life Span Development
  • PSYC 4010: Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • PSYC 4080: Health Psychology
  • PSYC 8400: Advanced Child & Adolescent Psychopathology
  • PSYC 8420: Behavior Change in Children
  • PSYC 8910: Clinical Practicum
  • PSYC 8310: Introduction to Clinical Ethics and Methods