Leafar F. Espinoza, PhD, ABPP

Leafar F. Espinoza, PhD, ABPP

Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

On staff since February 2010

Language (Other than English): Spanish

"When working with children, adolescents and their families, I believe it is one's responsibility to provide care that is informed by current research and ethical guidelines. Children exist within a family system, which in turn exists within several larger systems. I try to be mindful of this, taking into account micro as well as macro influences. In addition to a scientist-practitioner approach, I believe that a sense of empathy, of wanting to hear a family's story and providing them with that opportunity are important in order to translate empirical approaches into successful treatments. Being a kid seems like only yesterday to me, which may in some ways help me see where they are coming from, but certainly contributes to my thorough enjoyment of working with them. I consider it a privilege to have the trust of families and children and do my best to provide informed, ethical and personalized care."

  • Having grown up in South Africa, Leafar Espinoza, Ph.D., MPH, ABPP completed his undergraduate training there, obtaining a bachelors degree in Psychology cum honoribus and a teaching diploma. Graduate studies in the United States led him to obtain an M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology through Oklahoma State University and Childrens Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. He then pursued a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is currently a clinical psychologist at Seattle Children's Hospital and board certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He is an active reviewer for several journals and his clinical and research interests range from behavioral pediatrics to the practical application of evidence-based treatments in a clinical child/adolescent population.

    • Monica Seattle 07.11.17

      Hes the best doctor because he helped me alot with my son and i recommend him to everyone

    • Maria Issaquah - Washington 11.09.15

      Queremos recomendar altamente al Dr. Espinoza.Mi hijo padecio de mucha ansiedad llegando a tener problemas para socializer, alimentarse y desarrollar sus actividades en el colegio. Cuando llegamos por primera vez a su consultorio estabamos muy asustados, preocupados y con muchos interrogantes, nuestro hijo empezo las terapias y fue cambiando positivamente. A la fecha mi hijo es un nino normal. Doy gracias a Dios por haber encontrado al Dr. Espinoza ya que es un ser maravilloso, con un gran carisma y profesionalismo. Mi hijo lo extrana y siempre pone en practica todo lo que aprendio durante las terapias.

    • Christina Maple Valley WA 07.24.15

      I can't say enough good things about Dr. Leafar! My son was a patient of his for several months and he absolutely loved and trusted him very much! He helped my son who had anxiety issues that impacted our family and his focus at school. I can say now that my son is doing much better at school & home with his anxiety and has a confidence that he would have never had if it was not for Dr. Leafar. We will continue to use the tools he gave us. I am very grateful for his help and would strongly recommend him! We will definitely miss our visits with him!

    • Elaine Bellevue WA 04.26.15

      "Dr. Leo" met with our 13 year old daughter for several weeks to discuss her anxieties and fears, and to help her learn to manage them. She very much looked forward to meeting with him each week, and was disappointed when her 16 week session ended. She said she "wished she had a reason to keep coming to see him," even though she had new tools to manage her fears, and her anxieties had been greatly reduced from the time we began. We consider her time meeting with him to be very successful, and are glad that we met him. If we ever have a need in the future to talk through any new issues, we will call him in a heartbeat!

    • Patricia Seattle 10.24.14

      Quiero recomendar al Dr. Leafar por trabajar con tanto profesionalismo, dedicación y entrega. En el Dr. mi hijo encontró una amigo en el cual confiar, ya que lo hacia sentir como tal. Para mi hijo es la mejor experiencia que ha tenido en lo que consejería se refiere. Ademas, el doctor siempre se dirige con la familia y con sus paciente con mucho espeto. El tiene la habilidad de entender el idioma (español), nuestra cultura y tradiciones, que aunque parezca fácil y mucho traten la verdad, nosotros nunca habíamos encontrado alguien como el. Ojala mas Dr. siguieran sus tácticas, la verdad, para nuestro hijos seria muy beneficioso.

    • Linda Bellevue WA 10.02.14

      Dr Espinoza is a wonderful blend of patient nurturing while still maintaining a necessary clinical agenda. I feel very fortunate to have found a practitioner who is accessible, encouraging, and delightfully humorous. He really comes across as a great listener, non-judgmental, and a great ally on the road to better well being.

    • cheryl seattle 07.19.14

      Dr. Espinoza was immediately and genuinely interested in getting to know the complex character that is my son. He utilized common interests to further comfort and relate to him. Dr. Espinoza's suggested "tools" were relevant and easily implemented, which made it actually doable, and not another daunting situation to overcome. Couldn't be more excited to see the work pay off, as I watch my son move through life with a greater ease and confidence. Truly priceless! I highly recommend Dr. Espinoza and will seek him out again, should anything arise in the future.

    • Elaine Lynnwood, WA 06.15.12

      Dr. Espinosa has done a wonderful job in providing much needed family support services. He sincerely cares about his patients and families; and comes highly recommended.

    • Leafar F. Espinoza, PhD, ABPP, Leafar Espinoza, Ph.D., MPH, ABPP
      Destination: 100 Billion Neurons
      PsycCRITIQUES , 2013 Aug. 28 : 58(35)
    • Leafar F. Espinoza, PhD, MPH, Leafar F. Espinoza
      Draw and Release: Tension and Independence in the Mother-Daughter Dyad
      PsycCRITIQUES , 2013 Feb. 20 : 58(8)
    • Leafar F. Espinoza, PhD, MPH, Leafar F Espinoza
      Escape From Nurture Into Nature
      PsycCRITIQUES , 2012 Nov. 21 : 57(46)
    • Leafar F. Espinoza, PhD, MPH, Leafar F Espinoza
      A Layered Cake of Commentary
      PsycCRITIQUES , 2012 Aug. 1 : 57(30)
  • Presentations Title Event Location Date
    Crianza de los hijos pequenos y identificando depresion en ninos y adolescentes (Parenting the young child and identifying depression in children and teenagers) Centro de Vida Familiar Internacional Tacoma, WA Nov. 17, 2012
    Teaching skills that reduce the need for discipline Mothers of Preschoolers Group (MOPS) Bethany, WA Jan. 24, 2012 - Jan. 31, 2012
    Impact of Early Enrollment in a Prenatal Substance Exposure Program 40th annual meeting of the Association of Behavior and Cognitive Therapy Chicago, IL Nov. 2006
    Group-Based Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Parent Support and Management (PSM): Treatment Comparisons 40th annual meeting of the Association of Behavior and Cognitive Therapy Chicago, IL Nov. 2006
    The Relationship between Clinic Participation and Child Abuse Potential National Conference on Child Health Psychology Gainesville, FL April 2006
    The Relationship of Perceived Child Vulnerability and Parental Overprotection to Health Care Utilization in Children with DM1 and Asthma Great Lakes Regional Conference on Child Health Columbus, OH April 2005
    The Effects of Anxiety and Experimentally-induced Failure on the Problem-solving Ability of College Students With Asthma Great Lakes Regional Conference on Child Health Columbus, OH April 2005
    Parent Variables and Psychological Distress Across Diabetes, Asthma, and Cystic Fibrosis Society of Pediatric Psychology Charleston, SC April 2004
    Emotional, Academic, and Vocational Functioning in Adolescent and Young Adults with Asthma Society of Pediatric Psychology Charleston, SC April 2004
    Child Outcomes of an Intervention for Parents of Children Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes Society of Pediatric Psychology Charleston, SC April 2004
    Parent Variables and Psychological Distress Across Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis American Psychological Association Toronto, Canada Aug. 2003
    The Psychological Benefits of Humor in Dealing with Stressors of Modern Society Rand Afrikaans University Psychology Honors Research Symposium Johannesburg, South Africa Nov. 1999


Board Certification(s)

Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Medical/Professional School

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater - Office of the Registrar, Oklahoma
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Public Health-Preventative Med


Clinical Psychology, Children's Mercy Hospital-Developmental/Behavioral Sciences Clinic, Kansas City