Assistant Director, Early Childhood Core
Assistant clinical professor,
department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences

Dr. Nastassia Hajal (she/her) is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center’s Early Childhood Core. Dr. Hajal is a child clinical psychologist whose primary interests are in parenting and young children’s emotional development in the context of family stress and trauma.

Dr. Hajal is interested in translational work that bridges basic science on developmental psychopathology, parenting, and emotion with clinical research on the promotion of child and family resilience. She has a particular interest in studying caregiver emotional processes using novel methodology, including intensive and ecologically valid techniques (such as experience sampling methodology) and affective neuroscience (such as EEG). Dr. Hajal’s involvement in translational work spans from the translation of basic science findings to develop and refine family-centered interventions, to integration of well-established approaches for implementation into large systems (e.g., UCLA Health System, Los Angeles Unified School District).

Current projects include an NIH-funded clinical trial of emotion regulation, biomarkers, and response to intervention in parents who have their own histories of childhood interpersonal trauma, as well as studies examining parenting, emotion socialization, and response to intervention in Latinx families.

In addition to her research and clinical work, Dr. Hajal loves teaching and mentoring. She serves as an attending psychologist at the UCLA Family STAR (Stress, Trauma, and Resilience) Clinic, where she supervises clinical psychology and psychiatry trainees in the prevention and treatment of child and family traumatic stress. She also provides research mentorship for students and trainees at all levels.
Dr. Hajal received her PhD in Child Clinical Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior.