Dr. McGinnis is a behavioral psychologist who has helped thousands of families find success through direct consultation and indirectly through training of other helping professionals over his more than 20-year career across school, outpatient clinic, primary care pediatric, and hospital settings.
His Principle-Driven Family Coaching™ model, the foundation of his services, involves no-nonsense, science-supported approaches and procedures at every turn. It isn’t just about the whole child but about the whole family, and helping based upon knowing what works.
He is knowledgable and credentialed in many areas critical to helping families including behavioral pediatrics and school psychology (including learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, gifted education, and educational planning generally), making him a go-to professional especially in multidimensionally complex cases.
He is proud to be a founding member of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and particularly enjoys helping kids improve their sleep habits. He is also a career-long member of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis and regularly offers talks and workshop trainings for behavior analysts and related practitioners.
Dr. McGinnis has had the honor of serving as founding Clinic Director of the Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, and as a subject matter expert for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. He also has been a school-based school psychologist and an adjunct faculty member of the College of Education of Florida Gulf Coast University.
Rare for a practitioner, he has published a number of articles in peer-reviewed professional journals on behavioral pediatrics, motivation, and gifted education as well as in parent magazines and other resources for families on such topics as picky eating, bedtime and sleep health, and electronic media use through the years.
His latest published study, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Nebraska and Boys Town, appeared in the journal Children’s Health Care in 2018. This study, based on the sequential treatment model developed by Dr. McGinnis and employed in his daily practice, involved two years’ worth of data collection and demonstrates how first addressing children’s problem sleep in outpatient behavioral healthcare can powerfully impact their overall functioning and render behavioral treatment of ADHD, anxiety, and other clinical concerns either more effective and efficient or unnecessary.
He is a seasoned public speaker on these topics and others including improving the homework routine, effective classroom instruction, and science versus pseudoscience in the helping professions. Dr. McGinnis offers talks and trainings and welcomes opportunities to be of service to your school, business, agency, or association.
Dr. McGinnis is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Section on Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics), Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Association for Behavior Analysis International, Florida Association for Behavior Analysis, and Palm Beach Pediatric Society.
His education and training took him from Delaware to Maryland, Mississippi, and finally Nebraska before he and his wife, Teresa, settled in Florida in 1997. For more on his education and other credentials, see below.
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McGinnis Behavioral welcomes new clients!
Before booking your first appointment, however, please check out our Q&A section for answers to your questions and to ensure McGinnis Behavioral is right for you.
See what other professionals are saying!
Dr. McGinnis is a leader in the American clinical behavior analysis movement. I think of his approach as "the physics of humans," using strong scientific principles to unlock secrets of the human universe.
- Dr. Luis Morales Knight, psychologist, Tustin, California
Including Dr. McGinnis in patient care has changed the way we approach our patients where for example we can avoid needing to treat with medications. We've been pretty surprised with some of the results of particular cases.
Dr. McGinnis gives parents common sense, easy to implement, and most importantly, evidence-based techniques. His approach can truly make a difference in your child's life!
- Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine, pediatrician, Boynton Beach, Florida
As a Vanderbilt trained pediatrician, I have worked with many psychologists in Southwest Florida over the past 25 years. None have ever surpassed my favorite: Dr. Chris McGinnis.
He has taken on my patients’ most challenging behavior problems, and has done extremely well with all of them.
I appreciate that Chris is very thoughtful and thorough with all patients, great with professional feedback, and uses a science-based approach to treatment.
- Dr. Thomas Schiller, pediatrician, Cape Coral, Florida
I was fortunate to train under Dr. McGinnis as a postdoctoral resident and I love using many of his treatment protocols with my clients.
I recently met a mother whose son with sleep problems came to me after going to a sleep clinic for three years without success. At our second session she proudly reported that he was now sleeping through the night and it only took three nights to accomplish. This mom was so grateful to have a well-rested son and her own first full night of sleep in years!
- Dr. Susanne Long, psychologist, Woodbridge, Virginia
Dr. McGinnis is a premier behavioral specialist and I can attest that I have seen young kids' lives change, which then impacted the entire family dynamics. Of particular note, I am incredibly impressed with exactly how well versed he is with sleep health.
If I had to summarize Dr. McGinnis with just two words, they would be integrity and compassion.
- Dr. Jose Colon, pediatric neurologist and sleep specialist, Fort Myers, Florida
Over the years, I have found Dr. McGinnis' insight into behavior problems including sleep disorders, eating disorders, school problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorders to be invaluable and a great service to my patients who I referred to him.
Usually he was able to make remarkable progress in working with the families to resolve these issues and improve family dynamics.
Before moving to Florida I was full-time faculty at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, which has a long history of excellence in pediatric behavioral medicine. Dr. McGinnis brings that same quality care to his patients.
- Dr. Bruce Berget, pediatrician, Fort Myers, Florida
• FL Licensed Psychologist PY6149
• DE Licensed Psychologist B1-0000858
Board & National Certification
• Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral
• Nationally Certified School Psychologist
• Health Service Psychologist
Some Representative Published Content *
Kidwell, K. M., McGinnis, J. C., Nguyen, A. V., Arcidiacono, S. J., & Nelson, T. D. (2018). A pilot study examining the effectiveness of brief sleep treatment to improve children's emotional and behavioral functioning. Children's Health Care, DOI: 10.1080/02739615.2018.1540306.
Nelson, T. D., Van Dyk, T. R., McGinnis, J. C., Nguyen, A. V., & Long, S. K. (2016). Brief sleep intervention to enhance behavioral parent training for noncompliance: Preliminary findings from a practice-based study. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 4, 176-187.
McGinnis, J. C., Friman, P. C., & Carlyon, W. D. (1999). The effect of token rewards on “intrinsic” motivation for doing math. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 32, 375-379.
Bowers, F. E., McGinnis, J. C., Ervin, R. A., & Friman, P. C. (1999). Merging research and practice: The example of positive peer reporting applied to social rejection. Education and Treatment of Children, 22, 218-226.
Friman, P. C., Handwerk, M. L., Swearer, S. M., McGinnis, J. C., & Warzak, W. J. (1998). Do children with primary nocturnal enuresis have clinically significant behavior problems? Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 152, 537-539.
Invited General Interest
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County (2017). Use positive approach to break your preschooler’s bad habits. EveryParentPBC.org and the EveryParent app on iTunes.
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County (2017). Teach your independent highschooler responsibility. EveryParentPBC.org and the EveryParent app on iTunes.
McGinnis, J. C. (2016). Do you have a family media policy? Palm Beach Parenting Magazine, January, 26-29.
McGinnis, J. C. (2015). Our kids need more sleep! Broward County Family Resource Guide 2015-2016, p. 52.
McGinnis, J. C. (2014). Helping picky eaters. Palm Beach Parenting Magazine, January, 18-20.
* Comprehensive CV available upon request.