Compassionate Minded Moms: Compassion-Focused Skills Group for Women Struggling With Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

In this online 8-week course with Dr. Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, Ph.D. you will:

  • Gain an understanding around why you may be struggling with symptoms of anxiety, depression and self-criticism and learn some associated safety strategies
  • Learn how compassion may help you work with these experiences
  • Build a capacity for compassion by contacting your soothing system
  • Develop compassion for those around you
  • Learn about self-compassion and how to practice it

This course is for you if you are a pregnant woman (20th week or over) or a mother to a newborn (less than 1 year since delivery) who struggles with:

  • Symptoms of anxiety and/or depression
  • High levels of self-criticism

Dates and Times:

This online course runs for 8 Fridays (skipping April 2 Good Friday) from 9:00-10:30am as follows:

  • March 12, 2021
  • March 19, 2021
  • March 26, 2021
  • April 9, 2021
  • April 16, 2021
  • April 23, 2021
  • April 30, 2021
  • May 7, 2021

Cost:  $550  Early Bird Pricing:  $500 if registered and paid by February 26, 2021.

Payment in full due at the time of registration by e-transfer to or credit card through our Ottawa River Psychology Group administrator at 613-656-3331.  See information below on how to register.

Refunds available until 7 days prior to course start date.

Receipts are offered for insurance coverage by extended health insurance. Please check with your insurance plan before registering for the course if you plan to seek reimbursement and if you are not sure if your insurance provider will cover this very valuable course. Student experiences with their insurance plans have varied in the past.  Many insurance companies in Canada, the US and abroad have a history of covering this course.


This course is being offered online via Zoom due to COVID-19.  The Zoom link will be sent to registrants on March 11, 2021.

To Register:

Contact the office at 613-656-3331 or to schedule your complimentary pre-registration consultation with Dr. Arias-Valenzuela to confirm group fit.  NOTE:  This is a requirement prior to registration.

Consultations are 10-15 minutes long and are offered Mondays between 2:00-3:00pm or Fridays between 10:00-11:00am beginning February 1, 2021 (based on availability).  Please contact the office to book or to answer any questions you may have.

Special Note: 

Although babies will be welcomed in this course, it is strongly encouraged that you take this time for you. New moms rarely have time to themselves and so, as a compassionate practice, we encourage you to take this time for yourself if it is possible.

Although therapeutic, this course is not intended to be a therapy group. The aim is to help participants to develop compassionate skills for symptoms of anxiety, depression and self-criticism.

About Group Instructor:

Dr. Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, C. Psych. (interim autonomous practice) is a licensed psychologist in the provinces of Québec and Ontario and is an associate at the Ottawa River Psychology Group. She also is a certified Perinatal Mental Health therapist (PMH-C).  She holds a bachelor’s degree specialized with honours in Psychology from the University of Ottawa and a doctoral degree  (Psy.D./Ph.D.) in Psychology from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Dr. Arias-Valenzuela specializes in working with people struggling with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She has a special interest and passion for compassionate intervention approaches, particularly for Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). She is a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the Compassionate Mind Foundation and Postpartum Support International. Dr. Arias-Valenzuela has led many clinical workshops on the therapeutic use of compassion practices, including the 2020 Meeting of the Canadian Network for Compassion Focused Therapy.About Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT):

About Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT):

CFT is a form of evidence-based, Third-Wave Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy that integrates the neuroscience of positive emotion, evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology and methods derived from Buddhist psychology. Founded by British psychologist Dr. Paul Gilbert, CFT helps people experiencing high levels of shame and self-criticism by developing and working with experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing, via compassion and self-compassion. Treatment interventions targeting compassion have been shown to significantly improve perinatal depressive symptoms (see Lennard, Mitchell, & Whittingham (2020), Randomized controlled trial of a brief online selfcompassion intervention for mothers of infants: Effects on mental health outcomes. Journal of Clinical Psychology, doi: 10.1002/jclp.23068).


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