Dr. Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, C. Psych., Registered Psychologist

Dr. Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, C. Psych., Registered Psychologist

Ph.D./Psy.D. (Université du Québec à Montréal)

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” – Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, 2015

Seeking help is not always easy, but it can be an incredibly rewarding and meaningful experience. As a psychologist at the Ottawa River Psychology Group, it is my privilege to accompany my clients through the incredible process of change that can be experienced through psychotherapy. I am a licensed clinical psychologist in Ontario and Québec. I am also a certified Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C) clinician with Postpartum Support International. I work primarily with people struggling with eating disorders, body image concerns and perinatal mental health difficulties. I offer psychological services in English, French and Spanish.

Education:

I hold a bachelor degree specialized with honours in Psychology from the University of Ottawa and a doctoral degree in Psychology (Psy.D./Ph.D.) from the Université du Québec à Montréal. My doctoral thesis focused on understanding how multicultural people identify to their cultural groups and negotiate their cultural differences as well as the repercussions of these processes on their psychological well-being. My doctoral thesis was awarded a doctoral fellowship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Training and Experience:

Throughout my doctoral training, I have trained in various clinical settings, including a university clinic, a mental-health hospital and private community clinics. My pre-doctoral internship was accomplished at the McGill University Health Centre in the Cognitive-Behavioural Service. Since I have completed my doctoral training, I have also received additional training from the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders, the Contextual Psychology Institute, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, the Compassionate Mind Foundation, Radically Open LTD, and Postpartum Support International.

Over the course of my clinical training, I have primarily trained in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as well as in third-wave approaches, including Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and Radically Open Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (RO-DBT). I have developed an interest and passion for compassion-focused intervention approaches, particularly for Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Additionally, I have received advanced training with the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders and am currently pursuing a Family Based Treatment Therapist Certification with the Institute.

I work primarily with people struggling with Eating Disorders and Body-Image concerns using a Health at Every Size (HAES®) aligned approach, as well as with clients struggling with Perinatal Mental-Health difficulties. I also have experience conducting psychological assessments and psychotherapy with people suffering from Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Trauma-Related Disorders as well as low-self-esteem, relational and adjustment difficulties.

Approach:

My therapeutic approach is collaborative, compassionate, trauma and social justice informed, as well as evidence-based. Working with my clients, I use psychological interventions backed by scientific data to help them make meaningful changes to their lives, ease their suffering, and enhance their well-being.

People with whom I work:

The people with whom I work struggle with (but are not limited to):

– Eating Disorders and Body-Image Concerns

– Perinatal Mental Health Difficulties

– Anxiety Disorders

– Depression

– Self-Esteem Difficulties

– Relational Difficulties

– Adjustment Difficulties

– Multicultural Difficulties

Languages:

I offer services in English, French and Spanish.

Professional affiliations:

  • Association for Contextual Behavioural Science
  • Compassionate Mind Foundation
  • Postpartum Support International
  • International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals

Peer-reviewed publications:

Arias-Valenzuela, M., Amiot, C. E., & Ryder, A. G. (2019). Identity configurations and well-being during normative cultural conflict: The roles of multiculturals’ conflict management strategies and academic stage. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49(5), 970-991. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2566

Arias-Valenzuela, M., Amiot, C. E., & Ryder, A. G. (2016). Which one to take on? Immigrant’s identity acquisition in the context of hyper-diversive Montreal. Canadian Ethnic Studies/Études ethniques au Canada, 48(1), 123-140. doi : 10.1353/ces.2016.0002

Miranda, D., Blais-Rochette, C., Vaugon, K., Osman, M., & Arias-Valenzuela, M. (2015). Towards a cultural-developmental psychology of music in adolescence. Psychology of Music, 43(2), 197-218. doi : 10.1177/0305735613500700

Valenzuela-Pérez, A., Couture, M., & Arias-Valenzuela, M. (2014). Exploring refugee children’s psychological needs through storytelling: A case study of two Latino American children. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 2(3), 172-186. doi:10.1037/lat0000022

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmelisaariasv

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drmelisaariasv

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/drmelisaariasv

Podcast Episode: 

The Balanced Dietitian Podcast with Marie-Pier Pitre-D’Iorio, R.D. : Shame, Compassion and Diet Culture

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2A2jpcrOLHJke45RXOU69C?si=0wOpEuVYSGmYex4AtFONvg

Blog Post: 

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/activity-6726915884096532480-PzO9