Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, Ph.D Doctoral Associate

Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, Ph.D Doctoral Associate

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

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

– Dr. Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, 2015

Seeking help is not always easy, but it can be an incredibly rewarding and meaningful experience. As a doctoral associate 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 hold a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and am currently in the process of pursuing my autonomous registration to become a doctoral clinical psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Until I receive my full registration, all of the psychological services that I offer are supervised by Dr. Kimberly Sogge, Ph.D., C. Psych. I offer services in English, French and Spanish.


I hold a bachelor degree in psychology from the University of Ottawa and a doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D.-Psy.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:

I have received clinical training in various settings, including a university clinic, a mental-health hospital and private clinics. My pre-doctoral internship was accomplished at the McGill University Health Centre in the Cognitive-Behavioural Service in which I completed my primary rotation in the bariatric surgery clinic, and secondary rotations the mood disorders clinic and the anxiety disorders clinic. I have also received additional training from the Contextual Psychology Institute, the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders, the Center for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford and Postpartum Support International.

Over the course of my clinical training, I have been primarily trained in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as well as in some third-wave approaches, including Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectal-Behavioural Therapy (DBT). More recently, I’ve developed an interest and passion for compassionate intervention approaches, particularly for Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), and have been training in these approaches ever since.

I specialize in working with clients struggling with Eating Disorders and Body-Image concerns, as well as with those 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.


My therapeutic approach is collaborative, compassionate and 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

Professional affiliations:

– Association for Contextual Behavioural Science
– Compassionate Mind Foundation
– Postpartum Support International

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


Brown, B. (2015). Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent. New York, NY, US: Gotham.