Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, Doctoral Associate

Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, Doctoral Associate

Ph.D. candidate

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

– Dr. Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, 2015

Seeking help is not always an easy decision, 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 am a doctoral candidate in the process of completing my doctoral degree in clinical psychology and 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.

Education:

I hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Ottawa. I am completing my doctorate in psychology (Ph.D.-Psy.D.) at the Université du Québec à Montréal. I plan to defend my thesis and complete my doctoral program in the next few months. My doctoral dissertation focuses 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 project was awarded a doctoral fellowship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Training and Experience:I

I have received clinical training in various settings, including a university clinic, a mental-health hospital and a private clinic. My pre-doctoral internship was accomplished at the McGill University Health Centre in the Cognitive-Behavioural Service in which I completed rotations in the bariatric surgery clinic, the mood disorders clinic and the anxiety disorders clinic. I also co-facilitated therapy groups for social anxiety and perinatal mental health. In the last few years, I have received training in the treatment of eating disorders and body-image difficulties.

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. I have experiences conducting psychological assessments and psychotherapy of people suffering from anxiety disorders, mood disorders, trauma-related disorders as well as low-self-esteem, relational and adjustment difficulties. I have a special interest in working with multicultural and perinatal populations. In the last years, I have also developed an interest and some expertise working with eating disorders and body-image difficulties.

Approach:

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.

Populations with whom I work:

The populations with whom I work include (but are not limited to):
– Eating disorders and body-image difficulties
– Anxiety disorders
– Depression
– Self-esteem difficulties
– Relational difficulties
– Adjustment difficulties
– Multicultural difficulties
– Perinatal mental health difficulties

Professional affiliations:

– Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS)
– Academy for Eating Disorders (AED)

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. Advance online publication. 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

Reference:
Brown, B. (2015). Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The
Way We Live, Love, Parent