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 consecutive Fridays from 9:00-10:30am as follows:

  • September 18
  • September 25
  • October 2
  • October 16
  • October 23
  • October 30
  • November 6
  • November 13

Cost:  $550  Early Bird Pricing:  $500 if paid by August 21st 2020.

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 September 17.

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 from Friday Aug 7- Friday Sept 11 (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.

About Group Instructor:

Dr. Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, Ph.D., is a doctoral associate at the Ottawa River Psychology Group and is currently pursuing her registration to become a clinical psychologist in Ontario. She holds a bachelor’s degree specialized with honours from the University of Ottawa and a doctoral degree in Psychology from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Melisa 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).

Melisa has received advanced training from Postpartum Support International and is in the process of completing her certification in Perinatal Mental Health. She is a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the Compassionate Mind Foundation and Postpartum Support International. Melisa 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): 

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, Ph.D., 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.


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