Dr. Kamala Pilgrim, C.Psych., Doctoral-level Clinician, Registered Psychologist

Dr. Kamala Pilgrim, C.Psych., Doctoral-level Clinician, Registered Psychologist

Ph.D. (Concordia University)

When we are struggling, as we all will at some point in our lives, one of the bravest actions we can take is to open our hearts and minds to seeking appropriate help. Sometimes this takes the form of finding the right psychotherapist to assist you in moving forward.

I view life as a journey we are all traveling together. Along our path we encounter circumstances, make choices, and/or simply become overwhelmed in ways that can shake us to our core, impacting our emotional well-being and ability to progress effectively. During these times, we may experience despair, confusion, anger, fear, loneliness, and a host of other mixed feelings and thoughts.

My goal as a clinical psychologist is to help you disentangle your internal experience to achieve a balanced perspective of yourself and your own unique story in ways that help you cope with challenges including painful or distressing emotions, and create the life you desire.

Check out Dr. Pilgrim’s interview on Yoga and CBT for Generalized Anxiety Disorder here http://ottawariverpsychology.com/yoga-and-cbt-for-anxiety/


I hold a master’s of science degree in neuroscience from McGill University in Montréal, Québec. My related thesis investigated the impact of information processing biases on physiological (i.e., cortisol and heart rate) and mood responses to a stressful social situation.

I completed a master’s of arts and doctoral degree in the clinical psychology program at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec. My dissertation examined how modifying attentional biases by training individuals to shift attention toward adaptive, social cues can influence the magnitude of stress reactivity.


Psychotherapy Approach

My overall approach to psychotherapy is client-centered and processed-based; I strive to foster and maintain a warm, sincere, accepting, compassionate, and supportive environment that is respectful and attentive in honouring each individuals’ unique character, needs, and inner strengths, and within which core issues can be understood, nurtured, and/or modified in an interactive, collaborative manner. I consider cases from a constructivistic perspective in that I see individuals as active agents who are capable of generating meaning based on their past and present experiences. Thus, therapy is not something that will be happening to you but rather, an interactive process occurring with you. Together we will aim to help you manage distress while exploring avenues to enhance your quality of life.

In my first and sometimes second appointment as well, I take time to get to know you; to gather information and develop an understanding of the relevant environmental, biological, social, emotional, and cognitive influences that shape your specific presenting concerns, develop a treatment plan, and identify therapy goals.

When it comes to the interventions I use, I am primarily trained in evidence-based, third-wave psychotherapy treatments; that is, cognitive and schema therapy, dialectical behavioural, and mindfulness interventions.



Throughout my years of doctoral training I conducted psychotherapy practicums and a predoctoral internship under supervision with adults and late adolescents (ages 18 years and up) diagnosed with a variety of mental health concerns including social and generalized anxiety, chronic stress, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression. I have seen these clients in outpatient settings including the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Specialized CBT for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder departments affiliated with the McGill University Health Centre, as well as the Pain Clinic of the Montréal General Hospital in Québec.

I also completed a one year, postdoctoral internship at Atlanta Psychological Services and worked under supervision as an associate therapist for a short period at the Care and Counseling Centre of Georgia, also in Atlanta.

In March 2017, I began working exclusively in autonomous private practice (see Professional Psychological Affiliations, below) at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships in Ottawa, Ontario. In September 2018, I joined the Ottawa River Psychology Group in order to continue building my knowledge and proficiency in the implementation of CBT and third-wave interventions in autonomous, private practice.


Professional Psychological Affiliations
I am a fully registered member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario (Certificate #6258), approved to conduct psychotherapy autonomously with adults. I was formally registered with l’Ordre des Psychologues du Québec while residing in Montréal.

I am presently a member of the Ontario Psychological Association.


Populations with whom I work

I presently see individuals experiencing anxiety and chronic stress, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulties adjusting to life transitions.


Continuing Education

I regularly attend educational lectures and workshops to further my training in the field. I value learning from other mental health professionals and take part in peer consultations often.


Additional Certification 


I am a life-long practitioner of Yoga having discovered and begun practicing this philosophy at the age of 12. I became a certified Yoga instructor (200 hour) in 2016 completing my training at “Infinity Yoga” (Now known as “YogaWorks Atlanta”) in Georgia. I continue to be fascinated by the science of Yoga and passionately practice meditation, breath awareness and regulation, asana (body movement, and posture), and sound healing (e.g., mantra repetition/singing) in my own life. I also strive to incorporate these practices into my psychotherapy sessions with clients when deemed appropriate. As with any intervention I implement, I am committed to using those strategies that are supported by the scientific literature.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Pilgrim, K., Ellenbogen, M., & Paquin, K. (2014). The impact of attentional training on the salivary cortisol and alpha amylase response to psychosocial stress: Importance of attentional control. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 44, 88-99.

Pilgrim, K., Marin, M.F., & Lupien, S.J. (2010). Attentional orienting toward social stress stimuli predicts increased cortisol responsivity to psychosocial stress irrespective of the early socioeconomic status. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(4), 588-595.

Marin, M.F., Pilgrim, K., & Lupien, S.J. (2010). Stress increases reactivated emotional memories: Implications for trauma victims. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(9), 1388-1396.


November 2019 Third Wave Grand Rounds presentation by Dr. Kamala Pilgrim C.Psych.