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Allison Kelly

Assistant Professor

Allison Kelly.BA (Queen’s University), PhD (McGill University)

Contact information

Self-Attitudes Lab website

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Toronto General Hospital, Eating Disorders Program

I will NOT be accepting a graduate student for Fall 2019.

I am interested in studying theoretical and clinical models that help to explain the variation in well-being and psychopathology we see both across people and within a given person over time. I am particularly drawn to the theory that shame and self-criticism contribute to the development and maintenance of psychopathology, whereas compassion from others, for others, and for self contribute to its prevention and alleviation (see Gilbert, 2005). In my present research, I am testing aspects of this theoretical model in eating disorders, with the aim of enhancing present case conceptualizations and treatments. I would ultimately like to extend this work to other clinical populations and develop empirically-supported interventions that can help self-critical individuals become more open to, and capable of, self-compassion.

My specific interrelated research interests include:

  • The roles of shame, self-criticism, and self-compassion in the development, maintenance, and remission of psychopathology, especially eating disorders;
  • Interventions and therapist behaviours that can reduce shame and self-criticism, and increase self-compassion;
  • Fears of self-compassion and outward compassion, and how best to target these barriers in healthy individuals and those suffering from psychopathology; and
  • The common predictors and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy across treatment modalities and forms of psychopathology.

Representative publications

Clinical interests

I am a registered psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. My main areas of expertise are adult eating disorders and other difficulties relating to eating and body image. I also work with adults suffering from depressive and anxious disorders, and with those struggling more generally with problems such as low self-esteem, perfectionism, stress, and intimacy. My therapeutic orientation is "third wave" cognitive-behavioural, meaning I often integrate acceptance-based, mindfulness, and compassion-focused approaches into my work. I have a great deal of experience with both group and individual therapy, and hope to supervise both of these modalities at the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR).

University of Waterloo

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