BA (Queen’s University), PhD (McGill University)
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Toronto General Hospital, Eating Disorders Program
I will not be accepting a graduate student for Fall 2024.
My lab uses diverse methods to study theoretical models that help to explain the variation in well-being and psychopathology we see both across people and within a given person over time. The theory behind compassion-focused therapy (see Gilbert, 2005) has inspired a great deal of our research. In particular, we study the ways in which shame and self-criticism contribute to the development and maintenance of psychopathology, and compassion from others, for others, and for self contribute to its prevention and alleviation. My lab is primarily focused on testing the applicability of compassion-focused therapy, and its underlying theoretical model, to people with eating disorders and body image difficulties. We also study interventions designed help people become more self-compassionate and compassionate with others.
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 people with eating disorders; and
- The social contexts that facilitate versus undermine self-compassion, compassion for others, healthy body image, and intuitive eating.
Representative publications (A full list of our lab’s publications)
- Kelly, A. C., & Waring, S. V. (2018). A feasibility study of a 2‐week self‐compassionate letter‐writing intervention for nontreatment seeking individuals with typical and atypical anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 51, 1005-1009. DOI: 10.1002/eat.22930
- Kelly, A.C., & Stephen, E. (2016). A daily diary study of self-compassion, body image, and eating behavior in female college students. Body Image, 17, 152-160. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.03.006
- Kelly, A.C., Carter, J.C., & Borairi, S. (2014). Are improvements in shame and self-compassion early in eating disorders treatment associated with better patient outcomes? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 54–64. DOI: 10.1002/eat.22196.
- Kelly, A.C., Carter, J.C., Zuroff, D.C., & Borairi, S. (2013). Self-compassion and fear of self-compassion interact to predict response to eating disorders treatment: A preliminary investigation. Psychotherapy Research, 23, 252-264. DOI 10.1080/10503307.2012.717310.
I run the Self-Attitudes Lab, which typically consists of 3-5 graduate students in our clinical psychology program, undergraduate honours thesis students, undergraduate research assistants, and a lab manager. We have regular lab meetings in which we get to learn about and offer suggestions on each other’s work in a supportive and dynamic environment. Our lab’s research has been funded by Social Sciences and Humanities research Council and Ontario Mental Health Foundation.
- Psych 257 – Psychopathology
- Psych 716 – Adult Psychopathology
- Psych 728 – Psychotherapy: Classical Roots & Contemporary Developments
I have been continuously involved in the clinical supervision of the graduate students in our clinical psychology program. As of Fall 2019, I will be supervising a compassion-focused therapy group for adults with eating disorders in our Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment (CMHRT).
I am a registered psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. I have a small private practice run out of the Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment (CMHRT). My areas of expertise are eating disorders and self-criticism. My therapeutic work usually involves compassion-focused therapy, and integrates acceptance-based, mindfulness, and cognitive-behaviour approaches depending on the client.