Allison Kelly

Associate Professor


Dr. Allison Kelly

BA (Queen’s University), PhD (McGill University)

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Toronto General Hospital, Eating Disorders Program

Contact information

Self-Attitudes Lab website

I will be accepting a graduate student for Fall 2025.

Research Interests

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)


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

Clinical Training

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).

Clinical Practice

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.