Clinician Spotlight Featuring Dr. Melisa Arias-Valenzuela, C. Psych.

  • What is your current job title? Clinical Psychologist
  • What are your current educational credentials? Doctorate in Psychology (Ph.D./Psy. D.) from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Bachelors degree specialized with honours in Psychology (B.A.) from the University of Ottawa. 
  • What inspired you to become a clinician in the field of eating disorder treatment? I was inspired to work in the field of eating disorders as I started witnessing how many incredible, creative, sensitive, kind and smart people suffered so much.
  • Tell us about your journey as a clinician from your first role to your current role. I began working in the field of eating disorders when I completed a rotation working with bariatric surgery patients in the CBT service of the McGill University Health Center for my pre-doctoral internship. I was shocked by the amount of pain and suffering that patients experienced, particularly linked to the shame of struggling with eating disorders and being in larger bodies. From then on, I decided to continue working in this field and worked in several clinics with a specialty in eating disorder treatment as well as continued seeking additional training in this field. In October 2021, I decided to start my own practice called Uprise Psychology & Wellness based in Ottawa, ON. Starting this practice, I was not only able to continue working with clients struggling with eating disorders but also to train and supervise new clinicians as well as to provide workshops for health professionals hoping to help more people struggling with eating disorders.
  • What do you currently see as the greatest barriers to eating disorder treatment and recovery? Lack of access and lack of proper services due to lack of education are the biggest barriers to eating disorder treatment and recovery.
  • What advice would you give to those considering a career in eating disorder treatment? Examine your own biases. Diet culture is so insidious and impacts us all. Doing consistent work to examine how it has impacted you, and then shifting, is an essential part of doing this work.
  • What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of work? I love hiking, baking, trying new wines, reading novels for my book club and spending quality time with my little one and my fur-babies.
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