Noorfarah Merali, BA (Honours), MSc, Ph.D

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education - Educational Psychology Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Education - Educational Psychology Dept
6-127 Education Centre - North
8730 - 112 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G5



Dr. Noorfarah Merali is a Registered Psychologist with a specialization in Cross-Cultural Counselling and Cross-Cultural Adaptation, including Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health. Dr. Merali is a tenured professor in the Counselling Psychology Graduate Program at the University of Alberta, and is a Faculty Fellow of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research. She is a practicing psychologist, psychologist educator, and psychological researcher.

Theoretical Orientation:

Dr. Merali utilizes an integrative approach to individual counselling, drawing on evidence-based strategies from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Multicultural Counselling and Therapy (MCT). When working with couples, Dr. Merali integrates the two most effective couples therapy approaches (The Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy) with Family Systems Theory and MCT to respond to variations in family structure, relationships, roles, values, and experiences across cultures and diverse intersecting identities.

Program Leadership:

Dr. Merali served as the Director of Clinical Training for the Doctoral Program in Counselling Psychology Accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association, as well as the Coordinator for all Counselling Psychology Graduate Programs at the University of Alberta for the 5 year period from September 2008 to April 2013, including the Master’s thesis-based, course-based, and School Counselling programs. She has resumed the role of Coordinator and Director for the School Counselling Master’s Program since September 2017.

Areas of Contribution:

Noorfarah has 22 years of combined experience in work and volunteer roles across the community, post-secondary education, health care, government and private sectors in the areas of: (1) Mental Health Service Delivery and Program Leadership, (2) Teaching, Curriculum Design, and Diversity Training, (3) Program Design and Evaluation, (4) Cross-cultural, Community-based, and Immigration Policy Research, (5) Strategic Planning and Advisement, and (6) Graduate Student Supervision. She has been approached by organizations such as the United Nations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health and Human Resources Development Canada, the Alberta Mental Health Board, and the YWCA for help with projects and programs related to cross-cultural counselling, immigration, refugees, and diversity, or for staff training. Programs she has designed have received recognition from the Canada Council for Refugees and the (national) Minister for the Status of Women as prototypes for excellence in service delivery to culturally diverse communities.


Noorfarah Merali's research interests and publications encompass four intersecting areas: (1) the impact of Canadian immigration policies on migrants’ adjustment and quality of life, (2) cross-cultural individual and family experiences, such as acculturation patterns and the impact of the cultural transition process on immigrant and refugee families and unique challenges that arise in arranged marriages across international borders, (3) immigrant and refugee mental health, and (4) multicultural counselling. Dr. Merali's research program has been funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Status of Women Canada, the Prairie Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration, Integration and Diversity, and the Immigration & Intergovernmental Relations Branch of Alberta Advanced Education & Career Development. Dr. Merali has over 50 publications. A few examples of publications on different topics over the years are included in this profile.


Courses Taught Over the Years:

  • EDPY 442 Introduction to Counselling
  • EDPY 530: Psychopathology and Diagnosis
  • EDPY 532 Systems of Counselling
  • EDPY 542 Cross-Cultural Counselling
  • EDPY 543 Mental Health Assessment
  • EDPY 544: Principles of Psychological Testing and Assessment
  • EDPY 550A School Counselling Practicum Part I
  • EDPY 550B School Counselling Practicum Part II
  • EDPY 597 A1 Cross-Cultural Research & Practice
  • EDPY 597 A3 Psychopathology & Diagnosis
  • EDPY 640 Advanced Diagnostic Assessment
  • EDPY 903, B1 Project and Capping Exercise in the Course-based Master's Program in Counselling Psychology
  • EDPY 903 X1 Project and Capping Exercise in the Master's Program in School Counselling

Featured Publications

South Asian Albertan Men's Understandings of Spousal Violence

Bajwa, J. & Merali, N.

Violence Against Women. 2020 August;

Facilitating economic, psychological, and social acculturation and adaptation: socially just counselling for refugees.

Merali, N.

In N. Arthur (Ed.) Counselling in Cultural Context: Identities and Social Justice. International and Cultural Psychology Book Series. New York, NY: Springer International.. 2019 November;

Pathways for refugees’ descent into homelessness in Edmonton, Alberta: The urgent need for policy and procedural change

St. Arnault, D. & Merali, N.

Journal of International Migration and Integration. 2019 October;

Ansion, M. & Merali, N.

Counselling Psychology Quarterly.. 2017 January;

Merali, N., Bajwa, J., & Yousaf, T.

Journal of International Migration and Integration. 2015 January; 16

Arranged and Forced Marriage

Merali, N.

In M. Paludi (Ed.). Feminism and women's rights worldwide - Volume 3: Feminism as human rights. Santa Barbara, CA: Praegar Academic Publishers.. 2010 January;

Merali, N.

Violence Against Women. 2009 January; 15

Tews, L., & Merali, N.

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 2008 January; 39

Merali, N.

Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology. 2008 January;

Racial/cultural identity transformation among school-based mental health professionals in Nunavut

Wihak, C., & Merali, N.

Canadian Journal of Education. 2006 August; 30 (1)