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 expertise in Culturally Competent Counselling and Mental Health Care (often referred to as Cross-Cultural Counselling). She also has expertise in Cross-Cultural Adaptation and Immigrant/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, Solution-Focused 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 20 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 competence. 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 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


EDPY 532 - Systems of Counselling

This course introduces the major theories used in counselling/psychotherapy. Priority given to students enrolled in the School and Clinical Child Psychology or Counselling Psychology programs or consent of Department.

Fall Term 2021
EDPY 542 - Cross-Cultural Counselling

Designed to establish a theoretical and practical understanding of the factors that influence the nature and effectiveness of the cross-cultural counselling process. Includes multicultural counselling competencies, ethics in cross-cultural counselling interactions, models of racial and cultural identity development, multicultural assessment procedures, and culture-specific (emic) and universal (etic) helping styles. Priority given to students enrolled in the School and Clinical Child Psychology, Counselling Psychology or Teaching English as a Second Language programs or consent of Department.

Winter Term 2022
EDPY 597 - Special Seminars

Content varies from year to year. Topics announced prior to registration period. The student's transcript carries title descriptive of content. May be repeated.

Fall Term 2021
EDPY 903 - Directed Research Project

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Noorfarah Merali


South Asian Albertan Men's Understandings of Spousal Violence
Author(s): Bajwa, J. & Merali, N.
Publication Date: 8/16/2020
Publication: Violence Against Women
Page Numbers: 1-23

Facilitating economic, psychological, and social acculturation and adaptation: socially just counselling for refugees.
Author(s): Merali, N.
Publication Date: 11/30/2019
Publication: In N. Arthur (Ed.) Counselling in Cultural Context: Identities and Social Justice. International and Cultural Psychology Book Series. New York, NY: Springer International.
Page Numbers: 341-357

Pathways for refugees’ descent into homelessness in Edmonton, Alberta: The urgent need for policy and procedural change
Author(s): St. Arnault, D. & Merali, N.
Publication Date: 10/30/2019
Publication: Journal of International Migration and Integration

Latino immigrant parents’ experiences raising young children in the absence of extended family networks in Canada: Implications for counselling
Author(s): Ansion, M. & Merali, N.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Counselling Psychology Quarterly.

Partner inequities related to immigration fraud in South Asian international arranged marriages.
Author(s): Merali, N., Bajwa, J., & Yousaf, T.
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Journal of International Migration and Integration
Volume: 16
Page Numbers: 1157-1175

Arranged and Forced Marriage
Author(s): Merali, N.
Publication Date: 1/12/2010
Publication: In M. Paludi (Ed.). Feminism and women's rights worldwide - Volume 3: Feminism as human rights. Santa Barbara, CA: Praegar Academic Publishers.
Page Numbers: 101-128

Experiences of South Asian brides entering Canada after recent changes to family sponsorship policies
Author(s): Merali, N.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Violence Against Women
Volume: 15
Page Numbers: 321-339.

Helping Chinese parents understand and support children with learning disabilities.
Author(s): Tews, L., & Merali, N.
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume: 39
Page Numbers: 137-144.

Author(s): Merali, N.
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology
Page Numbers: 502-508. New York: Sage Publications.

Racial/cultural identity transformation among school-based mental health professionals in Nunavut
Author(s): Wihak, C., & Merali, N.
Publication Date: 8/30/2006
Publication: Canadian Journal of Education
Volume: 30
Issue: 1