Noorfarah Merali

Noorfarah Merali

Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology

Educational Psychology
6-102 Education Centre North


Dr. Noorfarah Merali is a Registered Counselling Psychologist with expertise in Immigrant Families, Cross-cultural Adaptation, and Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health. She is a tenured professor in the Counselling Psychology Graduate Program, and is a Faculty Fellow of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research. She has also been an Affiliate Faculty Member of the University of Alberta's Prairie Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration, Integration, and Diversity since its inception.

Dr. Merali was the Director of Training for Counselling Psychology Graduate Programs at the University of Alberta for the 5 year period from September 2008 to April 2013, overseeing the Doctoral program, as well as the Master’s thesis-based, course-based, and School Counselling programs. She has over 15 years of combined experience across the non-profit, post-secondary education, health care, and government sectors in the areas of: (1) Mental Health Program Leadership, (2) Teaching, Curriculum Design, and Diversity Training, (3) Program Design and Evaluation, (4) Cross-cultural, Community-based Research, (5) Strategic Planning and Advisement, (6) Fundraising, and (7) 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, the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association, and Immigrant Services Calgary for help with projects and programs related to immigration, or for staff training. Programs she has designed have received recognition from the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Minister for Status of Women Canada as prototypes for excellence in service delivery to immigrant and refugee communities.

Most recently, upon the request of Directors of several of Edmonton’s major non-profit counselling and social service agencies tasked with serving Syrian newcomers (Catholic Social Services, YWCA, and Islamic Family and Social Support Services), Dr. Merali provided an all day staff training and professional development session entitled “Responding to Syrian Refugee Mental Health Needs and Facilitating Resilience in the Aftermath of War and Disaster”. She has been asked by the Executive Committee of the Alberta Teacher’s Association Council of School Counsellors to deliver similar professional development sessions for school counsellors across Alberta in the upcoming months. In addition, Noorfarah is presently assisting YWCA Edmonton to adapt their Girls Space Program for delivery to Syrian youth, upon the request of the City of Edmonton and Reach Edmonton. The Girls Space Program is a national YWCA initiative promoting life skills development, emotional resilience, and empowerment of female children and youth that was originally developed for mainstream populations. Noorfarah is serving as the content expert on cross-cultural program development for this project and is assisting with strategic planning for serving the Syrian refugee population.

Noorfarah also recently provided a policy briefing for Senior Policy Officers in the Children’s Consular Services Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Government of Canada upon their request, to inform them about findings of her past research studies and community work in the areas of immigration, arranged and forced marriage, and domestic violence, and how the research findings can shape policy directions for the Unit’s efforts to try to prevent child maltreatment when immigrant families living in Canada send their children back home or abroad for harmful cultural practices. 

Research and Interests

Noorfarah Merali's research interests and publications encompass four general areas: (1) family class immigration and immigration fraud, (2) acculturation patterns and the impact of the cultural transition process on immigrant and refugee families, (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. 

Professional Association Memberships

Dr. Merali is a member of the College of Alberta Psychologists, Canadian Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, and Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (International).

Selective Representative Publications

A few examples of Dr. Merali's most recent publications are listed below:

Merali, N. (2015). Money is the root of all evil: Modern-day dowries in South Asian international arranged marriages. In S. Safdar & N. Kosakowska-Berezecka (Eds.), Psychology of gender through the lens of culture: Theories and Applications (pp. 37-54). New York: Springer.

Merali, N., Bajwa, J., & Yousaf, T. (2015). Partner inequities related to immigration fraud in South Asian international arranged marriages. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 16(4), 1157-1175.

Merali, N. (2014). An insider viewpoint on cultural norms for marriage and mate selection relevant to immigration fraud detection in South Asian international arranged marriages. Culture and pedagogical inquiry, 6(2), 4-16.

Merali, N., Bajwa, J., Yousaf, T., & Sehgal, S. (2014). Immigration fraud patterns in arranged marriages between South Asian Canadians and foreign nationals: The case for policy and procedural change. In K. Kilbride (Ed.,) Immigrant integration: Research implications for future policy (pp. 279-294). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press.

Merali, N. (2012). Arranged and forced marriage. In M. Paludi (Ed.), The Psychology of Love: Volume III - Meaning and Culture (pp. 143-168). Santa Barbara, CA: Praegar Academic Publishers. 

Merali, N. (2009). Experiences of South Asian brides entering Canada after recent changes to family sponsorship policies. Violence Against Women, 15, 321-339. 

Merali, N. (2008). Immigration. In N. Salkind (Ed.,) Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology (pp.502-508). New York: Sage Publications. 

Merali, N. (2008). Social conditions and refugee mental health before and after migration. In M. K. Zimmermann (Ed.), Political refugees: Social conditions, health, and psychological characteristics (pp. 1-31). New York: Nova Science Publishers. 

Merali, N. (2008). Theoretical frameworks for studying female marriage migrants. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, 281-289.   

Merali, N. (2008). Rights-based education for South Asian sponsored wives in international arranged marriages. Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, 39, 205-220.   

Merali, N. (2008). Cross-cultural adjustment for professional immigrant families: Critical incident. In N. Arthur & P. Pedersen (Eds.), Case incidents in counseling for international transitions (pp. 189-192). Washington, DC: American Counseling Association.   

Merali, N. (2008). Coping with isolation and family losses: Counseling responses for distressed refugees. In N. Arthur & P. Pedersen (Eds.), Case incidents in counseling for international transitions (pp. 211-217). Washington, DC: American Counseling Association. 

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

Wihak, C., & Merali, N. (2007). Adaptations of professional ethics among counselors living and working in a remote Native Canadian community. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 35(3), 169-181. 

Merali, N. (2005). Perceived experiences of Central American refugees who favourably judge the family's cultural transition process. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 27, 345-357. 

Merali, N. (2004). Individual assimilation status and intergenerational gaps in Hispanic refugee families.  International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 26, 21-32. 

Merali, N. (2004). Family experiences of Central Americal refugees who overestimate intergenerational gaps.  Canadian Journal of Counselling, 38, 91-103. 

Merali, N. (2003). Incorporating Confucian Chinese spiritual beliefs into cognitive-behavioural therapy for post-traumatic stress. In F.D. Harper & J. McFadden (Eds.), Culture and Counseling: New approaches (pp. 252-255). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Courses Taught

  • EDPY 442 Introduction to Counselling
  • EDPY 532 Systems of Counselling
  • EDPY 542 Cross-Cultural Counselling
  • EDPY 550 School Counselling Practicum
  • EDPY 597 Cross-Cultural Research & Practice
  • EDPY 640 Diagnostic Assessment
  • EDPY 903 Course-Based Master's Program Capping Projects