K Jessica Van Vliet

K. Jessica Van Vliet

Associate Professor

Educational Psychology
jvanvliet@ualberta.ca


Research and Interests

My research is grounded in counselling psychology’s traditional emphasis on strengths, resilience, and diverse ways of human knowing and being.  As one of the greatest of human strengths, compassion has been the focus of much research in my lab.  Together, my students and I have been studying compassion, self-compassion, and mindfulness as they relate to emotion regulation and the alleviation of emotional distress.  Our research spans a range of contexts and populations, from the study of self-compassion among women who have experienced sexual assault and other forms of trauma, to a nuanced exploration of young men’s experiences of receiving compassion from others.  We have also conducted research on compassion-based interventions for working with shame and shame-related issues and behaviours.

Theoretical Orientation

My theoretical approach to counselling psychology can best be described as integrative.  I lean toward approaches that emphasize awareness and compassionate acceptance of personal experience, as a foundation for choosing new behaviours and courses of action.  In working with clients, I draw largely from Compassion-Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and mindfulness interventions (e.g., Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), as well as Emotion Focused Therapy.  Throughout my practice, I attempt to tailor counselling to the unique needs, strengths, and cultural background of each client.


Professional Affiliations

Current professional affiliations include: Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA). I am also a Registered Psychologist and member of the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP).

Representative Publications


Klingle, K. L, & Van Vliet, K. J. (2017). Self-compassion from the adolescent perspective. Journal of Adolescent Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1177/0743558417722768

Van Vliet, K. J., Foskett, A. J., Williams, J. L., Singhal, A., Dolcos, F., & Vohra, S. (2017). Impact of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program from the perspective of adolescents with serious mental health concerns. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 22, 16-22. doi:10.1111/camh.12170

Van Vliet, K. J., Klingle, K. E., & Hiseler, L. E. (2013). The mentorship of undergraduate students in counselling psychology research. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 26, 304. doi:10.1080/09515070.2013.844095

Van Vliet, K. J., & Kalnins, G. R. C. (2011). A compassion-focused approach to nonsuicidal self-injury. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 33(4), 295-311. doi:10.17744/mehc.33.4.j7540338q223t417

Van Vliet, K. J. (2010). Shame and avoidance in trauma. In E. Martz (Ed.), Trauma Rehabilitation After War and Conflict: Community and Individual Perspectives (pp. 247-264). New York: Springer.

Van Vliet, K. J. (2009). The role of attributions in the process of overcoming shame: A qualitative analysis. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 82, 137-152. doi:10.1348/147608308x389391

Van Vliet, K. J. (2008). Shame and resilience in adulthood: A grounded theory study. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55, 233-245. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.55.2.233


Courses Taught

  • EDPY 442: Introduction to Counselling
  • EDPY 503: Qualitative Methods of Education Research
  • EDPY 534: Basic Skills, Issues, and Attitudes in Counselling II
  • EDPY 633: Advanced Counselling Practicum I