University of Calgary

Kaori Wada

  • Associate Professor


Born and raised in Japan, Dr. Wada first came to Canada as an international student. She received her BA in Human Relations from Concordia University. She went on to pursue MA and PhD in Counselling Psychology at McGill University, where she gained clinical experience at a high school, university counselling/mental health services, and community and hospital outpatient clinics. She also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses as a part-time instructor at Concordia and McGill. In 2016, she joined Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. Wada is a multicultural, feminist, social justice researcher. She has a particular passion in research that is international and interdisciplinary in nature. Specifically, she has two streams of research interests––cross-cultural adjustment and thanatology (i.e., the study of death, dying, and bereavement) with culture as an overarching theme. Topics from her previous scholarly work include: the experiences of Japanese women who have returned to Japan after having studied in North America; immigrant and international students’ cross-cultural adjustment; a theoretical integration of grief theories and the principles of Buddhist psychology; death education in Japan and Canada. Dr. Wada’s current program of research will examine the cultural difference in the boundary between normal and pathological grief.

Graduate Supervision: Dr. Wada is unavailable to take on a new supervisee for the fall of 2022 intake.  

Current Projects:

  • Medicalization grief: Looping effects and its alternatives.Insight Development Grant, Social Science and Humanity Research Council ($71,000, PI)

  • Centering student learning in social pedagogy in Canadian Counselling Psychology. University of Calgary Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant ($39,950, Co-PI)

  • The cultural shaping of normal and pathological grief (Principle Investigator). Eyes High International Collaborative Grant for New Researcher, University of Calgary ($12,500, PI), and International Research Seed Grant, Werklund School of Education ($10,000)         
  • Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization Grant (5,000,000 yen; approximately CAD$ 56,000), International Researcher



Counselling Psychology, McGill University

Counselling Psychology, McGill University

Human Relations & Psychology (Minor), Concordia

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr. Wada was a member of the Ad-hoc Committee on Ethics Review (2011-2012) within the Counselling Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association. Additionally, she was on the conference planning committee for the 2011 Inaugural Canadian Counselling Psychology Conference in Montreal. Internationally, Dr. Wada has been involved with several committees within Division 17 of the American Psychological Association and Association of Death Education and Counselling. Most recently, she was recognized as one of 40 Emerging Psychologists at the 2016 International Congress of Psychology, Yokohama, Japan. Dr. Wada served as a organizational commitee member for the 2018 Counselling Canadian Psychology Conference, to be held in Octorber 2018


Peer-Reviewed Articles

West, A. M., Wada, K., & Strong, T. (2021). Authenticating and legitimizing transgender and gender non-conforming identities online: A discourse analysis. Journal of LGBTQ Issues in Counseling.15(2), 195-223,

Cohen, J. A., Kassan, A., Wada, K., Arthur, N. & Goopy, S. (2021). Enhancing students’ multicultural and social justice competencies through responsive pedagogy in Canadian counselling psychology. Canadian Psychology / Psychologie Canadienne. Advance online publication.

Buote, L. C., Wada, K., Russell-Mayhew, S., & Feldstain, A. (2021). MAID in Canada: Addressing the role of psychologists in relation to Bill C-14. Canadian Psychology / Psychologie Canadienne. Advance online publication.

Wada, K., Kassan, A., Domene, J. F., R. P. Bedi., Kintzel, F. & West, A. C. (2020). The future of counselling psychology education and training in Canada: A post-conference reflection.  Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 54(4), 572-594.

Wada, K., Buote, L. C., & Kawamoto, S. (2020). Perceptions of ideal grief and continuing bonds: Undergraduate student survey on persistent complex bereavement disorder. Death Studies. Advance online publication,

Didehvar, M. & Wada, K. (2020). The relationships between identity styles and career indecision among Iranian female adolescents. Emerging Perspectives, 4(2), 106-112

Wada, K., & Suzuki, H. (2019). ‘All other things being equal…’: Conducting cross-cultural research in counsellingpsychology. Proceedings from the 2018 Canadian Counselling Psychology Conference, 162-175.

Wada, K., McGroarty, E. J., Tomaro, J., & Amundsen-Dainow, E.(2019). Affirmative career counselling with transgender and gender non-conforming clients: A social justice perspective. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 53, 255-275.

Sasaki, J., Wada, K., & Tanno, Y. (2013). Understanding egorrhea from cultural-clinical psychology.Frontiers in Psychology, 894.

Park-Saltzman, J., Wada, K., & Mogami, T. (2012). Mentoring Asian international mentees in Counseling Psychology programs. The Counseling Psychologist, 40, 895-915.

Sinacore, A. L., Park-Saltzman, J., Mikhail, A. & Wada, K. (2011). Falling through the cracks: Academic and career challenges faced by immigrant graduate students in Canada. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 45, 168-187.

Wada, K., & Park, J. (2009). Integration of Buddhist psychology into grief counseling. Death Studies, 33(7), 657-683.

Wada, K. (2009). カナダの死生学とデス・エデゥケーション[Thanatology and death education in Canada: A practice report / Kanada deno death education to thanatology], Gendai no Espuri [Contemporary Perspectives] (Japanese), 499, 53-62.

Invited Article

Robinder P. B., Domene, J. F., Kassan, A., Wada, K. & (2020). Introduction to special issue: 2018 Canadian Counselling Psychology Conference. (Authorship after the first author appears in alphabetical order but represent equal contribution)

Wada, K. (2020). クライアントの経済困窮感と心理療法 [Clients’ financial distress in psychotherapy / kuraianto no keizaiteki konkyukan to shinri ryoho]. 臨床心理学/ Japanese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 20(3), 360-364.

Book Chapters/Entries

Wada, K. (Accepted). Medicalization of grief: Its impact and alternatives. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Critical Perspectives on Mental Health. Palgrave.

Wada, K. & Kassan, A. (2022). The internationalization of counseling psychology and psychotherapy: Decolonizing diversity and social justice training. In A. Kassan & R. Moodley (Eds.), Diversity and social justice in counseling psychology and psychotherapy: A case study approach. Cognella.

Non-Referred Publications

Jubas, K., Seidel, J., Beck, J. L., & Wada, K. (2020, May). Under the guise of coronavirus response, Alberta justifies education cuts. The Conversation.

Sinacore, A. L., Van Vliet, K. J. & Wada, K. (2012, July) Report of Section for Counselling Psychology Ad Hoc Committee to review the 2000 (Third Edition), Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists.

Invited Presentations

Wada, K. (2017, September). Spiritual care in contemporary psychology in North America and surround factors. In S. Shimazono (Chair), Contemporary developments of spiritual care. Invited symposium conducted at the Institute of Grief Care, Sophia University, Tokyo.  

Wada, K. (2016, July). The interplay between sociocultural factors and psychological processes in cross-cultural transitioning. In. Wada, H. (Chair), Dynamics of adaptive changes in individual life and community life: Toward successful adaptation. Invited symposium conducted at the 31st International Congress of Psychology, Yokohama, Japan.

Doctoral Dissertation

Wada, K (2016). Japanese women’s reentry to Japan after studying in North America: A narrative inquiry. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. McGill University, Montreal, QC. (Supervisor: Ada L. Sinacore, Ph.D.) *Won the Counselling Psychology Section Best Doctoral Dissertation Award (Canadian Psychological Association) as well as a departmental nomination for the 2016 Prix d'excellence de l'Association des doyens des études supérieures au Québec.


  • 2021 John C. Service Member of the Year Award (given as a member of the Psychology Works for COVID-19 Volunteer Group), Canadian Psychological Association 
  • 2017 Counselling Psychology Section Best Doctoral Dissertation Award, Canadian Psychological Association
  • 2016 Emerging Psychologist, International Congress of Psychology
  • 2011 Spirit of Giving Award, Concordia Council of Student Life, Concordia University
  • 2010 Division 17/Section for the Advancement of Women Dissertation and Thesis Award, American Psychological Association
  • 2010 Margaret Gillett Graduate Research Award, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, McGill University
  • 2008-2011 Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture Bourse de doctorat en recherché (Awarded $60,000: Accepted $20,000)
  • 2008-2010 Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2006-2007 Max Stern Recruitment Fellowship, McGill University
  • 2006-2007 Recruitment Excellence Fellowship, McGill University
  • 2004 A. Ross Seaman Leadership Memorial Award, Concordia University
  • 2002-04, 07 Student Initiative Conference Scholarship, Association for Death Education and Counseling



Photograph of Kaori Wada
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