Dr. David Stern - Therapist in Providence, RI

David Stern

Psychologist, PsyD

Accepting new clients



Young adults / College students

Specialties & expertise

  • Existential challenges

  • Spirituality

  • Couples work

  • Relationship challenges

  • Men's issues

  • Trauma

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Life transition

  • Stress management

  • Personality disorders

Professional statement

Dr. Stern received his PsyD at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, and has been in private practice over 20 years. He was previously the Director of Substance Abuse Day Treatment at Roger Williams Hospital. 

Dr. Stern has expertise in anxiety, PTSD / trauma, spirituality, and any existential challenges that an individual may be experiencing. He also runs group therapy sessions and workshops on topics such as men's issues and spirituality. 

Dr. Stern practices Internal Family Systems (IFS) and incorporates various techniques including Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), One Eye Brain Integration, and a practice he has developed called Structured Self-Presence™.


Anxiety – Including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety, social anxiety
Depression – Ranging from feeling mildly down through major depression
Couples work and relationship challenges – Including helping couples work on their relationship or part ways amicably. Also helps individuals with relationship issues. 
Existential challenges – Including navigating college and career paths, one's purpose
Life transitions – Including adjusting to college and post-college life
Men’s issues – Includes helping men access and work with their emotions, sexual identity/preferences, anger, and relationship issues
Personality disorders – Enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience
Relationship challenges – Helps individuals through relationship challenges (note: does not offer couples therapy)
Spirituality – e.g., enjoying a deeper felt connection with the spiritual dimension of one's life
Stress management – Including generally coping with life's difficulties and realizing your full potential
Trauma – Includes childhood trauma, adult trauma, sexual abuse and assault, physical abuse, combat trauma, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


  • Brown University Student Health Insurance

Note: Dr. Stern can provide paperwork for RISD student health insurance out-of-network benefits.

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Individual sessions: $200/session

    A sliding scale of $175 - $200 is offered to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.

Message to clients

"It is a wonderful time to be a therapist. We have many powerful tools that help create enduring positive change and quicken that process. 

As a clinical psychologist, healer, trainer, and consultant. I help people restore a wholesome relationship between their cerebral intelligence and their natural intelligence.  I teach people that problems are, almost always, a path to greater vitality, freedom and enduring peace. 

I help individuals, groups and organizations enjoy an ever deeper felt connection with the spiritual dimension of their lives and their communities. I teach them how to seamlessly fold transformative spiritual practices (within and beyond their particular religious tradition) into the fabric of their professional and private lives.

Central to my healing practice is a model of therapy called Internal Family Systems (IFS) and I am a certified IFS therapist. Among the other tools in my healing toolkit are "
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing" (EMDR), One Eye Brain Integration, "Brainspotting", and a relational mindfulness practice that I have been developing over the past 15 years, “Structured Self-Presence© (SSP).” 

My practice, ways of thinking and doing, are deeply informed by the perennial wisdom of the world’s wisdom traditions as well as current behavioral and brain research.

In addition to a psychologist, I am a husband and father. I play the saxophone, clarinet, a little piano and less djembe. I love sing alongs and playing music with my family and friends."

Treatment approaches

Internal Family SystemsIFS is a type of therapy that views the mind as a combination of relatively discrete subpersonalities each with its own viewpoint and qualities that interact with one another. IFS aims to understand how these collections of subpersonalities are organized and promote harmony among them. (learn more)
Structured Self-Presence™Structured Self Presence is a body-mind integration technique that provides a map of the different dimensions of reality and helps develop the skills to navigate it peacefully. (learn more)
BrainspottingBrainspotting is a focused treatment method that analyzes the client's relevant eye position to identify, process and release a wide range of emotionally and bodily-based sources of pain, trauma, and dissociation. (learn more)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)EMDR is a form of trauma treatment that helps process distressing memories and restore the brain's natural healing abilities, reducing the memories' lasting effects and allowing the person to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. (learn more)
Mindfulness PracticesMindfulness practices include but are not limited to developing awareness, attention, and remembering. In mindfulness-informed therapy, clients develop tools to become aware of what is occurring within and around them, so they can begin to untangle from mental preoccupations and difficult emotions. Self-acceptance and compassion are also core elements of mindfulness-informed therapy. (learn more)

Education and work experience

Roger Williams Hospital, Director of Substance Abuse Day Treatment

Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, PsyD
Hampshire College, BA, Music, Philosophy



Client testimonials

Dr. Stern is an incredibly open-minded, creative therapist with so many tools in his toolbox. I have been seeing him on and off for about 18 months now and it has been a gift and a delight. When we started, I was in shambles and he really helped put me back together with patience, positive mirroring, helpful explanatory frameworks for experiences i was having, and the incredible tools of IFS (Internal Family Systems) that have been so helpful in unpacking who I am and why I struggle in the ways that I do. IFS is a wonderful model and David is a master at it. I would recommend doing a bit of reading about IFS before beginning as that will make the first session that much more productive.

Note: These sessions can be expensive as they were not covered by insurance for me, but Dr. Stern does submit receipts to insurance so you can receive partial reimbursement if your plan allows for out of network coverage. Additionally, Dr. Stern’s approach is pretty out the box. If you are looking for traditional talk therapy, this is not it.
— Brown University alum (2015)
Dr. Stern is unlike any therapist I’ve ever met. He made who I am today possible.
— Brown University alum (2015)
David Stern is one of the most authentic (journal writing class) group leaders I have ever spent time with. His willingness to share as he explains the process to us is so real and loving.
— Social worker, artist
David’s personality is so dynamic, his presence is so nurturing and the intimacy he is able to build within ourselves and between each other is so real that even if all we did was sing songs for an hour I would still feel spiritually inoculated. I appreciate the fact that I was able to deal with my “edges” and feel a really nice calm. I enjoyed getting emotional as much as I did not enjoy getting emotional in front of colleagues. Describing this experience to others I think you could say that it is a raw, primitive, and real meditative experience that combines all the most recent theories of quiescence. {David} is a treasure to the mental health community and a really good soul.” (Speaking of her experiences with an annual “Spiritual Booster Shot” delivered at her Employee Assistance Program office)
— Social worker, certified employee assistance professional (CEAP)
David’s Spiritual Practice Group has helped me to reach some of my deepest, oldest patterns of reaction, which I normally cover up and push aside, and, as a result, I am freer to resonate with the world. Life just feels better.
— Professional jazz pianist
David was a fabulous, inspiring person whose work (and play!) has moved me in deep ways.
— Rabbinical student
Learning about the meditative practices with such caring and enthused teachers was wonderful, not only in terms of possibilities for my professional work, but also (and perhaps more importantly) for my own spiritual growth and development. Too often, clergy focus on caring for others and not nurturing their own spirituality. The development of a clergy spirituality group, in a confidential setting and under the leadership of innovative guides, is exciting and important for the Rhode Island faith community.
— Rabbi at Temple Sinai
David provides a safe place and time to be coached on ways to integrate mind, body, and spirit.
— Retired Episcopal priest
David creates a space that is open, warm, and clear of the chatter that so often accompanies spiritual investigation. He uses his own deep experience and considerable skill to support others in seeking the face of God in whatever is happening right now.
— Episcopal priest