Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC
Accepting new clients for daytime appointments with a 2-3 week wait
Offers remote video sessions
Teenagers (13 - 18)
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Specialties & expertise
Transition to adulthood
Ellen Santaniello is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has been practicing in the Providence area since 2010. She uses Internal Family Systems, Gestalt Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and mindfulness practices in her work.
Ellen enjoys working with adults and adolescents experiencing life transitions, particularly around the transition to college and adulthood, as well as issues that arise in mid-life. She helps clients facing challenges that include anxiety, depression, current and past family issues, inner conflict, and relationship struggles. Ellen strives to create an environment that is safe, sex-positive, and welcoming for folks of all genders, sexual orientations and relationship styles.
Aside from her work as a counselor, Ellen has been a faculty member at both Rhode Island College and Rhode Island Community College. She has also been a singer and voice teacher for more than 30 years, and enjoys working with artists around the challenges unique to the creative process.
Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, amongst many other symptoms
Family issues – Helping parents with their own issues within the context of supporting children; helping young adults navigate family issues
Life transitions – Adjusting to college, new relationships, career transitions and direction; mid-life existential, relationship, and career challenges; losing one’s drive or burn out; learning self-care
Parenting – Helping parents with their own issues within the context of supporting children
Relationships – Feeling unsatisfied in your partnership; communication challenges; addressing issues of power and voice; contemplation of separation; questioning one’s place in the relationship; breakups, friendships, dating
Sexual identity – Questioning gender and sexuality; non-binary identification, transgender identification, queer identity, sexuality and power
Bipolar disorder – Using coping and preventive strategies to stabilize swings between elevated mood or irritability and depressive episodes
Borderline personality disorder – Addressing enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience
Cultural adjustment – Transitioning from another country, state, or city; adjusting as an international student or out-of-state student
Existential challenges / crises – Questioning purpose, spirituality, existence; finding one’s path and voice, especially when it differs from society's expectations
Sex counseling – Encourages a sex-positive environment in which individuals and couples can discuss desires and sexual experiences
Trauma – Dealing with past sexual assault, childhood trauma, environmental trauma (e.g. witnessing/experiencing violence), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Brown University Student Health Insurance
Consolidated Health Plan
Neighborhood Health (partnered with Beacon Health Options)
Harvard Pilgrim Health (out-of-network)
United Health (out-of-network)
Individual sessions: $130/session (50min)
Couples sessions: $130/session (50min) or $190/session (90min)
Sliding scale: A sliding scale is available to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.
Message to clients
"I think people are really brave when they decide to start working with a therapist. Often people think it’s going to be this awful, torturous, painful process, but one of the things I want to remind them is that it can also be really fun. We do a lot of laughing in this room, a lot of creative exploration, and a lot of laughing at our ourselves -- in kind, loving ways! So I just want people to know that all of our experiences are held in here, not just our misery and suffering and confusion and anger, but also our joy, our hope, our creativity, and our aliveness. Therapy, when its right, is a way to become more alive."
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on interpersonal issues, which are understood to be a factor in the genesis and maintenance of psychological distress. The targets of IPT are symptom resolution, improved interpersonal functioning, and increased social support.
Gestalt TherapyIn gestalt therapy, self-awareness is key to personal growth and developing full potential. The approach recognizes that sometimes this self-awareness can become blocked by negative thought patterns and behavior that can leave people feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. (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)
Psychodynamic TherapyThe aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness - helping individuals unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, and that the defenses we develop to ensure these difficult memories do not surface from our unconscious often do more harm than good. (learn more)
Education and work experience
Private practice, Licensed Psychotherapist, 2010 - Present
Voice Teacher, 1990 - Present
Community College of Rhode Island, Faculty Member, 2011 - 2014
Anorexia and Bulimia Society of Rhode Island, Group Leader, 2011 - 2014
Rhode Island College, Voice Faculty and Ensemble Coach, 2004 - 2008
Rhode Island Indian Council, Project Coordinator, 1988 - 1990
Salve Regina University, Master, Holistic Counseling, 2010
Longy School of Music, Master, Music and Vocal Performance, 2005
Brown University, Bachelor, Biology/Pre-Med, 1986