Frances Carpenter, LICSW

Frances Carpenter

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LICSW

Not accepting new clients; find available Providence therapists here



Young adults / college students (18-24)
Graduate students
International students

Specialties & expertise

  • College and grad student challenges

  • LGBTQ and gender identity issues

  • Identity issues

  • Family of origin issues

  • Adoption

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Life transitions

  • Existential challenges / crises

  • Relationship challenges

  • High functioning Autism (previously known as Asperger's Syndrome)

Professional statement

Frances Carpenter is a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of young adults, college students, graduate students, and adults. Her focus areas include anxiety, depression, life transitions, existential challenges, and LGBTQ and gender identity topics.

Frances is passionate about working with young adults, and sees many students from Brown University and other surrounding universities, as well as individuals in the LGBTQ community. She also has experience in identity issues related to adoption, family of origin, and relationships.

Frances has been in private practice for over 20 years. She received her Masters of Social Work from Smith College and her BA from Brown University, and completed a two-year post-graduate fellowship in student mental health at Yale University before starting her private practice.


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
Existential challenges / crises – Questioning purpose, spirituality, existence; finding one’s path and voice, especially when it differs from society's expectations
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
LGBTQ and gender identity topics – Includes coming out, relating to others, identifying and communicating needs, relationships, and family issues

General expertise

Adoption – Adoptees' identity exploration; concerns specific to the experience of being adopted
High functioning autism (previously known as Asperger's Syndrome) – Especially further development of interpersonal skills and adjustment to college
Family of origin issues – Reflection on how family dynamics and values affect present day coping strategies and learning new tools to process stressors; e.g. parental divorce; identifying new strategies to process and/or express emotions that may differ from one's family norm
Relationships – Breakups, friendships, dating; feeling unsatisfied in your partnership; communication challenges; addressing issues of power and voice; contemplation of separation; questioning one’s place in the relationship


  • Brown University Student Health Insurance (UHCSR)

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Initial evaluation: $210

  • Individual psychotherapy: $175/session (55min)

  • Family psychotherapy with patient present: $140/session

Message to clients

"My style is interactive and pragmatic, yet also reflective and insight oriented. I help people approach life transitions in hopeful, creative and fulfilling ways. I specialize in the identity work of young adulthood and work with many undergraduates, graduates and international students. I help people develop more useful, creative and compassionate ways of understanding and working with themselves. My clients often tell me that the therapy has helped them feel much better, more hopeful and more meaningfully engaged in their lives."

Treatment approaches

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)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)In cognitive behavioral therapy, you work with a therapist in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking, so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. (learn more)
Existential Therapy Existential therapy is a therapy approach that both embraces human potential and recognizes human limitation. The breadth of existential theory falls into four major themes, which it sees as the root of most psychological problems: 1) Death, 2) Freedom (& Responsibility), 3) Isolation, and 4) Meaninglessness. (learn more)
Family Systems
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. (learn more)
Supportive TherapySupportive psychotherapy is used primarily to reinforce a patient’s ability to cope with stressors by giving clients the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts about the issues. Clinicians help patients learn how to move forward and make decisions or changes that may be necessary to adapt, either to an acute change, such as the loss of a loved one or severe disappointment, or to a chronic situation, such as an ongoing illness. (learn more)

Education and work experience

Private Practice, 1996 - Present
Yale University, Post Graduate Fellowship in Student Mental Health, 1994 - 1996

Smith College, M.S.W., 1990
Brown University, BA, 1994



Client testimonials

I saw Frances for panic attacks/social anxiety that led to social issues and problems with academics (panic during exams).

She is a very kind and thoughtful person. I never had any question that she was on my side. She also handled my personality quirks (like a tendency to hyper-intellectualize things that drives many people crazy) very well — she is a very peaceful and caring person to see for talk therapy.
— Brown University alumna '11, Biology & Psychology (2015)

Professional endorsements

I can definitely recommend Frances Carpenter, LICSW, who sees many Brown students and whose work I know very well. She is wonderful and I highly recommend her.
— Stephanie Hartselle, MD (2016)