Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC
Accepting new clients.
Teenagers (13 - 18)
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Specialties & expertise
- Emotional complexity of adjusting to a new city or country
- Different cultural backgrounds
- Trauma recovery
- Anxiety and depression
- Relationship challenges
- Sessions in English and Italian
- Family issues
- Life transitions
- Existential challenges
- Loss and grief
- Academic issues
- Bipolar disorder
- LGBQ and sexuality topics
Gaia Zanna is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in downtown Boston. Originally from Bologna, Italy, Gaia has a deep understanding of different cultural backgrounds and the emotional complexity of adjusting to a new country. As a bilingual clinician, she offers sessions in English and Italian.
Gaia specializes in anxiety, depression, relationship issues, family issues, trauma, and cultural adjustment. She uses a range of therapeutic approaches depending on the client's needs, including CBT, psychodynamic, motivational interviewing, supportive therapy, and narrative therapy. She was recently certified for Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM), a trauma recovery therapy approach that focuses on helping clients release trauma from the body.
Gaia received her MA from the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and completed her fellowship training in child and family therapy at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy. She strives to create a sensitive, warm, empathetic, nonjudgmental, and respectful space for all of her clients.
Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, among many other symptoms
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
Family issues – Includes helping parents with their own issues within the context of supporting children; helping young adults navigate family issues
Trauma – Including dealing with past sexual assault, childhood trauma, environmental trauma (e.g. witnessing/experiencing violence), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Academic issues – Adjusting to college; managing developmental and emotional challenges in school; balancing schoolwork and personal life
Bipolar disorder – Using coping and preventive strategies to stabilize swings between elevated mood or irritability and depressive episodes
Existential challenges / crises – Questioning purpose, spirituality, existence; finding one’s path and voice, especially when it differs from society's expectations
LGBQ and sexuality topics – Includes coming out, relating to others, identifying and communicating needs, relationships, and 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
Loss and grief – Processing the loss of a loved one, any form of grief; processing he emotional aspects of personal illness or the illness of a loved one
Self-esteem – Cultivate stronger sense of self; increase assertiveness, confidence, and self-compassion
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Boston College Student Insurance (BCBS)
- Harvard Student Insurance (BCBS)
- Lesley University Student Insurance (BCBS)
- MIT Student/Affiliate Extended Insurance Plan (BCBS)
- Northeastern University Student Insurance (BCBS)
- Initial consultation: $180/session (60 min)
- Individual sessions: $150/session (50 min)
- Couples and family sessions: $175/session (50min)
Sliding scale: A sliding scale is offered to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.
Therapist's note: Gaia can provide you with paperwork for reimbursement from your insurance company if you are seeking out-of-network sessions.
For clients with insurance other than BCBS: Services may still be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee-benefit plan. Most PPO and POS plans have "out-of-network" benefits that will cover some percentage of the cost. If you have an HMO from a company other than BCBS, most likely your insurance will not cover our services and you would need to pay directly.
For clients with BCBS: Clients with Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are responsible only for co-pays and deductibles. Payment is due at the time of your meeting.
Message to clients
"Sometimes it is difficult and scary to make sense of feelings, learning how to manage them, and being able to find healthy ways to cope while creating and fostering self-awareness. Therapy is a safe space and a confidential grounding process that through time, consistency and working together will allow you to identify and develop a healthy voice to express thoughts and feelings. I strive to help clients understand their emotional conflicts, behavioral repetitions and their inner-self by empathetically assisting them in working through emotional difficulties and life struggles. Feeling heard, being seeing, feeling that we have a purpose in life is a vital, indispensable healing and nurturing process of psychotherapy and I look forward to helping you to achieve it."
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.
Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM)
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)
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)
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)
Motivational interviewing Motivational interviewing is a form of collaborative conversation for strengthening a person's own motivation and commitment to change. It is a person-centered counseling style for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change by paying particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen an individual's motivation for and movement toward a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person's own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion. (learn more)
Psychoanalytic TherapyPsychoanalytic therapy tends to look at experiences from early childhood to see if these events have affected the individual’s life, or potentially contributed to current concerns. This form of therapy is considered a long-term choice and can continue for weeks, months or even years depending on the depth of the concern being explored. Psychoanalytic therapy aims to make deep-seated changes in personality and emotional development. (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)
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, 2011 - Present
DCS Mental Health Inc., 2011 - Present
Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, Child & Family Fellowship, 2011 - 2013
Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, MA, 2011
Emmanuel College, BS, 2002
Facolta' di Medicina e Chirurgia, Universita' di Ferrara, Italy, 1999