Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Specialties & expertise
Loss and grief
Gastric bypass surgery
Major life transitions
Anxiety and depression
Jessica Akers is a therapist in private practice in Providence, RI. She has expertise in working with individuals during transitional periods, when underlying issues in relationships, health, and identity may come to the surface.
Jessica specializes in treating individuals who have experienced a loss, and gently guides them through the grieving process. As loss takes many forms, Jessica has helped clients navigate challenges including: the loss of a loved one or a home, abortions and miscarriages, divorce, financial insecurity, separation from an abusive relationship, and adjustment to retirement.
For clients who are struggling with obesity and/or weight loss, including gastric bypass surgery patients, Jessica offers a holistic approach that carefully considers possible medical complications. She helps clients build coping mechanisms, process other traumas and life stressors that may be contributing to weight management issues, and develop ways to live a mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy life.
Jessica uses an integrative approach that incorporates skills-based, interpersonal, and existential modalities. Jessica's previous work at both the Rhode Island Hospital and Butler Hospital Partial Hospitalization Programs provided her with experience treating clients with a wide array of issues. She deeply values a collaborative approach, and works closely with a care team including psychiatrists and primary care physicians.
Loss and grief – Includes the loss of a loved one, abortions and miscarriages, divorce, infertility problems, financial challenges, separation from an abusive relationship, adjustment to retirement, and loss of a home due to environmental disasters
Major life transitions – Includes starting college, career changes, marriage, divorce, and parenting
Weight management – Healthy approaches to losing weight and promoting positive body image
Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, panic attacks
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, amongst many other symptoms
Parenting – Helping parents with their own issues within the context of supporting children
Existential challenges / crises – Questioning purpose, spirituality, existence; finding one’s path and voice, especially when it differs from society's expectations
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
Couples counseling – Improving communication and problem solving skills with couples from all gender and sexual identities
Substance use – Prevent and reduce challenges related to tobacco, marijuana, and/or alcohol, such as anxiety, depression, and challenges in relationships
Trauma – Including dealing with past sexual assault, childhood trauma, environmental trauma (e.g. witnessing/experiencing violence), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Brown University Student Insurance
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Johnson & Wales University (United Health)
Providence College (United Health)
RISD Student Insurance (United Health)
URI / University of Rhode Island Student Insurance (United Health)
Initial session: $130 (60min)
Ongoing sessions: $110 (45min)
Sliding scale: A sliding scale is offered to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.
Message to clients
"I provide a warm and inviting atmosphere and take a conversational approach to therapy. We will work together to identify meaningful aims and I look forward to helping you manage a difficult problem, make lasting change, and live a happy healthy life."
Treatment approachesAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that uses mindfulness and behavioral activation to help people learn strategies to live life more in the present, more focused on important values and goals, and less focused on painful thoughts, feelings and experiences. (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 SystemsFamily systems theory views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. Family system therapy may be used to address conflict stemming from the family unit by working on a client's ability to maintain individuality while maintaining emotional contact with the group. (learn more)
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)
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)
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)
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, 2012 - Present
Butler Hospital, Integrated Therapies Program, 2013 - 2017
Rhode Island Hospital, Partial Hospital Program, 2009 - 2013
Rhode Island College, MSW, 2008
University of Massachusetts at Amherst, BA, 2001