Teenagers (13 - 18)
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Specialties & expertise
Self-esteem and acceptance
Adolescent and young adult issues
Kristen Acciari received her Masters of Social Work from Rhode Island College. She completed her graduate internship at The Groden Center, which is recognized internationally for its pioneering work with individuals with autism, and started her career there specializing in Asperger’s syndrome.
Kristen began her private practice in 2012 following her 5 years of experience at The Groden Center. Her treatment specialties include self-esteem and self-acceptance, authentic living, Asperger's syndrome, emotion regulation, and relationship issues. She offers individual and family therapy, with particular expertise in adolescent and young adult issues.
Kristen takes an eclectic approach to therapy, combining Existential Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Mindfulness Practices. A long-time practitioner of yoga, Kristen completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2014 to add another dimension to her therapeutic work. Kristen pulls from her experiences and training as appropriate to meet the client where he or she is, always with the relationship at the center of the work.
Authentic living – Making choices from an internally, rather than externally, driven space; permission to be your most authentic self regardless of others' expectations; learning to listen to and trust intuitive and somatic (felt in the body) guidance
Asperger's syndrome – Psychoeducation around how the brain works, the positive gifts of having an Asperger's diagnosis, learning about famous people who had / have Asperger's syndrome and have contributed immensely to society; emotion regulation, particularly among children, teens, and young adults; family relationships and working as a family through any challenges; managing any care taking that is more than what the individual needs through self-advocacy, learning to ask for space to make one's own mistakes.
Adolescent & young adult issues – Addressing feelings of being "off-course" from the passions and interests that make each person so unique and are often such a critical component to a sense of personal fulfillment; especially during adolescence and young adulthood, which can be a time of exploration and self-discovery, with increased awareness around desires for personal fulfillment, happiness, sense of purpose, and direction
Emotion regulation – Addressing intense emotional experiences that can accompany a variety of life transitions and situations, and even vary based on neurological differences; managing when emotional experiences becomes overwhelming that it feels like the emotions, and not the person, are in control; practicing bringing the intensity of the experience to a more manageable level that allows the person to feel more in control through mindful movement, breath work, guided imagery, and relaxation techniques
Self-esteem and acceptance – Practicing presence with what is as a loving foundation for continued growth and personal development, allowing ourselves to be enough
Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks
Bipolar disorder – Using coping and preventive strategies to stabilize swings between elevated mood or irritability and depressive episodes
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, amongst many other symptoms
Existential challenges / crises – Questions around Self, purpose; finding one’s path and voice, especially when it differs from society's expectations
Family issues – Making sense of family disruptions, working on familial relationships
Life transitions – Adjusting to college, new relationships, career transitions and direction; relationship and career challenges
Relationships issues – Romantic relationships, family relationships, and friendships
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Brown University Student Insurance
Johnson & Wales University
RISD Student Insurance
URI / University of Rhode Island Student Insurance
Initial intake session: $125/session (60min)
Psychotherapy sessions: $105/session (45min)
Sliding scale: A sliding scale of $65 - $105 is offered to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.
Message to clients
"My guiding philosophy is that unconditional self-acceptance and authenticity are the keys to happiness and health. I see emotional discomfort as symptomatic of disconnection with your Self. Together we can work to hear and understand physical and emotional messages as manifestations of a profound and meaningful internal guidance system that is leading you to your own authenticity, happiness and fulfillment. Techniques used may include: talk therapy, experiential exercises, mindfulness practices, art, yoga, meditation, & breath work."
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.
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)
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, 2012-Present
The Groden Center, Individual, family and group therapist in Asperger's Center, 2009-2012
The Groden Center, Graduate internship in Asperger's Center outpatient clinical services, 2008-2009
Perspectives Corporation, Residential facility direct care provider, 2005-2009
Salve Regina, CAGS, Holistic Studies
Rhode Island College, MSW, 2009
Bryant University, BS, Business Administration: Marketing, 2006