Lelia O'Connell, LICSW

Leila O'Connell

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, LICSW

Accepting new clients for daytime appointments



Older teens (16 - 17)
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Seniors (65+)


Mon: 9:00am-4:00pm
Tue: 9:00am-4:00pm
Wed: 10:00am-8:00pm
Thu: 10:00am-8:00pm
Fri: 9:00am-4:00pm
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Specialties & expertise

  • Trauma

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Chronic illness

  • Persistent and severe mental illness

  • Loss and grief

Professional statement

Leila O’Connell is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Providence, RI specializing in trauma, anxiety, depression, chronic illness, persistent and severe mental illness, and loss and grief. Leila combines excellence in evidence-based therapy techniques with extensive clinical experience of nearly 30 years in practice.

Leila enjoys helping clients recover from trauma, working at a steady pace to gently guide clients beyond painful past events to lead more fulfilling lives. She has particular expertise in supporting individuals with persistent and severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Leila also works with many older adults facing challenges related to aging, such as navigating chronic physical health conditions. Furthermore, she frequently works with individuals diagnosed with cancer, providing them emotional support. 

Leila primarily takes a psychodynamic approach in order to help clients better understand themselves and their emotional patterns, incorporating elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques as well. Leila highly values a team-based, collaborative approach, and works closely with clients’ healthcare team of psychiatrists and primary care physicians to ensure close-looped care.

Leila’s practice welcomes an eclectic mix of clients including individuals in academia and in the arts community. She takes special care in engaging clients with compassion, humor, and sensitivity.


Trauma – Including dealing with past sexual assault, childhood trauma, environmental trauma (e.g. witnessing/experiencing violence), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
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
Issues related to aging – Managing the emotional and physical concerns related to aging and the geriatric population
Chronic illness – Managing chronic illness ; receiving a diagnosis, contemplating and processing related emotions, viewing through a holistic lens
Persistent and severe mental illness – Working with individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder
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

General expertise

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
Pain management – Managing pain at work, e.g. Carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain
Personality disorders – Enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience; includes narcissistic, dependent, and borderline personality disorders
Self harm – Injuring of body tissue without suicidal intentions, including but not limited to cutting, burning, scratching, and hitting


  • Aetna

  • Beacon Health

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • First Health

  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

  • Medicare

  • Multiplan / PHCS

  • Neighborhood Health

  • Tricare

  • Tufts

  • United Health

  • Brown University Student Insurance

  • Johnson & Wales University

  • Providence College

  • RISD Student Insurance

  • URI / University of Rhode Island Student Insurance

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Initial session: $125 (50min)

  • Ongoing sessions: $90/session (50min)

Message to clients

"Compassion, curiosity and humor are the best adjectives to describe my work. I have been a clinical social worker for nearly 30 years and believe more than ever in the power of the 'talking cure.' I provide a safe space for people to share their stories and bear witness to their pain and sorrow. Thru this process people learn to (re) create sustainable lives. I believe that recovery/positive change is always possible and strive to offer people hope thru our work together. While psychodynamically trained, I often use CBT techniques, self compassion and case management on a case by case basis."

Treatment approaches

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)
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, 2007 - Present
Thundermist Psych Center, 2007 - 2009
Lisa Rocchio and Associates, Contractor, 2003 - 2007
Family Services of RI, 2003 - 2004
Emory University Counseling Center, 1998 - 2002
Northside Mental Health Center/Vistas Program, 1993 - 1998
The Bridge Counseling Center, 1992 - 1993
The Charley Group Home Program, 1990 - 1992
Berkshire Farm for Boys, 1984 - 1986

Smith College, MSW, 1989
Williams College, BA, 1984


Bahasa indonesia (Basic)