Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, LICSW
Accepting new clients for morning, daytime, and evening appointments
Teenagers (13 - 18)
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Fri: Professional development workshops
Specialties & expertise
- Grief & loss
- Chronic & terminal illness
- Soul injury
Melissa Mastrostefano is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Newport, Rhode Island. In her private practice, Melissa sees children, teenagers, young adults, college students, adults, and seniors, with a focus on grief and loss.
Melissa has expertise in grief, loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, chronic, and terminal illness. She is a grief and loss specialist, and is affiliated with Memorial Funeral Homes in Newport where she leads classes and workshops on the topic. Melissa also leads support groups and provides professional development workshops for organizations. In addition, as a certified Celebrant, she officiates and develops meaningful and personalized ceremonies to assist a community to heal after a loss.
Melissa is dedicated to learning best practices; her work is grounded in academic research. She studies under Rev. Dr. Rev. Lark d’ Helen, a Certified Grief Recovery Method Specialist and URI college professor of Thanatology.
Melissa has an extensive social work background. She has spent time working in community mental health centers, schools, and a cancer center. Her thirty years of experience and training in various therapy modalities enable her to help her clients process powerlessness, change, guilt, and other difficult emotions. Melissa uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Existential Therapy, mindfulness practices, supportive therapy, restorative practices, and Soul Injury Treatment.
Loss and grief – Processing the loss of a loved one, any form of grief; processing the emotional aspects of personal illness or the illness of a loved one
Soul injury – A penetrating wound that separates one's self from their fundamental identity, shrinks their sense of goodness/beauty and leaves emptiness, disconnection and/or a belief of being damaged or defective
Trauma – Including dealing with past sexual assault, childhood trauma, environmental trauma (e.g. witnessing/experiencing violence), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, amongst many other symptoms
Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks
Chronic illness – Managing chronic illness ; receiving a diagnosis, contemplating and processing related emotions, viewing through a holistic lens
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
ADD / ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) – Managing ADHD and its effects on decision making, studies, relationships, and work; helping with organizational challenges and executive functioning
Pet loss – Processing the loss of a loved pet
Parenting – Helping parents with their own issues within the context of supporting children
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- United Health
- Initial session: $150
- Ongoing sessions: $120
Sliding scale: A sliding scale of $40 - $120 is offered to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.
Therapist's note: Melissa can provide you with paperwork for reimbursement from your insurance company if you are seeking out-of-network sessions.
Message to clients
"Is your heart broken? Have you experienced a significant loss of any kind? Do you feel stuck in your grief, struggling to cope with change or confusing intense emotions? I can help you feel better. Grief is a natural and normal reaction to loss but few of us have been taught how to handle it. The emotions accompanying grief can be so scary and overwhelming. The good news is that you can heal and learn positive actions you can take to recover. I want to come along side of you and guide you through the process. I have successfully helped many others and I want to help you too."
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)
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)
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)
Restorative practicesRestorative practices aim to empower individuals to coexist within peaceful and equitable communities and relationships (learn more)
Soul Injury TreatmentFor trauma alongside death; helps individuals reconnect with pieces of themselves and come to peace. (learn more)
Education and work experience
South Shores Community Mental Health Center
East Bay Center
RI Student Assistance Services
Lifespan Cancer Center, Newport Hospital
Private practice, Individual therapy with elderly clients at end of life
Columbia University, MSW
Insight Institute, Certified Celebrant
International Institute for Restorative Practices, Graduate courses, Certified Trainer
Barrington College, BSW