Ellen  Santaniello

Ellen Santaniello

Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC

Accepting new clients for morning, afternoon, & daytime appointments in Providence practice (updated March 27, 2020)

Offers Online Sessions

Specialties & Expertise

  • Life transitions
  • Relationships
  • Sexuality
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Parenting
  • Couples counseling

Professional statement

Ellen Santaniello is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has been practicing in the Providence area since 2010. She uses Internal Family Systems, Gestalt Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and mindfulness practices in her work.

Ellen enjoys working with adults and adolescents experiencing life transitions, particularly around the transition to college and adulthood, as well as issues that arise in mid-life. She helps clients facing challenges that include anxiety, depression, current and past family issues, inner conflict, and relationship struggles. Ellen strives to create an environment that is safe, sex-positive, and welcoming for folks of all genders, sexual orientations and relationship styles.

Aside from her work as a counselor, Ellen has been a faculty member at both Rhode Island College and Rhode Island Community College. She has also been a singer and voice teacher for more than 30 years, and enjoys working with artists around the challenges unique to the creative process.

Message to clients

I think people are really brave when they decide to start working with a therapist. Often people think it’s going to be this awful, torturous, painful process, but one of the things I want to remind them is that it can also be really fun. We do a lot of laughing in this room, a lot of creative exploration, and a lot of laughing at our ourselves -- in kind, loving ways! So I just want people to know that all of our experiences are held in here, not just our misery and suffering and confusion and anger, but also our joy, our hope, our creativity, and our aliveness. Therapy, when its right, is a way to become more alive.


Life transitions - Coping with difficult or impactful life changes, such as moving to a new area, relationship transitions, child rearing, or career changes; learning self-care to better manage resulting stress

Relationships - Understanding one’s wants and needs in relationships; exploring patterns of interaction, addressing concerns, and strengthening satisfaction in relationships and dating

Sexuality - Exploring topics of sexuality, gender, and identity; coping with discrimination and oppression; navigating relationship, family, and cultural challenges

Anxiety - Coping with excessive worry, nervousness, or stress; intense discomfort in social settings (social anxiety); sudden and intense feelings of panic (panic disorder)

Depression - Providing support and promoting healing of hopelessness, low motivation and energy, sadness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and loss of interest and pleasure in life

Parenting - Helping parents develop and implement strategies to address challenges that arise throughout childrearing; managing stress and increasing support

Couples counseling - Addressing relationship challenges and life transitions; strengthening communication and feelings of security, desire, connection, and love

General expertise


Ellen Santaniello is accepting clients using listed insurances, paying listed fees, or using health insurance out-of-network benefits other than:

  • Tufts Health Plan

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Ongoing sessions: $150 (50min)
  • Ongoing session fee: $240 (90min)

Therapist's note

Ellen bills directly to United Health for plans with out-of-network benefits.

Most students who have United Student Health insurance will pay only a $15-$30 copay for sessions.


Remote video therapy sessions offered? Yes

Providence practice

305 South Main Street

Providence, RI 02903

  • Mon Please inquire about hours
  • Tue Please inquire about hours
  • Wed Please inquire about hours
  • Thu Please inquire about hours
  • Fri Please inquire about hours
  • Sat Please inquire about hours
  • Sun Please inquire about hours

Work and Education

Private practice, Licensed Psychotherapist, 2010 - Present

Voice Teacher, 1990 - Present

Community College of Rhode Island, Faculty Member, 2011 - 2014

Anorexia and Bulimia Society of Rhode Island, Group Leader, 2011 - 2014

Rhode Island College, Voice Faculty and Ensemble Coach, 2004 - 2008

Rhode Island Indian Council, Project Coordinator, 1988 - 1990

Salve Regina University, Master, Holistic Counseling, 2010

Longy School of Music, Master, Music and Vocal Performance, 2005

Brown University, Bachelor, Biology/Pre-Med, 1986


  • English

Professional endorsements

Cary Twichell, LMHC

Ellen is a warm, highly engaged therapist. She brings great curiosity and openness to the work. Her musical training and coaching has given her a great deal of experience with people’s somatic, emotional, and psychological ways of being in the world - and wisdom about what might be getting in their way. She is very kind and strengths-based in her approach, but not afraid to roll up her sleeves and do a little digging around to see what might be underneath the surface. Her interest in the world around her is obvious, and her energy is infectious.

Robert Ross, Psychologist

Ellen is extraordinarily insightful, emotionally open, and committed to her own and others’ human development and spiritual growth. I refer clients to her for anxiety, trauma, depression, and relationship issues.

Allison Torti, peer supervisor

Ellen is extremely insightful with conscious and unconscious processing. She is very patient and includes mind and body when helping patients.

Rebecca Nancy Schoenewolf Foley, LMHC

She has eclectic, holistic, cutting edge training and an excellent personality that resonates with many people. She is highly intelligent and dedicated!

Client testimonials

Young professional client

Ellen is amazing. I have been in and out of therapy for over twenty years as I work on some ongoing issues. Ellen is quite literally the only therapist I’ve had that every time I leave her office, I’m turning around in my head some new insight or development. She works hard to understand her clients and has gone out of her way to provide helpful feedback to what I’m experiencing. Ellen is also not afraid to speak the truth when I’m (like all of us) lying to myself about something I’m doing/thinking/feeling. It makes her an exceptional therapist. She’s honestly amazing.

Former client

I began seeing Ellen a few years ago when I was experiencing stress and anxiety from my job and some family issues. I’ve worked with other therapists in the past, and Ellen has been the best therapist I have seen. She has a great way of getting you to realize things through analogies. Her sessions are like having an easy conversation with someone who truly gets you to think about things in a different way that guides you in helping to solve issues or make things better. She helped give me the tools I needed to bring my life back into balance. She is truly gifted and wonderful to work with.

Zencare client

Ellen is the realest therapist you will ever meet. What I love about her is that she actually talks to you and has a conversation with you. I have worked with Ellen for the past 5 years and every time I leave I feel so much better than when I walked in. I am forever grateful to have met her and to have her guide me through my journey of life.

Young professional

I am very thankful to have Ellen’s guidance and counseling. She helps me cope with issues in my own life, from my family to career, and I really like her methods. For example, some therapists let you set the discussion away from your problems, but I think Ellen is especially great at helping a person focus on something he or she might be avoiding to look at oneself honestly, but in a way that still feels appropriate. I have also greatly benefitted from Ellen’s couples counseling; I think she pulled my boyfriend and me out of a real rough patch. As a result, I know I can bring any problem to her.

RISD alum '10

Ellen uses helpful comparisons and encourages her patients to use their own words when defining both problems and solutions. I found these methods extremely helpful. I was forced to think critically about the situations and issues that were troubling me and left with a better understanding of WHY I was feeling a particular way. I felt empowered after every session.