Now Offering Neuropsychological Testing in Our Providence Office!

Hours: Mon – Fri :8 AM – 8 PM | Sat: 8 AM – 4 PM
382 Thayer Street, Providence, RI 02906

Fax: (401) 226 0137 |

David Zelaya, PhD


Pronouns: he/him/el.

Meet Dr. David Zelaya

I take an evidence-based and multicultural approach to my clinical practice. I draw from psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapy approaches to provide individual therapy to young adults and adults with anxiety, depression, trauma, identity related concerns, acculturative stress, minority stress, and other mental health concerns. I have a particular interest in working with individuals who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, racial/ethnic minorities, individuals with other marginalized identities, and those living at the intersection of possessing multiple socially stigmatized identities. Furthermore, I am a bilingual (fluent in Spanish) and bicultural therapist. I grew up in Nicaragua and Guatemala and am therefore familiar with the process of immigration, acculturation, and assimilation.

My Background

I received my Ph.D. from Georgia State University in Counseling Psychology and completed my pre-doctoral APA accredited internship at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Hospital on the Latino Mental Health Program/Gender and Sexuality track. I am currently completing a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Brown University School of Public Health studying substance use and HIV. I am also a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. Prior to beginning my postdoctoral fellowship, I trained at numerous college counseling centers, medical hospitals, and Veteran Affairs hospitals.

My research program focuses on examining health disparities, from an intersectionality and minority stress lens, among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ communities. I am also involved in local and national service where I focus my efforts around advocacy and social justice. For example, I am co-chair of the early career psychologist committee for the Massachusetts Psychological Association. I am also involved with the Society of Counseling Psychology and the National Latinx Psychological Association.

My Approach & Philosophy

I take a primarily relational approach to my work as a therapist; I believe the clinical relationship is one of the most important aspects of creating change in therapy. I also believe our goals in therapy should be established collaboratively and I strive to create an egalitarian relationship. Having earned my doctorate in counseling psychology, I operate from a strengths-based approach and incorporate a biopsychosocial model to treatment where I take into consideration how the world around us affects our well-being. Furthermore, I strongly believe in cultural humility; I believe you are the expert in your lived experiences, and I consistently work to check my own cultural biases. Previous clients have described me as warm, empathic, and funny (when appropriate of course!).