Emma Cardeli

Meet Our Team

I am a Hispanic Clinical Psychologist who is deeply committed to providing care that is both client-centered and systems-oriented; in this regard, I aim to provide therapeutic services that are not only responsive to the strengths and needs of the individual but are also cognizant of the ways in which an individual is impacted by the broader systems in which she or he is embedded (e.g., family, school, workplace, community, culture, nation). Informed by ecological systems theory, liberation and trauma psychology, and radical healing approaches, my goal is to support clients in defining and achieving their highest healing intentions and to advocate on their behalf so that the health and social service systems around them rise up to these intentions as well. Similarly, I strive to recognize strengths just as much as I do areas of challenge and view treatment planning as a collaborative process with the clients and families with whom I work.

I am currently licensed in both Virginia and Massachusetts. I have over a decade of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families diverse in cultural background and in clinical need. I am an integrative practitioner with specialized training in cognitive, behavioral, mindfulness, expressive, psychodynamic, and trauma-focused approaches. I also have experience working in a multitude of clinical settings, including outpatient and community-based clinics, inpatient psychiatry and medical centers, juvenile justice settings, residential treatment centers, and emergency services.

I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with a focus in Children, Families, and Cultures. I am a Trauma Psychologist by training. I completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Trauma Center at JRI in Brookline and am presently an Attending Psychologist & Research Associate at the Trauma & Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital where I provide specialized training and consultation in Trauma Systems Therapy/Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugees. I am also an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and am leading initiatives across the globe focused on building the capacity of organizations to provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive care.


I have received specialized training in play and expressive therapies as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, psychodynamic therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and behavior management. I am certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Trauma Systems Therapy (TST); Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugees (TST-R); Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT); Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Framework; Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY); and Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART). I also have training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and in Component-Based Psychotherapy.

Specialized Services

I have experience providing individual, group, and family therapy, as well as psychological and neuropsychological assessments. Presenting concerns addressed in treatment include traumatic stress, secondary traumatic stress, parenting stress, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and self-injurious behaviors, anger, adjustment, grief, and loss. I also have expertise in addressing issues related to war and conflict, gang violence, trafficking, discrimination, and acculturative stress.

I am developing a sub-specialty in working with journalists who are exposed to occupational chronic stress and trauma. I have a strong appreciation for the role of journalism in society and consider it a privilege to work with news professionals. I have received training from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma on the professional culture and occupational challenges of journalists. In addition to using HIPAA-compliant telehealth software, I have also received training from the Freedom of the Press Foundation on best practices for digital security when using telehealth technology.

I also provide the following specialized services:

  • Parent coaching
  • Extended Play-Based Developmental Assessment (EPBDA, Gil)
  • Consultation in trauma-informed care/trauma-informed systems
  • Clinical supervision
  • Professional presentations and clinical workshops

Selected Professional Publications

  • Cardeli, E., Mulder, L. Phan, J., Adhikari, R., Benson, M., & Ellis, B. H. (2020). Bhutanese refugee youth: The importance of assessing and addressing psychosocial needs in a school setting. Journal of School Health, 90(9), 731-742. doi: 10.1111/josh.12935
  • Cardeli, E., Baldwin, H., Davis, S., & Ellis, B. H. (2020). Prevention and early intervention programs for vulnerable populations. In J. G. Beck and D. Sloan, editors. Handbook of Traumatic Stress Disorders: Second Edition. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Ellis, B.H., Cardeli, E., Bloom, M., Brahmbhatt, Z., & Weine, S. (2020). Understanding the needs of children returning from formerly ISIS-controlled territories through an emotional security theory lens: Implications for practice. Child Abuse & Neglect, 109, 104754. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104754
  • Lincoln, A. K., Cardeli, E., Sideridis, G., Salhi, C., Miller, A., DaFonesca, T., Issa, O. & Ellis, H. (2020). Discrimination, marginalization, belonging and mental health among Somali immigrants in North America. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. doi: 10.1037/ort0000524
  • Conrad, R., Bousleiman, S., Isberg, R., Hauptman, A., & Cardeli, E. (2020). Uncontrolled experiments: Treatment of contamination OCD during a pandemic. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), S67-S68. doi:10.1037/tra0000806
  • Skokauskas, N., Leventhal, B., Cardeli, E., Belfer, M., Kaasbøll J., & Cohen, J. (2020). Supporting children of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29(8). doi: 10.1007/s00787-020-01604-6
  • Cardeli, E., Bloom, M., Gillespie, S., Zayed, T., & Ellis, B. H. (2019). Exploring social-ecological factors that mobilize children into violence. Terrorism & Political Violence. 1-23. doi:10.1080/09546553.2019.1701444
  • Cardeli, E., Abdi, S., & Ellis, B. H. (2018). The psychosocial impact of war on children and families. In J. D. Osofsky and B. M. Groves, editors. Violence and trauma in the lives of children: Volume One.  Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
  • Le, H. N., Perry, D. F., Genovez, M., & Cardeli, E. (2013). In their own voices: Latinas’ experiences with a randomized controlled trial to prevent perinatal depression. Qualitative Health Research, 23(6), 834-846. doi:10.1177/1049732313482591
  • Tandon, M., Cardeli, E., & Luby, J. L. (2009). Internalizing disorders in early childhood: A review of depressive and anxiety disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 18, 593-610. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2009.03.004

Professional Affiliations

  • American Psychological Association
  • Division 56, Trauma Psychology
  • Division 9, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture

Teaching Experience

  • Instructor: Harvard Medical School, 2015-present. Ad-hoc lecturer, providing seminars in global mental health, trauma-informed care, and cultural humility to interns, residents, and fellows within the Harvard Medical School system.
  • Teaching Assistant: The Catholic University of America, 2013. Lab instructor in Doctoral level class focused on Projective Assessment.
Emma Cardeli

Emma Cardeli, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist


Welcome to Alexandria Place Therapy!

We offer therapeutic services in Alexandria, Virginia. Our clinicians have spent their careers working with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and adjustment difficulties. We bring expertise and experience to our work and aim to offer help in vulnerable times to all our patients by tailoring treatment to their unique needs.

Working Hours
Monday to Friday 8 am - 8 pm
Saturday 8 am - 8 pm