Chris Doriani, LCSW, ACSW

Chris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Virginia and is nationally board certified by the Academy of Certified Social Workers.   He brings over 35 years of diverse experience in the field of mental health. Using a dynamic and wellbeing-focused process, he helps his clients uncover and activate their unique potential.

Clinical Specialties 

Chris works exclusively online with individuals (ages 14 and up), couples, and families. His clinical specialties include stress management, career/life transitions, teen and young adult life adjustments, business & church leadership support, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic and phobic conditions, and personality disorders.  He also specializes in relational therapy for relationship transitions, relationship/marital stress (including affair recovery), family concerns, healthy parenting practices, and healthy relational/family communication skill building.

Clinical Approaches

Chris uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in sessions and has practiced Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy since 1995. He also has training in and utilizes Dialectal Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness techniques, and the integration of personality typology (Myers-Briggs/Jung and other) models to facilitate solutions and enhance unused and undiscovered strengths. For relational and family therapy, he combines elements of structural and strategic systems therapy, as well as techniques from The Gottman Institute relational/marital therapy. In addition, Chris can provide Christian counseling upon request.

Professional Philosophy       

According to Chris: “As I work with my clients to facilitate healing and growth, I use an active, practical, and skill-building focused therapeutic style. I will help you identify what is unique about yourself to help you tap into your unrecognized or unexplored potential. I focus on helping you cultivate overall well-being, generating wholeness and health in the social, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life.”

Clinical Experience

Chris began working in the mental health field in 1988. He brings a wealth of experience working with youth and adults in diverse clinical settings. A member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, he has provided therapy as a licensed clinician in five states in nonprofit and private practice settings. Additionally, he has served as an assistant professor of social work for four years, as a guest lecturer at Koshin University in Busan South Korea, as an adjunct instructor, as a public speaker and radio show guest, and as a therapist and consultant for public schools and nursing homes.

Educational Background

Chris received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1983 with a major in philosophy.  He originally planned to enter pastoral ministry but, while working as a college campus minister, he realized that his deeper interest was to learn skills to be a therapist for families and individuals. He subsequently attended the University of Chicago and received a Master’s Degree with a concentration of Clinical Social Work in 1988. Additionally, his continuing education includes advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR) since 1995, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and Gottman Institute marital therapy.

Fun Facts About Chris

  • Chris is passionate about spirited debate and exploring deep topics with friends and family, plus promoting his wife and adult children’s successes.
  • He loves pursuing vigorous health, including cycling, swimming, running, kayaking, and wilderness hiking, and sharing these activities with my wife of over 40 years.
  • He also loves being outside in the sunshine as much as possible, singing, growing most of the family vegetable and fruit needs, and doing his part to protect our precious environment.
  • His favorite colors are forest green and the color of sugar maple tree leaves possessing the brightness of a setting sun in October in northern Pennsylvania where he grew up.
  • His favorite forms of music are (equally): dance and motivational, early hip-hop, 70s and early 80s classic rock, Italian operatic tenor arias, and his daughter’s “indie/pop funk jazz compositions.”
  • The background you see in Chris’ photo is from our office “The Vale” here at Free Spirit.


Contact Chris directly to schedule an appointment at or 757-967-7342.


**SPECIAL NOTE on Insurance/Session Fees – Chris is in network with Anthem BCBS and Sentara Health Plans (formerly Optima). If you are not on these insurances, contact Chris directly for self-pay fees at