My Experience

Life's difficulties are hard to avoid, and individuals and couples might get stuck in them and not see a way out. With twenty five years of wisdom, life experience and empathy, Dr. Belle McDonnell is trained to listen and help. She is a creative and original therapist with a strong understanding of the therapeutic process in counseling clients with difficult issues. She is able to synthesize, reflect and come up with original points of view to strengthen empowerment and resiliency skills. More...

Contact me

Belle McDonnell, PhD
Heart of Guiones (behind Robin’s Ice Cream Shop); Nosara, Costa Rica

Tel:+506 8701 4699 (mobile)


Skype: Professional counseling is available through skype for reduced fee; click the skype icon to add drbellarina or search for the Username: drbellarina

Summary of Other Qualifications

In addition to her therapeutical practice, she has a distinguished twenty-five year career combining business expertise with teaching experience in psychology, education, organizational development and motivational counseling. Her experience includes substantive training or working with trainers in developing strong interpersonal and personnel management leadership skills in a multidisciplinary team environment.

She has had significant experience and knowledge in applying social science research (qualitative and quantitative research methods, evaluation) on findings from demonstration projects and the overall coordination of management for NGO’s, for-profit organizations and education/academic settings.

Prior to joining the faculties of University of New York (Prague), Anglo American College, University of Northern Virginia (satellite) and Vysoka Skola Financi in Prague, Czech Republic, she held various academic and executive management positions both in the US and Europe. These provided managerial support to staff on research projects documenting program approaches, results, lessons, and proven practices. She is a skilled media relation professional and free lance journalist with expertise in developing media strategy for regional and international sectors of business and non profit organizations


Dr. McDonnell holds a PhD in psychology from Saybrook Research Institute and Graduate school in San Francisco, California where she specialized in designing and delivering training in multicultural principles and innovative teaching strategies for adult and adolescent learners.  

PhD Psychology, (2004), Emphasis in Mind/Body/Clinical Interventions and    Behavior Modification for Specialized Populations, Saybrook Research    Institute and Graduate School, San Francisco, CA.  

MA Social Science, (1990), Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 

BA Social Work, (1986), Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA. 

Professional History

Private Practice Therapist, 1986-Present; Assessment and treatment counseling for adults and adolescents with psychological concerns. Experienced in many forms of counseling including spiritual emergencies, cognitive, behavioral, art and family systems therapy

Academic Instruction:

Teaching, Anglo American University, Psychology of Leadership, 2008-2011; Prague; Introduction to Psychology, Fall 2008, Intercultural Communication, Fall 2008; Psychology of Leadership, Spring, 2008; Intercultural Communication and Diplomatic Protocol (BA and MA); Spring and Fall 2007: Global Human Resource Management (MA & BA sections); Humanities Public Policy & Business Administration Programs; Summer 2006: Knowledge Innovation, Production and Creativity for the New Cultural Society (MA) Spring 2006: Leadership, Culture and Change in the Era of Globalization; Thesis Advisor to MA students in Applied Public Policy and Social Analysis.

Ruzyne Airport, Prague, spring 2008, Educational Consultancy with Marta Gutova, Executive Director Airport Services

University of New York, Prague. Czech Republic, Lecturer, spring 2007: Psychology of Motivation. 

Moroccan Embassy, Prague, fall 2006; Educational Consultancy with Ambassador Iridissi Koutani, Moroccan Ambassador to Czech Republic. 

Vysoka Skola Financi (City University Prague), winter 2006 – Lecturer, Writing for the Business Professions: Business and Administrative Communication. Course which taught Czech and Slovak students writing skills, qualitative and quantitative research methods and criteria for effective business communication and reports. 

University of Northern Virginia, Prague Campus, (2005). Lecturer, Psychology of Management. Course which focuses on the study of psychology of organizations, the study of human behavior within organizations and the function and nature of groups in organizations. 

New Europe Productions, Prague (2005). Editor, Czech Republic Business Guide. Develop new client relationships for business magazine. Writing expatriate articles to facilitate understanding of specific issues related to integration into culture of Czech Republic 

Westat, Inc, Rockville, MD, (1991-2004).  Educational Research Consultant, Project Team Supervisor, Independent contractor in research evaluation and project management for national longitudinal studies. Managed teams of data collection specialists on research projects across the United States. Ensure coordination between the main project office and field staff; Interview respondents; Brief and debrief experts. 

True-to-Life Children’s Services, Sebastopol, CA, (1998-2000). Behavioral Cognitive and Expressive Psychotherapist, Assessment and treatment counseling for SED adolescents in residential treatment settings.  

Northcoast Children’s Services, Arcata, CA, (1992-1996). Administrative Manager, Program planning, development and implementation of educational programs in l8 school districts covering three rural counties in No. California. Supervised administrative staff, Designed and developed IT management structures, community needs assessments, prepared administrative reports and large grant applications. 

Humboldt State University, Department of Sociology and Social Work Arcata, CA, (1989-1997). Faculty Instructor; Developed and taught courses and graduate seminars, in sociology, psychology, counseling and interdisciplinary studies. 

  • Sociology Curriculum Development, Soc 699, (winter l990)
  • Seminar in Social Topics: Social Psychology in the Community, Soc 680 (March l988)
  • Organizational Development, Psych 699 (Fall 1987)
  • Community Development, Psych 699 (Spring l987)
  • Interviewing and Counseling techniques, Psych 654 (Summer, 1986)
  • Seminar in Social Topics II: Psych 699, Adult Matriculation and Re-entry (Summer 1986)

Humboldt State University, Upward Bound Program, Arcata, CA Counselor and Lecturer, and (1991-1998). Conducted expressive therapy course with adolescent populations enrolled in leadership skills training program at Humboldt State University.  

Beartooth Wilderness School, Denny, CA. Counselor, (1992-1993). Conducted one-to-one and group counseling. Taught wilderness skills, interpersonal communication and Self-esteem enhancement to at risk youth in wilderness setting.  

Adult Re-entry Center, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA. Founder/Director (1986-1987). Coordinated all aspects of re-entry program for new and matriculating older students. Recruited and trained counselors and support staff in academic planning and orientations. Produced administrative reports on FTE’s generated and success rates of new students. Served as faculty liaison on campus committees and developed campus/community partnerships. 

Beartooth Wilderness School, Denny California. (Summer l986-87)Wilderness counselor for adolescents struggling with emotional and behavioral issues. The program developed resiliency skills for independence necessary to be successful in an environment that taught both survival and interpersonal relationship skills.

Freelance Journalist, (1987-present). Published journalist in local and national and international print media for individual clients, businesses and nonprofit organizations. 

Northcoast Journal of People, Politics and Art, Arcata, CA. Monthly art columnist, (1988-1991).