Who We Are

Metrowest Behavioral Health Center Staff, Acton MA


Suzanne Allen, Ph.D.

Suzanne Allen, Ph.D. received her doctorate from the University of Memphis and completed her internship at the Worcester Youth Guidance Center, in Worcester, MA. She has worked for over 25 years in various community settings with children and families who have experienced trauma, particularly around adoption and attachment issues and the impact on physical, family and social functioning. She takes a multi-faceted approach to intervention. Dr. Allen has received training in many different approaches to treating families affected by trauma including Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Dan Hughes, Ph.D.) and Internal Family Systems (Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.) and incorporates these tools in her work.

Staff Clinician

Specialized Services provided at MBHC: Treatment of Dissociation, Pathways to Permanency

Alexa Armon, LICSW

Alexa Armon, LICSW received her BA from CUNY Hunter College in Psychology and her Masters in social work from Adelphi University. She has worked for five years in multiple community settings throughout New York City and New Orleans. She has worked with children, teens, adults and families who have experienced various forms of trauma. Her clinical interests include mindfulness, DBT, attachment-based therapies, TF-CBT and EMDR.

Staff Clinician

Specialized Services provided at MBHC: ARC, EMDR, Trauma/Sexual Abuse Evaluation

Jamie Wood Chiarelli, LICSW

Jamie Wood Chiarelli, LICSW is the Clinical Director, supervisor and clinician at MBHC. Prior to earning her Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston College, she worked in Child Protective and Adoption Services in Chicago, IL. Ms. Chiarelli has worked in therapeutic middle and high school, residential, and outpatient mental health settings. Her work and training has focused on providing trauma-informed therapy services to children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Ms. Chiarelli incorporates various evidenced-based and trauma-specific approaches into her work including ARC, CBT, DBT, Collaborative Problem Solving, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, SMART, and PCIT-A. She is also experienced in working with children, adolescents, and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse struggles.

Staff Clinician and Clinical Director

Specialized Services provided at MBHC: ARC, CBT, SMART, EMDR (Level II), ACRA/ACC, DBT, Trauma/Sexual Abuse Evaluation

Suzanne Dirstine, MSW, LICSW

Suzanne Dirstine, MSW, LICSW is a Staff Clinician at Metrowest Behavioral Health Center. She received her MSW from Simmons College in Boston, MA and completed her clinical training and post-master's fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital in Outpatient Psychiatry. Ms. Dirstine has experience working with children and adults with complex trauma in a range of settings including inpatient treatment, outpatient clinics, sexual abuse treatment teams and adoption services. She provides an attachment-focused, client-centered approach to working with children, parents and families.

Staff Clinician, Pathways to Permanency

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: ARC, Pathways to Permanency, SMART

Kristina Donahue, LICSW

Kristina Donahue, LICSW is a Staff Clinician at MBHC and Clinical Intake Coordinator at MBHC and the Trauma Center. She earned her MSW from Simmons College and has extensive experience working with children, adolescents and families, particularly those who have been affected by trauma, complex mental health issues, and learning challenges. Prior to joining MBHC, Ms. Donahue worked for over five years as a clinician in a therapeutic day school where she worked directly with students providing individual therapy, crisis management, animal-assisted therapy, parent/care-giver consultation, and facilitating parent/care-giver support. Additionally, Ms. Donahue is experienced in providing both outreach and in-home therapy services to children, youth and families. She has completed the Certificate Program in Traumatic Stress Studies and has specific interests in trauma-informed approaches including SMART and ARC.

Staff Clinician, Clinical Intake Coordinator

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: SMART, ARC

Dawna Gabowitz, Ph.D.

A clinical supervisor at Metrowest Behavioral Health Center in Acton, Massachusetts, Dr. Gabowitz received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with a focus in neuropsychology, from Suffolk University, and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at The Trauma Center. Since completing her training, Dr. Gabowitz has participated in research and clinical work primarily focused on chronic/complex childhood trauma and neuropsychological assessment, and has provided trainings on this subject.

Clinical Supervisor and Staff Clinician, Senior Consultation Practice, Training Faculty, Family Network Evaluation Services

Erin Lemire, LICSW

Erin Lemire, LICSW is a Staff Clinician and the Clinical Intake Supervisor for the Trauma Center and Metrowest Behavioral Health Center. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults who have been impacted by complex and developmental trauma. Ms. Lemire received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University and has a comprehensive understanding of a variety of trauma-informed therapeutic approaches. She has pursued more intensive training in the areas of EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and attachment-based psychotherapy and integrates these approaches within her work with clients. Ms. Lemire has experience providing individual, family, and group psychotherapy to clients working through complex and developmental trauma, dissociative disorders, substance abuse issues, anxiety, depression, caregiver challenges, and self-harming behaviors.

Staff Clinician and Clinical Intake Supervisor

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: EMDR (Level II), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Level I), AEDP, IFS, Expressive Arts Therapy, Treatment of Dissociation, ARC, Trauma/Sexual Abuse Evaluation, PCIT-A, SMART

Susan Lerner, LICSW

Susan Lerner, MSW, LICSW is the Assistant Director at MBHC. She works with children, families, adolescents, and adults whose lives have been impacted by trauma. Ms. Lerner is trained in EMDR, AEDP and Sensory Motor Psychotherapy and integrates these approaches in her work with clients. In addition, Ms. Lerner provides parent consultation, training, and coaching. Using several evidenced-based therapies focusing on increasing attachment through increased attunement in her work with parents, Ms. Lerner's focus is on helping families understand each other and strengthen their ability to connect, accept one another and develop a sense of playfulness. She received her Masters in Social Work from Boston University in 1988 and is committed to ongoing training in trauma, attachment, dissociation and parenting issues.

Assistant Director, Staff Clinician

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC:: EMDR (Level II), Treatment of Dissociation, ARC, PCIT, P2P, SMART, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Level 1)

Ava Lorenzo, Psy.D.

Ava Lorenzo, Psy.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Metrowest Behavioral Health Center. She is a New Jersey Certified School Psychologist (NJCSP) and received her degree in School Psychology from Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ. Dr. Lorenzo completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Haven in Piscataway High School, a school-based mental health center for children, adolescents, and families, where she engaged in individual, group, and family therapy. She has also worked to introduce school-based social-emotional learning interventions, and studied teacher perceptions of disruptive behavior in students, toward the goal of creating safe and supportive schools.

Staff Clinician, Family Network Evaluation Services

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: Treatment of Dissociation, ARC, Trauma/Sexual Abuse Evaluation, TF-CBT, Psychological/Neuropsychological Assessment

Jennifer Moore, LMHC

Jennifer Moore, M.A., LMHC is a staff clinician at MBHC who has worked with children, adolescents and families impacted by trauma. She received her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Saint Michaels College in 2013. Her interests include attachment-based therapies for young children and caregivers, the impact of complex and multigenerational trauma, and differential diagnosis around the impact of chronic interpersonal trauma and other pathologies of childhood.

Staff Clinician

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: SMART, ARC, Sand Play, Trauma/sexual abuse evaluations, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Level 1)

Greta Schnee, LMHC, LCAT, RDT

Greta Schnee, LMHC, LCAT, RDT, holds a Masters in Drama Therapy from New York University. She is a licensed Mental Health Counselor in Massachusetts, and a licensed Creative Arts Therapist in New York. Ms. Schnee worked at the Perkin’s residential program for 9 years, with adolescents, children, and families with histories of complex trauma. She completed IFS level 1, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher training. Ms. Schnee is adjunct faculty at Lesley University. She also specializes in embodied drama therapy, practiced widely with children and adults.

Staff Clinician

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: Expressive Arts Therapy, Treatment of Dissociation, ARC, SMART, IFS (Level 1), EMDR (Level 2), and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Level 1)

Julie Thayer, Psy.D.

Julie Thayer, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist whose clinical work focuses on the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults impacted by complex trauma. She is currently a staff clinician and Assistant Director of Victim Services at Metrowest Behavioral Health Center and Assistance Clinical Director at MBHC and the Trauma Center, as well as a Certified ARC Trainer and consultant. Dr. Thayer received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. She has experience working with individuals across the lifespan, and has provided a range of clinical services in school-based, in-home, college counseling, outpatient, and inpatient settings. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Metrowest Behavioral Health Center focused on the treatment of trauma, and has completed training in trauma-specific treatment approaches including ARC, SMART, EMDR, and PCIT-A.

Assistant Director of Victim Services, Assistant Clinical Director, Staff Clinician

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC: Trauma/Sexual Abuse Evaluation, Psychological/Neuropsychological Assessment, SMART, ARC Training/Consultation, EMDR (Level I), PCIT-A

Kara Wetzel, LMHC, MT-BC, REAT

Kara Wetzel, LMHC, MT-BC, REAT is a Staff Clinician, Expressive Arts Therapist, Board-Certified Music Therapist at the Metrowest Behavioral Health Center in Acton. Ms. Wetzel received her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Therapies from Lesley University and has also pursued post-graduate studies at Anna Maria College in their Institute for Music Consciousness. Ms. Wetzel has a great passion for the arts as well as mindfulness and meditation and incorporates this expertise into her work at MBHC. Her professional experience includes work in schools, hospitals, outpatient and residential facilities such as Germaine Lawrence in Arlington and McLean Hospital in Belmont. Ms. Wetzel has worked with clients of all ages, facing a broad spectrum of diagnoses utilizing an eclectic, client-centered approach.

Staff Clinician

Specialized Services Provided at MBHC:: Expressive Arts Therapy, ARC, Pathways to Permanency, Meditation/Mindfulness, Social Skills Training, Music Therapy


TRAUMA CENTER IN THE NEWS: Suffolk University and the Trauma Center at JRI Receive $3 Million National Child Traumatic Stress Network Grant


Books by Trauma Center Faculty and Colleagues available on Amazon.com