Donna Martel, LCSW
Donna Martel, LCSW

The majority of students that come to MapleStone have had a lack of school successes.  Many have had childhood stressors that have negatively impacted how they view themselves, their future and the world.  Our program’s culture of building trust and respect through choice and responsibility helps to foster the healthy risk-taking required to try new experiences, learn through trial and error, and most importantly experience success and mastery. One way we promote this is through teaching healthy coping skills with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). (


Our staff social worker, Donna Martel, LCSW,  is intensively trained in DBT through the Linehan Institute and with Alec L. Miller, PsyD in the facilitation of adolescent DBT. This model teaches mindfulness practice in observing emotions / urges rather than acting on them. It introduces emotion regulation skills to avoid impulsive responding to emotional distress. As students learn they can respond differently to stress and frustration, they become more optimistic and self confident. Once they experience success through hard work and an increased ability to focus on their goals, they begin to feel more positive and their self esteem grows.  They learn to take pride in their accomplishments and they believe in their future and building a life worth living.



Our program incorporates DBT as a model for teaching mindfulness and developing practices that improve the ability to redirect attention, improve concentration, increase self control and promote healthy coping strategies for dealing with stress and trauma.