Catherine (Kate) Bell, PhD

Catherine Bell
Psychologist, PhD

Accepting new clients with a 2-3 week wait

Dr. Bell has helped me survive in both the good and bad times and for this I am grateful. She also has challenged me when I needed it and therefore has helped me grow to become a stronger person, even when I didn't want to. She has changed my life.

- University of Chicago alum '15 (2016

Book an initial phone call

Chat briefly to ensure a good match before a full appointment. (Free)

1 Verify insurances & fees.

2 Book a phone call!

If you are a prospective client, please schedule a phone consult above. For other inquiries, you can email Dr. Bell here.

    About Dr. Bell

  • Experience consulting students and families on how to best support mental health needs in college decisions and transitions
  • Passionate about working with adolescents and young adults
  • Primarily combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with mindfulness in working with clients
  • 20 years of experience working with clients in the mental health field



Dr. Catherine Bell is a psychologist in private practice in Lexington, MA, and a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty. She has 20 years of experience in the mental health field.

Dr. Bell specializes in the treatment of adolescents and young adults with mental health and transition issues. She loves to help people feel more confident and comfortable in their own lives. In addition to individual psychotherapy, Dr. Bell provides college transition consultations to students and families who are struggling to navigate the mental health and higher education systems.

Dr. Bell received her PhD in clinical psychology from Northeastern University, EdM in Risk and Prevention from Harvard University, and BS in Human Services from Lesley College. She has seven years of clinical experience as a psychologist at McLean Hospital/ Harvard Medical School College Mental Health Program, where she helped high school students make healthy transitions to college, and helped college students learn to cope with the demands of academic life and mental health issues.



"I  believe that psychotherapy is most helpful when the client and therapist have a good working relationship, and when the client is willing to do things even a little differently to bring about change. My style of therapy is primarily influenced by Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, as well as mindfulness training. When I meet a new client,  my first aim is to establish a working relationship and a sense of alliance, with an emphasis on learning what is working and not working in that person's life. Next, I like to give clients one or two skills they can start using right away to bring about some relief from their emotional suffering. Over the long term, I help clients to establish a different relationship to their problems, giving them a sense of mastery and ease - maybe even adding some humor if it fits. 

Additionally, I consult with students, who may be struggling with mental health and/or learning issues, on college transitions. To do this I learn about past mental health and academic experiences, and get to know the hopes and expectations that families have for the college experience. I then provide a comprehensive analysis of the student's strengths and challenges, as well as recommendations to support a successful transition to school."


Private practice, Psychologist,  2011 - Present
McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, College Mental Health Program, Staff Psychologist, 2011 - 2016
McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, College Mental Health Program, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2011
McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Psychology Intern, 2009-2010
Watertown Public Schools, Department of Special Education, Psychological Testing Assistant, 2007 - 2009

Northeastern University, PhD, 2009
Harvard University, EdM Risk and Prevention, 2002
Lesley College, BS in Human Services, 1997




College Mental Health – Families with high school or college students who have mental health and/or learning issues are often struggling to identify the appropriate timeline to start or return to college, or the right supports to use in the college environment. The world of college mental health is best navigated with an ally who has extensive experience and useful strategies. I consult with students and families, learn about past mental health and academic experiences, and get to know the hopes and expectations that families have for the college experience. I then provide a comprehensive analysis of the student's strengths and challenges, as well as recommendations to support a successful transition to school.


Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, amongst many other symptoms
Infertility Counseling – Experience working with infertility, pregnancy loss, perinatal psychology (mental health issues while pregnant), and peripartum / postpartum depression
Life transitions –  Adjusting to college, new relationships, career transitions and direction; mid-life existential, relationship, and career challenges; losing one’s drive or burn out; learning self-care
Relationships –  Feeling unsatisfied in your partnership; communication challenges; addressing issues of power and voice; contemplation of separation; questioning one’s place in the relationship; breakups, friendships, dating
Trauma – Including dealing with past sexual assault, childhood trauma, environmental trauma (e.g. witnessing/experiencing violence), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)In cognitive behavioral therapy, you work with a therapist in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking, so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. (learn more)
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on interpersonal issues, which are understood to be a factor in the genesis and maintenance of psychological distress. The targets of IPT are symptom resolution, improved interpersonal functioning, and increased social support. (learn more)
Mindfulness PracticesMindfulness practices include but are not limited to developing awareness, attention, and remembering. In mindfulness-informed therapy, clients develop tools to become aware of what is occurring within and around them, so they can begin to untangle from mental preoccupations and difficult emotions. Self-acceptance and compassion are also core elements of mindfulness-informed therapy. (learn more)
Supportive TherapySupportive psychotherapy is used primarily to reinforce a patient’s ability to cope with stressors by giving clients the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts about the issues. Clinicians help patients learn how to move forward and make decisions or changes that may be necessary to adapt, either to an acute change, such as the loss of a loved one or severe disappointment, or to a chronic situation, such as an ongoing illness. (learn more)



Teenagers (13 - 18)
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)






1. To Cambridge office:

 From Davis Square
11min T-ride, 14min bike

From Harvard Square 
7min walk, 4min bike

From Kendall Square
17min T-ride/bus, 11min drive/Uber, 9min bike

From Downtown Crossing
20min T-ride, 15min drive/Uber

From Fenway
10min drive/Uber, 21min T-ride/bus, 20min bike

2. To Lexington office: 

From Davis Square
27min T-ride, 17min drive/Uber

From Harvard Square 
37min T-ride/bus, 25min drive/Uber

From Kendall Square
50min T-ride/bus, 30min drive/Uber

From Downtown Crossing
50min T-ride/bus, 35drive/Uber

From Fenway
30min drive/Uber

I have worked with Dr. Bell for 7 years. She is always able to meet me where I am at emotionally and listen without judging me. She is great at helping me feel comfortable with who I am while providing insight about alternative ways of thinking.

Dr. Bell has always been loyal and believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. She has helped me survive in both the good and bad times and for this I am grateful. She also has challenged me when I needed it and therefore has helped me grow to become a stronger person, even when I didn’t want to. She has changed my life.

Dr. Bell has also studied and works with multiple types of therapies and is able to tailor to my needs based on the challenges I am facing in my life. There have been times I need to question how realistic my thinking is and other times I need help coping with anxiety. Dr. Bell is able to help me with all of these challenges with her knowledge and adaptability.
— University of Chicago alum '15 (2016)
Kate and I began our work together as part of college mental health group she was running. She is a such a lovely, vibrant, empathetic clinician who I would highly recommend to anyone.
— Wheelock College Alum '13 (2016)
Dr. Bell is particularly good at listening to the individual. She will make sure that she is taking in your particular story and therefore her therapy technique is carefully crafted for what is right for you, not a generalized population.
— College student (2016)
Dr. Bell ran a college support group I was in and was very good at being relatable to the members of the group. She genuinely loves working with college students and treats them like human beings.
— College student, anxiety, depression, was in psychosis once (2016)


Why would you recommend this therapist? Catherine Bell is a wonderful therapist. From observing her groups, as well as having individual meetings with her to discuss patients and how to approach mental health from a college perspective, I would highly recommend her. She deeply cares about the work she does and has a talent for connecting with people from a warm and gentle approach. Her humor and bubbling personality helps patients feel safe and comfortable around her.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? Students struggling with mental health, anxiety, depression
— Alexandra Giacona, Group Therapist; worked together at McLean Hospital (2016)
Why would you recommend this therapist? Dr. Bell has extensive experience conducting evaluations and psychotherapy with young adults with a range of psychiatric conditions. She is a thoughtful, experienced practitioner who specializes in the use of empirically supported treatments with a flexible, patient-centered approach. She is highly regarded by colleagues and clients alike.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, personality disorder
— Eve Lewandowski, PhD; worked with Dr. Bell at McLean Hospital (2016)
Why would you recommend this therapist? Dr Catherine Bell is a highly skilled clinician, to whom I have referred my patient for individual therapy. She has expertise in working with individuals among an array of treatment modalities, individualizing care to support patients in coping with mood and psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and trauma. Dr Bell has worked as part of multidisciplinary teams, maintaining strong communication with outside providers and families.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, College Mental Health, Mood Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Family Psychoeducation
— Erin Sandler, LICSW, McLean Hospital (2016)