Marie Donabella Sauro PhD Psychologist and Athletic Specialist in Providence Rhode Island

Marie Donabella
Psychologist, Ph.D.

Accepting new clients; out of office August 12-27

Marie is a highly skilled and experienced therapist with exceptionally developed relational skills allowing her to connect with her clients authentically and in the most genuine human way. "

- Thomas Fronczak (2017)

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. Donabella here.

    About Dr. Donabella

  • As a triathlete and Tae Kwon Do black belt, she incorporates Zen philosophy, mindfulness, as well as a deep appreciation and understanding of athletics in her practice
  • Expertise in athletic performance, anxiety, depression, and LGBTQ & sexuality topics
  • Practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, existential therapy, integrative therapy, midnfulness practices, psychodynamic therapy
  • Works with young adults, college students, and adults
  • Conducts research on stress, anxiety, and health



Dr. Donabella is a psychologist with Ph.Ds in Clinical Psychology and Medical Sciences. She has worked in her private practice since 2002 alongside her research on stress, anxiety, and health. In the past, she has published many articles and given many presentations exploring the mind-body connection, relating stress and health.

Dr. Donabella has expertise in athletic performance, anxiety, depression, and LGBTQ and sexuality related concerns. She also helps those recovering from athletic injury, teaches stress management, and coaches individuals with health and wellness concerns. She works with young adults, college students, and adults.

Dr. Donabella's approach is based on many therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, existential therapy, integrative therapy, mindfulness practices, and psychodynamic therapy. Her therapy is informed by her research and personal experience as an athlete. She also works with her 4 year old Goldendoodle, Clementine, who has passed the initial stages of training and testing for her official Therapy Dogs International certification. Clementine will take her final exam for this certification this upcoming summer!



"I believe that therapy should create a safe and conducive environment for exploration and change, be affirming and empathic, facilitate learning and self-discovery, and provide feedback about unhealthy life patterns. My areas of expertise include: sports/athletic performance anxiety, recovery from athletic injury, general stress and anxiety management, life transitions, health and wellness. In addition to my clinical practice, I teach and perform research on stress, anxiety and health. I have published over 30 articles in the areas of high blood pressure, stress and women's health, and have given over 50 presentations about my research.

I am a triathlete and black belt in Tae Kwon Do, with an interest in Zen philosophy. Thus, balance, mindfulness, and focus are important aspects of how I view mental health.

My background gives me a unique perspective of the mind-body connection. I can help you learn ways to: improve athletic performance, lower your stress levels, feel less overwhelmed, make it through a difficult life transition, be healthy, and attain balance in your life."


Private Practice, 2003 - Present
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Assistant Professor, 2003 - 2007
Syracuse University, Visiting Assistant Professor & Therapist, 2002 - 2003
SUNY Upstate Medical University, Psychology Intern, 2001 - 2002

Syracuse University, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, 2002
South Florida College of Medicine, Ph.D. in Medical Sciences, 1989




Performance Anxiety – Improving performance and mental toughness with techniques that increase confidence, focus and resilience in the face of adversity, pain, and challenge
Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder
Depression – Sleep and energy disruption, overall mood disturbance, inability to enjoy yourself, and difficulty being motivated, amongst many other symptoms
LGBQ and gender identity issues – Includes coming out, relating to others, identifying and communicating needs, relationships, and family issues


Transgender topics – Provides therapeutic support before, during, and after transition



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)
Existential Therapy Existential therapy is a therapy approach that both embraces human potential and recognizes human limitation. The breadth of existential theory falls into four major themes, which it sees as the root of most psychological problems: 1) Death, 2) Freedom (& Responsibility), 3) Isolation, and 4) Meaninglessness. (learn more)
Integrative Therapy
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)
Psychodynamic TherapyThe aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness - helping individuals unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, and that the defenses we develop to ensure these difficult memories do not surface from our unconscious often do more harm than good. (learn more)



Young adults / college students (18 - 24)




Marie is a highly skilled and experienced therapist with exceptionally developed relational skills allowing her to connect with her clients authentically and in the most genuine human way. In doing so, she creates a safe space for her clients to be able to do their healing work. She has long been a preferred referral source for me. Client feedback is consistent. Clients find her very effective, kind, and practical in her clinical approach.

Marie has a way of connecting with clients which acknowledges their humanity, inclusive of their strengths and vulnerabilities, and helps her clients embrace all aspects of themselves with the greatest of respect and dignity.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? Mood disorders, (depression, anxiety), relational issues, performance (athletic or professional), life transitions, sports psychology. She is very knowledgable and experienced with the psychological impact of living with chronic illness. My clients who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning also report feeling very safe and welcomed in their work with Marie.
— Thomas Fronczak (2017)
Marie is highly educated and is a seasoned clinician who is very effective in supporting clients in treatment. I highly recommend her for individual therapy

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? Sports/athletic endeavors, trauma, depression, anxiety, transgender
— Cecilia Dietzler, LICSW (2017)