"This is an exciting time to be a professional in the field of child maltreatment. Talented, responsible clinicians and researchers are doing more and more impressive work---and there is much yet to learn. Never before has there been such a large group of interested professionals advancing theories and approaches in order to help abused and traumatized children. Each approach seems to have its own merits, and scientific data are increasingly guiding our understanding of treatment effectiveness. I am committed to observe, learn, and study so that I can best assist my clients.


Dr. Eliana Gil is in group private practice at Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery & Education, in Fairfax, Virginia (www.gilinstitute.com) where she provides therapy, consulting, supervision, and training services. Dr. Gil is Director of Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy where she provides three and four-day trainings on family play therapy and specialized therapy with youth (and their families) who experience childhood trauma. In the last decade Eliana has directed two child sexual abuse treatment programs in Northern Virginia (Inova Kellar Center and Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia) and she has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment for the last forty years.

Dr. Gil consults and trains locally and across the country and she is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech’s Family Therapy Department. She is a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, Registered Art Therapist, and a licensed Marriage, Family, Child Counselor who received her doctorate in family therapy from the California Graduate School of Family Psychology in San Rafael, California. She has served on the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse. She is also a former President of the Association for Play Therapy.  In the last two years, Dr. Gil completed a two-year individual certification process in the Neurosequential Model of Therapy.  Dr. Gil is also a Certified Parent Education for Circle of Security (www.circleofsecurity.com).  In 2012, Dr. Gil received the Association for Play Therapy's Lifetime Achievement Award and has received honors from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children as well as the American Academy of Family Therapy.

Her most recent books are Helping abused and traumatized children: Integrating directive and non-directive approaches and Helping Children Heal from Interpersonal Trauma: The Power of Play. Other books include Cultural issues in play therapy (with Dr. Athena Drewes); Treating abused adolescents; Systemic Treatment of Families who Abuse; The healing power of play; Play in family therapy; and Sexualized children: Assessment and treatment of sexualized children and children who molest (with Dr. Toni Cavanagh Johnson). Several of her books have been translated to other languages, including Spanish.  Dr. Gil recently collaborated with Dr. Jennifer Shaw to co-author a book for children called "A kid's book about touching, touching problems, and other stuff."

Dr. Gil is a well-known lecturer, author, and clinician. She is bilingual and bicultural, originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Dr. Gil conducts intensive trainings through Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy in Northern Virginia. Eliana has three grandchildren under the age of six and another on the way.  (Revised April 2013)





Our areas of expertise include:

Art Therapy
Play Therapy
Sand Therapy
Family Play Therapy
Doll-house play
Puppet Stories
Filial Therapy
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy


Contact us today at: (202) 257-2783