About Dr. Eliana Gil

I have a focused investment in ensuring that traumatized children and their families have access to the best therapy services available. Towards this end, I have developed and implemented an integrated, trauma-focused assessment and treatment process that is developmentally-sensitive, and does not over-rely on verbal communication. The use of the expressive arts are woven into our treatment approaches, along with other effective, evidence-based strategies.

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dr eliana gil

Hello! I'm Dr. Eliana Gil. I am an AAMFT Approved Supervisor who has worked in the area of child abuse prevention and treatment since 1973. I've done work on both the West and East Coasts.

I am eternally grateful to Kathy Baxter from the SF Child Abuse Council for facilitating the pursuit of my education. Kathy's husband, Dr.Tom Stern, encouraged me to pursue training as a mental health professional and served as an inspiration. I was extremely fortunate to receive training at the Redwood Center in Berkeley, California with mentors Dr. Karen Saeger and Dr. Robert Jay Green.

My mentors have been incredibly important to me - Their voices provided reliable and anchored guidance. It has been intrinsically rewarding to mentor others and to continue an active professional life as a consultant, supervisor, teacher, and trainer. I highly value experiential learning in small settings and thus the creation and maintenance of Starbright Training Institute has been a labor of love. In Starbright workshops I have met receptive and warm trainees, eager to help children and their families.

2013 brought some personal and professional changes for me. I am thrilled to have a group of colleagues who are like-minded and who have a strong commitment to improving and enhancing their skill-sets to better help their clients. I like having a family-like environment of health and stability with mature and seasoned professionals who recognize the importance of a supportive and nurturing work environment. Our current staff is everything I ever hoped for and I feel blessed to be part of this awesome group!

Gil Institute continues to thrive. We have earned a very positive reputation for the quality work that we provide. Our therapists are well-trained and continue to enhance their preparation by learning about relevant trauma-informed work. We have started new services in response to community needs and we are optimistic about our ability to help families and their children. Check out my work family at www.gilinstitute.com.

2016 began with renewed energy on my part. I now have a better sense of what it means to be semi-retired, and how to achieve a great balance between my work-related joys and the rest of my life. I recognize that stressors and crises visit us regularly and I have a great support system when seas are rough. Since my retirement, I co-authored a book with David Crenshaw, wrote a second Edition of Play in Family Therapy, and wrote a treatise on Post-traumatic Play, a topic that I have studied all of my professional career. Co-authoring with Dr. David Crenshaw on termination issues was one of the best experiences I've had. David and I developed a wonderful synchronicity and exchanged some important discussions. I'm very proud of the work we created together.

I am enjoying central Florida, the weather, the foliage, gardening, playing tennis, attending concerts, etc. We have live music "in the square" every night and it's fun to perfect my electric slide and be exposed to countless other forms of line dancing. I continue to do a limited number of annual play therapy conferences, as well as small trainings with Starbright. I also work on Wednesdays doing consultations and supervision. I have a few more training commitments this year and next June at the Theraplay Conference in Chicago, October at APT, and December at Starbright on Sand Therapy, to name a few.

Our Fourth Annual Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Conference was held June 10-12 this year. I was so happy to have Suzanne Fincher doing an experiential workshop on Mandalas and that Dr. Sue Bratton as the Keynote presenter.  We had many others who received rave reviews and we had 22 states represented plus participants came from at least six other countries, giving us an International flare. We are currently confirming our 2017 dates and speakers and the conference will be in Arlington, Virginia.  Dates will be announced shortly and later, on  www.playtherapytraining.org.

My oldest grandchild is now 9 and my youngest 2. Grandparenting is the best role in my development so far!

I travel to Sacramento and Boston to see them and of course love hosting them in Florida. DisneyWorld is one little hour away and boy, do they love Disney!! I can't wait to spend more time with them and to watch them grow. They are a group of smart, healthy, athletic, creative, wonderful children. I am called "Pica" to some of them and "Nama" to another.

Tennis provides me with a great balance in my life. I have played tennis since I was 18 years old and I enjoy it thoroughly. Florida has tons of tennis and I have been fortunate to land in three really great groups with competitive and fun women. I have also started exploring pickle-ball.

Additional Information

Dr. Eliana Gil 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. Dr. Gil completed a two-year individual certification process in the Neurosequential Model of Therapy. Dr. Gil is also a Certified Parent Educator for Circle of Security (www.circleofsecurity.com) and a Theraplay Level 2 provider.

Dr. Gil is also a Founding Partner and Senior Clinical Consultant with Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery & Education (GITRE), a group private practice in Fairfax, Virginia (www.gilinstitute.com). GITRE specializes in the assessment and treatment of childhood trauma and provides an integrated treatment approach for children and families. Dr. Gil is also the 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.

Dr. Gil has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment for the last forty years. In the last two decades Dr. Gil directed two child sexual abuse treatment programs in Northern Virginia (Inova Kellar Center and Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia).

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.

Books Written Dr. Gil:

Therapy Services


We are a trauma-focused group private practice that provides integrated assessment and treatment services that offer an array of specialized services that incorporate expressive therapies.

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Starbright Training

Starbright Training Institute provides therapists with experiential learning in trauma-related topics incorporating play and other expressive therapies.

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Licensed mental health professionals and those in training, can contact me for consultation or supervision in marital and family therapy as well as play therapy.