Elana Benatar MSW, MS, LCSW-C

Associate
Maryland License #17790
Phone: 301-960-1198 ext. 701

Photo_ElanaBenatar

My work with clients at its core is both collaborative and creative. With children and adolescents, I love the process of working together to find playful ways to explore emotional challenges. Through sandtray, art and play therapy we will together create an understanding of their emotional landscape (and have some fun in the process). With parents, I use my background in Child Development and my own experience with countless kids to decode problematic behaviors and help parents understand how to meet their children’s underlying developmental and emotional needs.  As a parent myself, I can bring an understanding and empathy to the daily struggles of parenting and try to help parents find compassion for themselves and their children.

I also believe relationships are key to psychological health, and much of my academic and clinical training has focused on the importance of attachment throughout the lifespan.   One of my goals with every client is to improve the attachment relationship for both parents and children. I enjoy using playful techniques to help parents and children find mutual enjoyment, and I am always amazed at how much healing can happen through that connection.

I also try to take this playful and creative mindset into my work with adults and teens.  I am trained in Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, and I love to use this model to help clients  understand and tolerate the various parts of themselves.  Much like the characters in the Pixar movie Inside Out,  I believe we all have parts within us that serve important functions for our survival.  Trauma, challenging experiences, addiction, or mental illness can create imbalance between these parts that can cause individuals to feel out of control.  Through IFS we will work together to help you understand and embrace each of those parts and find ways to create more internal balance, clarity and self acceptance. To learn more about IFS please visit: https://www.selfleadership.org

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be able to take part in the process of exploration and change with my clients.   It is a privilege to witness the profound changes that individuals and families are capable of.

Experience

Before entering private practice in 2012, Elana worked for 7 years in Chicago, IL at the Virginia Frank Child Development Center, an outpatient family service center and therapeutic nursery, where she offered a variety of intensive therapeutic services to families with young children. Elana has experience doing family, individual child, individual adult and child group therapy. She has also supervised social work interns and worked as a mental health consultant in an early childhood setting.

Therapeutic Techniques Used

Elana uses a combination of play, art and traditional talk therapy techniques to support young children in being able to identify and speak about various feeling states and thoughts. She feels it is important to involve parents and family members in any interventions offered to children and particularly enjoys working with parents and children together to strengthen their relationship and promote healthy modes of communication and attachment.

Elana also will be completing  Level One training (108 hrs) in Internal Family Systems in March 2019.  She very much enjoys using this technique with all clients, but especially adults, to create lasting change through the exploration and unburdening of their internal systems. (https://www.selfleadership.org)

Attended Trainings in:

Internal Family Systems Therapy

Child-Centered Play Therapy

Play based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Mindfulness with children

Sandtray therapy

Dyadic Developmental Therapy

Gender Non-conforming children

Education

Elana Benatar holds two Masters degrees: one in Social Work (MSW) and one in Child Development (MS).  She has also participated in Level One Training in Internal Family Systems and will complete this 108 hour training program in March of 2019.

B.A. – Wesleyan University – 2000

M.S. in Child Development – Erikson Institute, 2005

M.S.W. (Masters of Social Work) – Loyola University Chicago – 2006

Elana regularly attends workshops, seminars and conferences to stay abreast of the latest research and techniques in the field of family therapy and early childhood development.